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Americans Are Just Too Overmedicated

So, Is America Taking Too Many Prescription Meds?  The Argument For Alternative Medicine Options..

The average number of prescriptions filled per year here in the U.S. in the year 2000 was just over 3 billion according to some statistics. Since then, it has gone up even more.  CVS alone filled about 1.2 billion prescriptions in 2011, so that should tell you something.  The average senior citizen reportedly fills about 31 prescriptions per year. To me, this is saying there is a big problem.

So, is America really this sick, or are we being over medicated instead of educated by most physicians who seem to have a bigger interest in their pharmaceutical partners than they do the health and longevity of their patients? Controversial statements, true. But nonetheless compelling you have to admit.

Something happened to me on March 13th 2006. It was really just a simple observation that got me thinking. I was at a doctor’s office to get a lump on my back looked at, which incidentally turned out to be a harmless cluster of fat cells called a lipoma.

As I sat in the waiting room, a middle aged man wheeled his elderly father into the office in wheelchair. The elderly man had a hearing aid and obviously could not walk or move around very freely. His son was filling out his admission and insurance paperwork for him, and I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation.

It went something like this:

SON : “Dad, they’re asking if you’re taking any medications. What are you on again?”

DAD : “I think about five or six.”

SON : “Well do you remember the names of them?”

“Coumedin, Lasix, ……{I got lost after Lacix, I did not recognize nor do I remember the other 3-4 meds he listed}” One particular word in the man’s responses to his son stood out to me : FIVE. This man was on five different medications, all at once! I did know the two, since I remember my grandfather being prescribed them in his older years. Coumedin is a blood thinner prescribed to patients for heart issues, to help the blood flow and circulate easier throughout the body and minimize the risk of heart attack, and I believe stroke but don’t quote me on that.

Lasix is a diuretic, which means it rids the body of excess water retention and fluid. While I’m sure this man was in need of some sort of medical attention, I just couldn’t believe that someone needed to be on five or six different medications all at one time. I mean, is this safe?

What are the odds that one of those medications may not partially counter the effects of another? How many drug interactions do these people have to remember so as not to cause serious problems, even death? The worst part is, five or six is just childs play to some.

Many individuals may be on as many as ten prescription medications at once. No one can tell me or convince me that this is healthy for anyone. Is this obscene amount of prescription meds really medical necessity, or the omnipotence of a billion dollar industry rearing its ugly head in our modern day society of the “pill popping” mentality?

The Commercialization of Medical Science

The commercials for the most popular pharmaceuticals have to make you wonder what’s worse, the symptom or condition you need the drug for, or the side effects of the drug itself? How many times have you heard an endless list of side effects and disclaimers at the end of these commercials. And how many times have some of these side effects sounded worse than the symptoms you need to treat with that very medicine?

The great philosopher Paracelsus, as you see on the front page of this very website, once said one of the wisest things, I think, any philosopher has ever said. It’s so simple, yet so undeniably essential to our way of thinking when it comes to our health and well being.

“The art of healing comes from nature and not from the physician. Therefore, the physician must start from nature with an open mind.”

The lesson in this altruistic statement? I believe it means to first look to nature, and within yourself and your habits to heal and make whole your physical body, as well as mental self. Only turn to medical science when and if nature cannot cure what you have. What do you think?

 

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