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.
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,
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
Self-medication is often seen as gaining personal independence from established medicine,
10] Self-medication can cause unintentional self-harm.