Are We Overmedicating Ourselves?

America is one of the most medicated societies in the world yet we’re SO unhealthy! Why is that?

Are We Overmedicating Ourselves?
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

There are different kinds of doctors out there - some who do a great job of listening to their patients, discussing symptoms and treatment methods, and then coming up with the best solutions to help us get healthy again. But there are some that are just a cog in the machine and don’t take time to listen and just simply write a prescription and send you on your way. We’ve been to both kinds of doctors and you can very clearly see the difference when you go in for a visit.

America is one of the most medicated societies in the world yet we’re SO unhealthy! Why is that? Could it be that taking a bunch of medications isn’t really helping our health but is just lining the pockets of Big Pharma and even some doctors? Sadly it is. You can follow the money and see that it’s just become a big business.

Statin drugs are a prime example of this. If you do some research into this topic, you’ll see that some believe this to be the biggest money making scam in history to be perpetuated on the American people.

“Despite the essential nature of cholesterol, doctors the world over administer billions of dollars’ worth of drugs to try to prevent its natural synthesis. The fact that only a tiny minority of patients actually extend their lives by taking these drugs is lost on the multitude prescribing them, but not, of course, on the pharmaceutical industry making and selling them.”

— The Great Cholesterol Myth, Revised and Expanded: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease--and the Statin-Free Plan that Will by Jonny Bowden, Stephen T. Sinatra

I could write multiple articles about cholesterol (and I’ll do so in the future), but the main point of this article is to say that you need to be your own best advocate for your health. I’m definitely not saying you shouldn’t take medications prescribed by your doctor, but don’t just immediately jump to medication and don’t take one doctor’s word for it - especially if you feel unsure or uneasy about their recommendations.

It IS okay to question your doctor. It IS okay to get a second (or even third!) opinion. It is YOUR body and you alone are allowed to make the decisions that are best for you.

I have two examples I’d like to share from stories of people we know. I won’t give too many details so it remains private but the situations are worth sharing.

  1. A cancer diagnosis - doctor 1 recommended a very aggressive treatment plan of chemo and other drugs that would have to be taken for the rest of the patient’s life. The side effects of the treatment would have been pretty harsh too. There were uneasy feelings with what she wanted to do so doctor 2 was consulted for a second opinion. This doctor recommended radiation treatment only. That was done and that has (so far) healed the issue and there aren’t any further problems. Of course scans will be continued and it will be monitored but it’s basically gone. Two very drastic recommendations with one far less invasive. It pays to follow your gut.
  2. A health scare that seemed to be a heart issue - doctor 1 has the patient on all kinds of medications and just continues to treat things with more medications. A new specialist was consulted who couldn’t believe all the medications being taken. This second doctor says the heart is fine and the problems that are being faced are side effects of all the drugs! He’s weaning the patient off of so many so that normal health can be found again.

It is astounding to me that so many doctors are so quick to jump to drugs to solve everything. It’s baffling that more doctors aren’t looking into the root cause of some of these health issues rather than just prescribing a drug to try to treat a symptom. It’s heartbreaking that these doctors are creating even MORE health issues for their patients by allowing them to suffer side effects from these medications when they could be treating the CAUSE of the issue with diet and nutrition rather than the SYMPTOM with drugs.

Now I am definitely not trying to say that all medical issues can be treated with a diet change and I’m not saying there’s never a reason to take medication. Of course there are plenty of serious illnesses that need to be treated with proper medication and monitored closely. But so many of our modern health issues are a direct result of our poor diet in America and could be reversed and eliminated with a simple change in the food we eat.

I have one more example to share about an experience with a health issue. This is more about the doctors’ lack of listening than prescribing medication but important to share. (Again, no personal details to protect the privacy.) The patient goes to the doctor for a problem and is told it’s a simple issue and will be resolved with a simple medication. Even though there were doubts that the diagnosis was correct, the patient did as they were told. The problem persisted. The patient then went to a second doctor and explained what the first doctor said and how that treatment didn’t work and that they knew that wasn’t the issue. The patient was ignored and diagnosed with the same thing again and told to take the same type of medication. The problem still did not go away. Since doctors weren’t listening, this patient lived with this problem for over two years until another appointment with a new doctor resulted in a discussion where this issue came up. The third time was a charm because this doctor actually listened and actually figured out what the problem was. She prescribed a totally different medication and guess what - it worked. So much needless suffering because the first two doctors wouldn’t listen.

We know our bodies and, as I’ve said already, it’s important to be our own best advocates. It’s frustrating that doctors can be so arrogant that they don’t listen to what their patients have to say and consider our input when assessing the situation.

So I share all of that to say, please do your research when it comes to your health. Trust your gut. Go with what you know is best for your body. If you completely disagree with what a doctor tells you to do, get more than one opinion if you need to and find a doctor who will listen and who will help you get to the cause of your illness and not just throw medication at the symptoms. Don’t be afraid to research medications and make sure it’s a drug you want to take. Check the effectiveness versus the side effects. You might be surprised at what you find.