self-med·​i·​ca·​tion ˌself-ˌme-di-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce self-medication (audio)
plural self-medications
: the act or process of medicating oneself especially without the advice of a physician : self-treatment
For chronic coughs, self-medication with cough remedies is usually inappropriate, and most doctors discourage their use.Consumer Reports
Hazard has a long tradition of self-medicating. Moonshine and marijuana, grown in its fertile soil, have long helped to blot out depression, boredom, even physical pain.Debra Rosenberg
also : a substance used for self-medication
Over half (57 per cent) of these medical centre patients reported using one or more over-the-counter medications in the previous month, with analgesics, cold and allergy products, and antacid products being the most common self-medications. Antonia C. Lyons and Kerry Chamberlain

Examples of self-medication in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There’s also kind of some self-medication going into play. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 5 Jan. 2024 The effectiveness of these medications may vary from person to person depending on the cause of the gas, but is an overall safe form of self-medication, says Sarah Robbins, MD, MSc, FRCPC, a gastroenterologist, gut health expert, and founder of Well Sunday. Sherri Gordon, Verywell Health, 23 Aug. 2023 What is new is how lethal that self-medication and experimentation have become, due to knockoff pills. Zachary Siegel, The New Republic, 27 June 2023 By the end of the verse those lines appear in, the clawing at Gunna’s flesh — by district attorneys, old collaborators, and those casting aspersions on his self-medication — is waved away poetically. Paul Thompson, Vulture, 20 June 2023 Trump’s venting may have been a kind of self-medication, succor after a day of unaccustomed humility and painful humiliation. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2023 In America, self-medication has practically become a point of pride. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 22 Mar. 2023 Along with warming your heart, The Dodo also wants to inspire viewers to get involved in animal welfare.—Jordan Minor Science Medicine is a complex field, one that can go horribly awry in a world of poor nutrition and self-medication. Pcmag Staff, PCMAG, 11 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-medication.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1830, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-medication was in 1830

Dictionary Entries Near self-medication

Cite this Entry

“Self-medication.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition


self-med·​i·​ca·​tion -ˌmed-ə-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce self-medication (audio)
: medication of oneself especially without the advice of a physician : self-treatment
self-medication with nonprescription drugs
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