Self-medication is a human behavior in which an individual uses a substance or any exogenous influence to self-administer treatment for physical or psychological ailments.

The most widely self-medicated substances are over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements, which are used to treat common health issues at home. These do not require a doctor’s prescription to obtain and, in some countries, are available in supermarkets and convenience stores.[1]

The field of psychology surrounding the use of psychoactive drugs is often specifically in relation to the use of recreational drugs, alcohol, comfort food, and other forms of behavior to alleviate symptoms of mental distress, stress and anxiety,

[2] including mental illnesses or psychological trauma,[3

][4] is particularly unique and can serve as a serious detriment to physical and mental health if motivated by addictive mechanisms.[

5] In postsecondary (university and college) students, the use of self-medicating of study-drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta has been widely reported and discussed in literature.[5]

Products are marketed by manufacturers as useful for self-medication, sometimes on the basis of questionable evidence. Claims that nicotine has medicinal value have been used to market cigarettes as self-administered medicines. These claims have been criticized as inaccurate by independent researchers.[6

][7] Unverified and unregulated third-party health claims are used to market dietary supplements.[8]

Self-medication is often seen as gaining personal independence from established medicine,

[9] and it can be seen as a human right, implicit in, or closely related to the right to refuse professional medical treatment.[

10] Self-medication can cause unintentional self-harm.