Me, hypochondriac?

The new health policies and the new hypochondriacs

You go somewhere where you talk about health policies, and you hear frequently the phrase “let the user choose his/her treatment” or something similar. That seems to be the current trend. “Fine, I totally support this”, I think to myself.

But there is a problem: people do not know how to take care of themselves.

This, coupled with a kind of salutary panic that pervades today’s market (where nothing is sold / pushed that is not “healthy”), generates what I like to call a generalized hypochondria.

“Man, my head hurts a little.” Maybe he has not eaten in too many hours, or forgot to drink something after he’s been out in the desert sun for four hours. But no. Everywhere we are told that we have to surround ourselves with health, and if we are sick (or if we have any symptoms that may be illness), then it is because we are not surrounded by sufficient health. Soon it is necessary to go to primary care, because there is certainly something for this situation.

 This kind of situation generates two types of results:


  • Either the person decides that he or she knows everything about the situation and does not even need to consult a health professional, self-medicating the first symptom (usually with painkillers and anti-inflammatories, but there are many situations…)
  • Either the person is constantly going to the hospital emergency unit, or, the more sensible ones, to the Pharmacy.

Do you know what you were missing here? It is a simple solution and an easy way to identify alarming symptoms and situations that would allow me to distinguish whether I should self-medicate, go to the pharmacy, the doctor, or simply try to wait and see what happens.

What?! How come there is not?!

Well, the middle ground is once again a balance difficult to attain. There are chronic diseases with acute manifestations, and acute diseases with virtually no manifestations (and other combinations of these terms). And there is no way to distinguish them completely except on a case-by-case basis.

So, even though sometimes our pet hypochondriacs annoy me, I do not have a better alternative for them. We must be attentive to what our body is telling us, and if there is any change we take this into account, we must keep it under our watchful eye. But we cannot let this worry take over our lives! – Here is the subtle balance again…

And now, one more note… If you really want to know if a particular symptom is serious or not, or if you want to know how to best perform self-medication, then


And I do not mean reading one or two shady websites on the subject. I mean really studying, until you can explain, syllable by syllable, what every word in the booklet means.

I think this is the problem of these new health policies with which I started this text. They assume the user is a cultured and educated person. A person who, while not knowing all about his/her health, knows enough to understand the gravity of a situation, and make decisions about it. It seems to me, however, that the reality is different.

Educate the population if they are to make wise decisions. – (John 2018, if you want to quote me on this)

To what conclusion did we arrive then? And what should I do when I have one of those symptoms that I’m not sure whether it’s serious or not?

Common sense is not infallible or even objective (far from it!). But in this particular situation, I think I have nothing better to recommend…

And you know that if you have any questions, talk to your pharmacist 😉

Text written by João.

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