AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAUSES OF SELF-MEDICATION AMONG UNDERGRADUATES STUDENTS IN ABIA STATE POLYTECHNIC
1.1 Background of the Study
The term “medication” refers to the practice of taking pharmaceuticals with the purpose of preventing, diagnosing, or treating disorders. When an illness is reported to the doctor at the hospital or clinic, the doctor makes a diagnosis and then prescribes the necessary medications to relieve the ailment. This ensures that the patient is taking the proper prescription. In most cases, the next step is for pharmacists to fill the prescription for the desired medication at the pharmacy (Femi and Oyewo et, 2020). Self-medication may be described as the use of pharmaceuticals to address an illness or symptoms that one has self-diagnosed, as well as the use of prescription drugs in a limited or sporadic capacity to treat a disease or symptoms that are persistent or recurring. The consumer acts as his or her own physician when purchasing over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, diagnosing his or her condition and selecting the appropriate medication to treat it. WHO (2007).
People often see self-medication as a means of achieving independence from the traditional healthcare system provided by Medicare. In accordance with the definition provided by the International Pharmaceutical Federation and the World Self-medication Industry in their joint statement, self-medication refers to the practice of individuals using over-the-counter medications on their own will. Additionally, it claims that: 1. Self-care, which may also include self-medication, has been a component of health care for a considerable amount of time(Femi-Oyewo et, 2020).
- In today’s world, individuals are beginning to acknowledge a greater level of personal responsibility for their current state of health and are making efforts to obtain as much reliable information as they can from authoritative sources in order to assist them in making appropriate decisions regarding their healthcare.
- The government and health insurers are increasingly pushing self-care, including self-medication where it is appropriate, as a method of lowering the pace of rise in the amount of money that is spent by third parties on health care.
- Pharmacists serve as the public’s counselors on day-to-day healthcare and as major variables in the distribution of medications and the provision of advice on them.
- Informing consumers about drugs that may be purchased without a doctor’s prescription is an important role for advertising to play. It should always be responsible, and it should never dissuade the person from seeking the counsel of a pharmacist or a physician.
In most cases, individuals have several treatments that they choose for every ailment that can be conceived of. For instance, a fever, a cold, catarrh, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, bodily pains, headaches, and so on are all examples of illnesses. The fact that people you know or even complete strangers are constantly ready to provide advise on which drug to take is risky, despite the fact that there is often no immediate effect to this. This points to the fact that self-medication has developed into a hazard to the general public’s health in our society as a whole. Consider the fact that in Nigeria, the vast majority of pharmaceuticals requiring a prescription may be purchased without a doctor’s authorization from pharmacies, patent medicine shops, and even by the side of the road (Femi-Oyewo et, 2020).
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Acquiring and using medications without first seeing a medical professional for a diagnosis, prescription, or follow-up therapy is another kind of self-medication. This may be done for a variety of reasons. It is common knowledge that pharmaceuticals are made up of chemicals, and it is also common knowledge that these compounds may have both positive and negative effects on the human body.
In point of fact, drugs have the ability to both heal and do damage. According to the definition provided by the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, an undergraduate is a student at any university or institution who is working for their first degree. Several studies have shown that an alarmingly high percentage of the student population engages in self-medication. Self-medication was practiced by the majority of the respondents in a study that was conducted by the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical, microbiology faculty of Pharmaceutical sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria Nigeria. The study was titled “Evaluation of Antibiotics self-medication pattern amongst Undergraduate students of Ahmadu Bello University (Main Campus), Zaria.” As an illustration, consider a study that was conducted by the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical, microbiology faculty And that students of health-related faculties, such as pharmaceutical sciences and medicine, were the most likely to self-medicate with antibiotics; the top four reasons given for doing so were: a. assumed knowledge on antibiotics; b. prior experience on the use; c. a lack of time to go for consultation; and d. the attitude of school clinic staff(Femi-Oyewo et, 2020).
Antibiotics were prescribed for a variety of illnesses, including skin infections, gastrointestinal tract infections, and urinary tract infections. Skin infections were the most common. In addition to this, the atmosphere of the institution is another element that contributes to the prevalence of young people engaging in self-medication. This is due to the fact that there is no adult supervision present, as well as the fact that it is the first time that the pupils have had the chance to be away from their homes and a part of a bigger group without being subject to any kind of restraint or regulation. Tertiary institutions have also been said to be the last phase of freedom before entering adulthood, which is accompanied by responsibilities and obligations; hence, students are more susceptible and gullible to try out new things, regardless of how dangerous they may be(Femi-Oyewo et, 2020).
Self-medication is still a common habit, despite the fact that several awareness and enlightenment campaigns have been conducted. In order to effectively fight the practice of self-medication, it is necessary to have an understanding of the elements that impact the practice of self-medication (also known as the factors that promote the practice of self-medication among undergraduates).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The researcher, who has opportunity of knowing people in the medical field, has made the startling discovery as a member of the medical community that some instances of serious side effects and allergic responses that followed the use of drugs could be linked back to self-medication. It has also been seen that an ever-increasing number of patients who present themselves to hospitals seeking treatment engage in self-medication, which, in the vast majority of instances, makes their existing health condition much worse (Femi-Oyewo et, 2020). Self-medication may result in a number of adverse effects, including drug interactions, inappropriate therapy for the underlying issue, drug dependence, mental illness, and even death. It’s possible that the exploratory character of today’s young people is to blame for the rise in the number of young people who self-medicate. It is therefore important to study the influence of self-medication among undergraduates of Abia State Polytechnic.
1.3 Objective of Study
The general objective of this study is to investigate the causes of self medication among undergraduates students in Abia State. Specifically, the study will be guided under the following:
- To find out the reason why student self medicate.
- To examine the effect of self medication on the well being of students.
- To investigate government contribution towards ending self medication among students.
- To evaluate ways self medication among students can be curbed.
1.4 Research Questions
The study intends to answer the following questions:
- What is the reason why student self medicate?
- What arethe effect of self medication on the well being of students?
- Is there a government contribution towards ending self medication among students?
- What are the ways self medication among students can be curbed?
1.5 Significance of the study
This study will be significant to government as it will be exposed to how students abuse drugs by self medicating and thereby propose a law which will help in curbing the menace of self medication among students
The study will be of benefit to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.
1.6 Scope of the study
This study will find out the reason why student self medicate. The study will also examine the effect of self medication on the well being of students. The study will further investigate government contribution towards ending self medication among students. Lastly, the study will evaluate ways self medication among students can be curbed. Hence this study will be delimited to Abia State Polytechnic.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Self medication: it is the use of drug without a doctor’s prescription to treat perceived or real malady or to alleviate distress or pain.
Causes : Things that contribute or lead to the practice of self medication.
Undergraduates: Persons studying at the University of Lagos for a first degree, in both full-time and sandwich programmes.