The self-medication, defined as the exercise of taking medication on their own initiative, without prescription or medical supervision, it is a practice to which resort many dominicans.
Systemic factors and cultural influence of this custom.
The sociologist and social researcher Angel Seraphim’s Neck he mentions four factors that have an impact to a segment of the population lean self-medication, as well as by home remedies:
1. A conception of health that prioritizes the care. For this conception, which is predominant in the present and which focuses on care instead of prevention, the answer is the medicalization.
2. The socio-economic model. The capitalist model develops a structure pharmaceutical to the paradigm of health prevailing.
“Therefore,” says Neck, “we see how in many countries the pharmaceutical industry is as powerful as the weapons industry”.
3. The lack of functionality of the health system. “The health system of the dominican republic is highly in deficit,” says Neck.
The health centres located in major towns and the high concentration of patients in certain specialties make difficult the access to the health care professional.
People self-medicate as a way of postponing a “cross of obstacles”, like having to wait long hours for a consultation, or to deal with “the bureaucracy of insurance”.
“In a health economy, and an economy of the behavior, the decision is made faster and more efficient”, explains the sociologist.
4. Components, ideological and cultural. The response to the process health-disease part of the beliefs of the people.
This may be particularly relevant in rural areas, where the predominant beliefs are very strong, there is a much more fluid nature and, in consequence, we opt for the use of plants and medicinal herbs.
“This relationship with nature is something that the urbanization process was removing, therefore, the medical culture and the culture of the doctor was strengthening as we went, to some extent, urbanizing territory”, considered Neck.
The culture of magico-religious and illiteracy have also their share of influence at the moment of making decisions based or not on the evidence.
Self-medication is responsible versus irresponsible
Katherine Calderon, phd and creator of the platform of health education Ampicilina500 (@ampicilina500), difference between responsible self-medication, and irresponsible.
“In the first, a properly informed person makes conscious use of certain medications and for one-off events,” declares Calderon.
It is given in cases of minor symptoms (headache, fever, menstrual pain, the common cold) and, in general, the person uses the drug for a short time (24 to 48 hours) and following the manufacturer’s instructions. In addition, you go to the doctor if you do not find relief.
“The irresponsible self-medication -he adds – is that where a person, on a recurring basis and on occasion, prolonged, makes use of medications without indication of a health professional”.
Apart from possible side effects, the irresponsible self-medication can produce drug-drug interactions, dependence, or addiction and masking processes (some manifestations of the disease is “hiding,” making the diagnosis is delayed).