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Front Public Health. 2016 Apr 18;4:69. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2016.00069. eCollection 2016.

Observations on the Prevalence, Characteristics, and Effects of Self-Treatment.

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1
Department of Biostatistics, Yale University , New Haven, CT , USA.

Abstract

AIMS:

When facing illness, a person may choose self-treatment as an alternative to hospital (and primary care)-based treatment. Despite its important role in health care, the study on self-treatment remains limited. The goal is to collectively report the observations in the literature on the prevalence, characteristics, and effects of self-treatment.

METHODS:

Databases (Medline/PubMed and Google Scholar) were searched. Articles were scrutinized for country of origin, sample size, recall period, prevalence, associated factors, etc.

RESULTS:

Published studies have reported that in some regions, the prevalence of self-treatment is high and varies across illness conditions and treatment approaches. Self-medication is the most popular self-treatment approach. Multiple regional, demographic, personal, cultural, and religious factors have been implicated in the pursuit of self-treatment. In addition, accessibility of health care also plays a role. In general, self-treatment has a positive clinical and financial effect. However, there have been concerns on abuse and possible negative effects.

CONCLUSION:

This article reviews observations made in recent studies on several important aspects of self-treatment. Comprehensive and systematic study is still lacking. Interventions are needed to solve several problems associated with self-treatment.

KEYWORDS:

associated factors; empirical observations; prevalence; self-treatment; treatment effects

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