by Dr. Lawrence Wilson

November 2013, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only.  It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.


            Self-medication is the use by a person of foods, lifestyle modifications, vitamins, herbs, pharmaceutical or other drugs, or other methods to ameliorate bodily symptoms, either physical, mental or emotional.  The substance or method of alleviating symptoms has not been prescribed or recommended by a health professional.  Instead, the person experiments on himself or herself, deciding to do what appears to work, or what feels best.




            These are numerous and include:

* Smoking cigarettes to feel better and perhaps to breathe more deeply.

* Using marijuana or alcohol to kill physical or emotional pain

* Eating chocolate, sugar or other foods to correct low blood sugar, provide quick energy, stop depression temporarily, or for other purposes.

* Self-prescribing medical drugs for symptom relief

* Even overdoing coffee enemas or other nutritional balancing procedures.  I once overdid foot reflexology to stop symptoms of fatigue.




            Self-medication is a very common method that many people use to feel better.  They may do this because it is quick and convenient, or because no doctor was able to help them.

            At a deeper level, however, people may self-medicate because they know intuitively they are out of balance in some way and the self-medication process is a way to correct the imbalance, however temporary or misguided it is.  This is important, as it can give us a clue as to how we could improve the balance of the body without the negative effects that commonly occur when people self-medicate with drugs, for example, or with sugar, or with self-destructive behaviors.




            Sometimes self-medication is a good idea, sometimes it is very wise, and perhaps even necessary if no one can help you with a symptom.  However, I find it is usually harmful because:


1. It is not a systems approach, but almost always is a remedy approach to healing the body.  That is, it is almost always a superficial and symptomatic method of alleviating symptoms that can throw the body further out of balance.

2. It is often dangerous, especially the use of drugs or alcohol, for example.  However, even the use of foods, sugar, chocolate, carbohydrates, etc. can be dangerous in excess.

3. It is inherently unsupervised, and can be dangerous because the body is complex and just trying this or that remedy is often not wise.




            Nutritional balancing science does not lend itself to self-medication very much because it is a rather complex healing system that is not symptomatically based.  However, Dr. Paul Eck was extremely interested in self-medication because he believed that many times people who self-medicate were, in fact, balancing their oxidation rate or their sodium/potassium ratio, or something else by their use of remedies of one sort or another.

An adaptation.  He felt that self-medication was indeed an adaptation to stress.  For example, he believed that smoking cigarettes added cadmium to the body, which tends to raise the sodium/potassium ratio.  It is just that smoking and ingesting cadmium are not that healthful.  Using nutritional balancing principles, he sought to understand self-medication and to accomplish the same goals using healthier means so that self-medication would not be needed.

Indeed, he was always interested in the ways people self-medicate because they can yield insight into what is out of balance in a person, and therefore it may suggest to us better ways to correct the imbalance.



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