Self Therapies for Common Diseases

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When someone uses drugs or alcohol, a number of changes occur within the brain.

Self-Management Education: Managing Chronic Conditions Beyond Medications

Generally, some of the neurotransmitters that enhance pleasure are increased; many of the regions of the brain involved in the stress response are tempered; and individuals may be temporarily removed from reality. This can be a highly desired effect for someone suffering from high levels of stress or from a mental health disorder or medical issue.

Over time, however, repeated drug abuse may alter the brain chemistry involved with emotional regulation, motivation, pleasure, and reward-processing as substance dependence sets in. Once a dependency has formed, the brain may not continue to function as it did previously, and a chemical imbalance is experienced when these substances wear off or are removed.

This can lead to worsened mental illness symptoms and increased stress levels. Withdrawal from many substances requires a specialized medical detox program in order to ensure that withdrawal symptoms are properly and safely managed. Medications are often used during medical detox to help with this. Taking drugs or drinking alcohol can interfere with treatments and prescribed medications for mental or medical ailments as well.

The potential side effects of the abused substances as well as the symptoms of any co-occurring disorder may be exacerbated. SAMHSA reports that close to 8 million American adults suffered from co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders in Co-occurring disorders means that a person struggles with more than one disorder at the same time, and often, the optimal way to treat the disorders is through an integrated model that can manage symptoms of both simultaneously.

Mental Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are often complexly intertwined together; by treating both at the same time, both disorders can be improved. Self-medication is often the result of an underlying issue, be it a medical problem, a mental health concern, stress, or other environmental contributor. Integrated treatment often uses medications to stabilize a person and therapeutic methods to help the person understand potential triggers and methods for managing them in the future. Behavioral therapies teach new life skills, stress management techniques, and communication skills.

They also help individuals gain personal insight, thus enhancing self-confidence and self-reliance.

Common Comorbidities

By understanding the reasons behind self-medication and learning new and healthier ways to manage these stressors within a comprehensive treatment program, overall quality of life can be improved and recovery sustained. Are You Self-Medicating? Reviewed by Editorial Staff. Last Updated: July 22, Examples include: Stimulant drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, medications Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse : to increase focus, attention, and energy levels, as well as for combating depression and increasing pleasure Central nervous system depressants like alcohol, benzodiazepines Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax , and prescription sleep aids Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata : to elevate mood, escape reality, increase sociability, help a person sleep, and decrease anxiety Opioid drugs like heroin and prescription pain relievers OxyContin, Vicodin, fentanyl, morphine : to relieve pain, depression, and anxiety, and to enhance relaxation Marijuana : to elevate mood, enhance relaxation, and create a break from reality Both prescription and illicit drugs may be abused for the purposes of self-medication, and anyone who suffers any form of physical or emotional discomfort may do so.

Common ailments and conditions that co-occur with substance abuse are: Chronic pain : Pain can come from a variety of sources.


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Opioid drugs are prescribed as painkillers but have a high incidence of abuse and addiction and may be used past their medical scope. People who suffer from chronic pain may use these drugs, or other psychoactive substances, to self-medicate physical and resulting psychological ailments at high rates, the journal Current Pain Perspectives reports.

Lack of sleep can create a multitude of physical and emotional issues that individuals may attempt to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. These drugs are commonly abused, however, and may be used beyond their prescribed intent for continued relief, or to produce a euphoric effect, even though doing so can lead to drug dependence, and actually compound and exacerbate sleep issues. Swelling may occur in the face and neck due to abnormal fluid accumulation in the soft tissues of these areas angioneurotic edema. In rare cases, swelling and edema in the throat can cause breathing difficulties that can lead to life-threatening respiratory problems.

Between one-quarter and one-half of people with HSP have problems with kidney function, such as glomerulonephritis, in which the portion of the kidney that separates waste from the blood is damaged. Blood in the urine hematuria and inflammatory changes in the kidneys may also develop. This can result in substantial pain and, if conservative measures do not resolve the problem, surgery may be required.

The exact cause of HSP is not known, although research suggests that this disease may be caused by immune system dysfunction i. In some cases, it has been suggested that this disorder may be an extreme allergic reaction to certain foods, such as chocolate, milk, eggs, or beans. Various drugs e. In about 66 percent of cases, an upper respiratory infection precedes the onset of symptoms by about 1 to 3 weeks. A definite link to viral infections has not been proven.

HSP is a rare disorder that affects more males than females. The disease may occur in all age groups, although it most commonly affects children.

In children, the initial symptoms typically begin after the age of 2 years and usually last for about 4 weeks and the disease usually has a somewhat mild course. About 50 percent of affected children experience one or more recurrences, usually within months. The rate of recurrence seems to be higher among those children whose initial disease was more severe.

Most affected children have been between 2 and 11 years of age. In the USA, about 14 cases occur per , school-aged children. It is generally a benign non-threatening disorder appears in most instances to cure itself self-limiting. Common purpura is the most prevalent type of purpura, occurring most often in women over age When there has been no injury, purpura lesions occur more often than subcutaneous bleeding. However, following surgery or even minor injuries, blood vessel fragility results in excessive bleeding. Scurvy, a type of purpura, results from a deficiency of vitamin C in the diet.

Symptoms may include experience generalized weakness, anemia, spongy gums, and a tendency to bleed hemorrhage under the skin subcutaneous and from the delicate mucous membranes that line the mouth and the gastrointestinal tract.


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Scurvy rarely occurs in modern civilizations due to improvement of diet and availability of foods that contain Vitamin C. Gardener-Diamond syndrome Autoerytrocyte Sensitization is a rare disorder that is sometimes called painful bruising syndrome. It is characterized by purpura spots, mainly in young women. Gardener-Diamond syndrome is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. Vasculitis angiitis is a vascular inflammatory disease that may occur alone or in association with other allergic or rheumatic diseases.

Any size vessel or any part of the vascular system may be affected, and symptoms are relative to the system involved. Since there are many forms of Vasculitis, there are many causes. Some types may be caused by allergic reactions or hypersensitivity to certain medications such as sulfur drugs, penicillin, propylthiouracil, other drugs, toxins, and other inhaled environmental irritants. Other forms may occur because of a fungal infection, parasites or viral infections, while in some cases there may be no apparent cause. Cutaneous necrotizing vasculitis is a relatively common inflammatory disease of the blood vessels, including the veins, arteries, and smaller blood vessels capillaries.

This disorder typically affects the skin and may occur alone or in conjunction with allergic, infectious, or rheumatic diseases.

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In some cases, hives that are intensely itchy urticaria or ring-shaped ulcers may also be present. The exact cause of cutaneous necrotizing vasculitis is unknown. Some lesions may be caused by an allergic reaction or hypersensitivity to certain medications such as sulfa or penicillin, other drugs, toxins, and inhaled environmental irritants.


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Kawasaki disease is an inflammatory disease of childhood characterized by fever, skin rashs, swollen lymph nodes lymphadenopathy , inflammation of the arteries polyarteritis , and inflammation of blood vessels vasculitis. Inflammatory changes cause destructive lesions in the blood vessels that can lead to complications involving the liver, gall bladder, and heart. Two researchers performed the article selection process independently, with the degree of inter-observer agreement measured by the kappa index. The prevalence of self-medication ranged from 6.

Prevalence of self-medication for skin diseases: a systematic review

Topical corticosteroids were the most commonly used therapeutic strategies for self-medication, as found in the reviewed articles. This study revealed that published data on self-medication in dermatology are scarce, although the findings showed that it was a common practice.

The World Health Organization WHO defines self-medication as the selection and usage of prescription drugs without medical prescription, in order to treat diseases or promote symptomatic relief. This practice, along with other actions of healthcare such as hygiene practices, nutrition and leisure, are part of self-care. The selection of drugs in this process should be rational, thus considered when patients use medications which are suitable to their clinical needs, with doses that are adequate to their individual requirements, for an appropriate period of time and with the lowest cost to them and the community.

Frequent motivators for self-medication are the reuse of previous prescriptions, sharing medications with family and friends due to household stocks, and the advice from sales personnel in retail establishments. The prevalence of self-medication is widely variable. We highlight some factors as self-medication stimulators, and among them we must cite the media.

This is due to the fact that medications are regarded as commodities, with franchised sales for profit.