38% of Britons self-medicate – why do they choose to do it?
March 18th, 2024, Clifton Mark

38% of Britons self-medicate – why do they choose to do it?

Over a third of Britons take drugs, herbs or home remedies without consulting a doctor. In fact, in the past year, 38% of British consumers self-medicated for one reason or another. Women are slightly more likely than men to self-medicate (40% vs. 36%), and those with a household income under £10 000 are more likely to self-medicate than average (52% vs. 38%). Britons aged 55 and over are least likely to self-medicate of all generations at 34%.

Why take treatments without the advice of a professional? Previous experience with a medicine appears to be the top reason. Among those who have self-medicated in the past year, 44% say they did it because the medicine has worked for them in the past.

About a third say that they decided on a course of treatment after doing online research (36%). A third also say simply that it was more convenient than seeing a doctor (33%). One in five Britons (20%) took drugs, herbs or home remedies because family or friends recommended them.

A smaller proportion had to resort to self-medication either because professional treatment didn’t work for them (8%) or because they did not have access to health services (7%). A few say they didn’t have money for a doctor’s visit (4%) or that they do not trust medical professionals (4%).

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YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on March 5- 2024, with a nationally representative sample of 2,199 adults (aged 18+ years) in Great Britain, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education and social grade to be representative of all adults in Great Britain (18 years or older) and reflect the latest ONS population estimates. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.