Self-medication.

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    • Abstract:
      Every day, millions of people take medicinal drugs. Usually this is because they are experiencing symptoms, want to experience a particular feeling, or want to prevent a problem from developing and have information leading them to believe that the drug is the answer. For some, this occurs under the direction of a physician through the use of prescription medications. For others, this occurs through self-medication as a form of treatment. Most popularly, there are those who, through advertisements or personal experience, have learned that certain over-the-counter medications or popular legal drugs (such as cigarettes or alcohol) can be used to alleviate symptoms, provide palliative care, or cause certain desirable symptoms or feelings. Others, via self-knowledge or guidance from alternative medicine specialists, will use teas, herbal remedies, and vitamins to achieve these same goals. Similarly, others may use illicit drugs to self-medicate in order to adjust their mood, physical feelings, or other abilities. For these individuals, it may be that they have didactic knowledge about drug properties or have learned about drug effects through their experience with drugs. Relatedly, even those receiving prescribed drugs may abuse those drugs by using them in ways unapproved by their doctor. This may be due to judgments that they need more or less of the drug or need to mix it with something else to get the desired effect(s). Together, access to drugs, knowledge of dosages and drug effects, and having a culture that encourages use of medicinal remedies and drugs all contribute to self-medication.