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What Is Medical Self-Help?

By Patti Kate
Updated May 17, 2024
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Medical self-help is a way of controlling or treating ongoing or acute medical issues, with the assistance of self-help books and support groups. Many self-help strategies also include resources found online. Effective self-help plans can help a patient cope with chronic pain or illness, without having to rely on prescriptions from a physician.

Many patients choose various forms of hypnosis as self-help techniques and strategies. Self-help hypnosis for chronic pain may produce positive results for some individuals. Individuals who suffer from chronic sleep disorders and insomnia may choose a medical self-help plan that includes self hypnosis. Therapeutic self help may also include the use of special audio programs, such as self-hypnosis compact discs (CDs).

Magazines devoted to women's or men's health issues often feature articles on medical self-help. These articles may address various topics such as self help for menopausal women or how men can treat erectile dysfunction. Some medical self-help magazines also publish articles online.

Support and information for people seeking medical self-help may be found in question and answer forums online. Some forums feature a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page relating to a particular medical topic. These forum questions are often answered by a physician or medical expert.

Some medical self-help programs may include information and techniques for treating psychiatric disorders, especially when other medical issues are involved. For example, anxiety disorders may affect sleep or eating habits, which can be a serious health concern for many. Effective self help for eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, may include family counseling.

Another form of medical self-help may be found at pharmacies and department stores. This includes special kiosks that are set up for monitoring blood pressure, or machines used for vision screening. These free devices are designed to encourage people to monitor their health at their own convenience. While these machines are not intended to replace medical examinations by a physician, they can help patients monitor vital statistics between doctor visits.

Flu shots, usually offered at pharmacies and schools, can be effective medical self-help. These can prevent serious illness and complications from influenza. Many elderly people or those at risk for serious health complications often receive an annual pneumonia shot as well.

Courses in first aid instruction and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be an effective self help plan. These medical instructions or courses may be given at schools, clinics, and other facilities. More information on medical self-help instruction courses can be found at public libraries.

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