Autotherapy means self-treatment (regardless of
outcome) without supervision from any medical
professionals or any prescriptions. Autotherapy can
also mean being cured without any apparent help from
an outside source. Common medical examples of
autotherapy include treating a headache with over the
counter pain medication or treating an ankle sprain with
heat and/or ice without consulting a medical
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Autotherapy is also very popular for mental health problems (anxiety and depression) via
self-help books and audio recordings (e.g., tapes, CDs), partly due to the stigma that still
exist for being treated by a psychologist and/or psychiatrist.

While autotherapy for routine medical symptoms is common, it can lead to serious harm if
formal medical care is ignored for certain acute and chronic medical problems. For
example, continuing to self treat a chronic headache can lead to delayed diagnosis and
treatment of brain cancer. In addition, deciding to self-treat a serious medical condition
rather than following traditional formal medical treatment can lead to serious adverse
effects including death. However, occasional anecdotal success stories of self-treatment
are reported in such situations. Autotherapy comes from the Greek word "autos" meaning
"self," the Greek word "bios" meaning "life," and the Greek word "therapeia" meaning
"medical treatment." Put the two words together and you have "self medical treatment."
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