Are We Overusing Medications?
The answer to this question is twofold. First we must accept the fact that we don’t like to suffer or feel any discomfort. It’s as if we believe that it’s more natural to be pain-free. We’ve convinced ourselves that the absence of pain and discomfort is health and that’s an inaccurate belief. Our bodies were designed with an internal alert system to aid us in maintaining balance and wellness in the body. Think of it like the dashboard in your car. Nowadays, our cars’ mechanisms are computerized. When it needs something like an oil change, new battery, or fuel, it tells us. A little red fuel pump icon or the word oil will light up altering you to take some action. This alert system was built into the car as a way to help you keep your car in good working condition.
Well the human body is designed in much the same way. Except our dashboard alerts come in the form of symptoms like pain, discomfort, or illness. The fact that your body is doing what it was designed to do is a healthy response. So try not to think of health as a physical state but instead think of it in terms of functionality. A healthy functioning body will show signs or symptoms to alert you to potential problems. For example, if you have a cold and you’re constantly sneezing or coughing up phlegm; that is your body’s healthy response and attempt to remove the infection from the body.
Too often we medicate these symptoms and think only of getting relief. So the symptom gets masked but the underlying health issue still exist. We’ve conned ourselves into thinking that medicines cure us when in reality it is the body that cures itself. Medicines often suppress or stop the immune system from doing its job. When given the support it needs, the immune system is more than capable of destroying foreign invaders and restoring balance in the body. It’s the real hero.
Our dependence has also steadily increased over the years thanks to the brainwashing tactics of conventional medicine and pharmaceutical industry. It’s easy to convince people that “there’s a pill for that”, because the fact is that medicine can save lives. I said it before and I’ll say it again, medicine is truly one of man’s greatest accomplishments. But too much of a good thing is not only harmful; in the case of medicine, it has the potential to be deadly. The problem is that the medical and pharmaceutical industry has managed to convince us that we need drugs to function from day to day. We are constantly being told that we are broken and that only a particular drug can fix us.
We have come to accept our dependence on drugs, so much so that we’ll pay exorbitant amounts of money to get what we need. Dr. Richard Deyo and Donald Patrick PhD, authors of the book, Hope or Hype: The Obsession with Medical Advances and the High Cost of False Promises, explain how pharmaceutical companies are able to charge such high prices because they know consumers lack the information and expertise to determine the effectiveness of a drug. “Anti-inflammatories and statins all work about the same but have different prices and different side effects.” They point out that most consumers are totally unaware of less-expensive generic versions because we only know what our doctors tell us. And doctors get all their information from pharmaceutical reps.
Know that You Have Options
- If your experiencing symptoms of a physical or mental health condition, your problem could be the result of toxicity, allergies, or nutritional deficiencies. Before deciding to take a medication, get a thorough health assessment to see if there is a dietary issue. Unfortunately, you may not be able to get this type of service from your general practitioner or a nutritionist. They may have a basic understanding of nutrition but lack advanced knowledge about the mind-body-nutrition connection. Consider seeking help from an integrative medicine practitioner, naturopathic physician, or a holistic nutritionist.
- Be sure to note any changes in your lifestyle or environment. This can be as simple as a change in cleaning supplies you use around the house to more stress-inducing changes like moving or loss of a job.
- When seeking the advice of a health care practitioner, be confident and direct. Remember you are the expert on you. You must be your own advocate. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right and the doctor is reaching for the prescription pad ten minutes into your visit, recognize that this is not who you need. Your beliefs about the kind of treatment you want should be respected.
- If you decide to use medication, try to avoid new drugs that have been on the market less than three years. It is a well-kept secret in the pharmaceutical industry that medicines are rarely improved. Sometimes only one or two components of an old drug are changed and given a new name with a new promise. There is no scientifically conclusive data that any one drug is better than another. To play it safe, tell your doctor that you will only consider medicines that have been on the market for ten or more years. Better yet, ask for the generic version.
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