Prescription Drugs, Healing, And The Almighty Dollar

www.mypicshares.com

The use of prescription drugs has led us into a lot of trouble with regard to our health. According to Dr. Hyla Cass, “Nearly 50% of American adults take at least one prescription medication, and nearly 20% take three or more.” Often, little consideration is given to the side-effects of medications until it is too late.

I’m more likely to put off taking ANY kind of prescription drug or over-the-counter medication unless there is absolutely no other alternative. I’d rather exhaust all natural alternatives first than take a drug for a problem I’m having.

I spent so much of my life being over-medicated by doctors and obtaining unsatisfactory results – and only one of them suggested natural treatments or diet as solution (but went into zero detail about what that actually meant) – that now I’ve become suspicious when it comes to their advice.

Fortunately, since I changed my diet and began using natural remedies for health problems, I’m happy to say my health has improved dramatically and I haven’t been sick much in the last five years. The only severe illness I’ve had was a sinus infection last summer. Read the full story if you are interested in how I dealt with it; pretty interesting! I don’t think it’s a coincidence that people in my family don’t get sick as often or as severely as we used to before we started eating real food.

Drug recalls

News of drug recalls fill media broadcasts in alarming numbers, and doctors rarely use natural remedies or solutions as an alternative to the flood of prescriptions and surgical procedures recommended, many of which fail.  As a result of the over-use of antibiotics, drug-resistant strain bacteria capable of causing death now prevail. Annual spending on drugs for medical conditions in 2004 was nearly $200 billion. Health care costs and insurance premiums continue to rise with no hope of relief in sight. Besides the obvious damage to the economy, the condition of our health as a society continues to decline. Our dependence upon drugs to solve health issues shows no sign of letting up.

Many over-the-counter drugs are on the recall list as well, which is even more alarming due to the fact that anyone can purchase these products without a prescription. Last April, a warning was issued to pull off the shelves all Influend Cough and Cold products in the possible event that they cause the following side-effects: tachycardia, palpitations, arrhythmias, and cardiovascular collapse with hypotension to headaches, dizziness, anxiety, restlessness and nervousness. Apparently any of these products sold on or after May 30, 2008 were likely “super-potent” and able to cause these reactions, some of them life-threatening – particularly in small children.

One of the most recent stories of OTC drug recalls is the one that came out to the press on December 29, 2009 about Tylenol’s arthritis pain product which was reported to have a nauseating “moldy” odor that sickened some consumers.

Nutrient loss

Side effects of drugs are also a big problem. One common side-effect of continued prescription drug use that medical professionals seldom address or mention is the body’s loss of nutrients. The body relies on nutrition as the foundation of its ability to retain health. Dr. Cass agrees, “Most medications will rob your body of essential nutrients.”

Because the body is compromised already when the medications are prescribed, resources in each organ and affiliate system function at lower and lower levels when medication enters the blood stream. In its weakened state, the body cannot use its most powerful resource to its full potential – the immune system – to regulate and bring health back up to its optimal state.

Why does this happen? There are three major reasons. Most doctors have limited time to devote to each individual patient in office visits. Also, doctors know very little about nutrition and how it supports overall health. Finally, doctors receive paybacks from drug companies for using their medications, and therefore they have an interest in maintaining a relationship with pharmaceutical corporations.

Drugs on farms

The other factor which has a huge impact on our ability to keep from getting sick is the consumption of meat containing antibiotics. This activity accounts for 80 percent of non-therapeutic does of antibiotics in cattle, swine, and sheep farms in the United States. Bacteria develop an immunity to repeated exposure to antibiotics which are intended to reduce and eliminate their numbers. Over time, these bacteria will mutate, effectively boosting their ability to prevail against the drug’s effectiveness. Over time, continued low doses of antibiotics in the body will create this condition, known as drug-resistance.

On factory farms, farmers routinely administer these drugs to their animals to keep them “well”. Proponents of antibiotic use on farms claim that it saves money in “caring” for their animals. But what many people don’t realize is that these animals are also given these drugs to make them grow faster – which couldn’t possibly be in the interest of the health of the animal, nor the meat it for which it is slaughtered. Even if you don’t go to the doctor and receive prescriptions for antibiotics directly, you are consuming them everyday if you eat commercially-produced meats and dairy.

Natural alternatives

From my own experience and hearing the stories of other people, I believe it is wise to avoid taking medications at all costs unless there is simply no other alternative. Just because you have a cold or sore throat should not warrant making an appointment to receive antibiotics. There are many successful, natural ways to manage health and prevent disease. Normally the medication route is used because people desire a quick fix and they don’t want to bother trying to find out what can be done to eliminate their symptoms completely, nor do they want to do the necessary work.

This winter alone, I have heard my friends and family talk about getting sick repeatedly and being unable to, for weeks to months, get well. Just this morning I was on the phone with someone who has two small children – one is an infant and the other is 5 years old. Their family spent the majority of their holidays (both Christmas and Thanksgiving) being sick with sore throats, colds, sinus problems, and coughing. My friend reported that she has already been on two rounds of antibiotics this season; who knows how many she’s had in her lifetime.

I believe healthy food is of the utmost importance in keeping yourself well. My friend believes her family eats healthy food, but in our conversations we’ve compared our food and much of what they eat is vastly different than in our household. As a comparison, my son has been sick once this season so far, and it was for one day. Her children have already been sick three or four times. My husband and I have not been sick yet this season (knock on wood!).

Here are some natural treatments used by many with success for many health disorders:

Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture
chiropractic Care
nutritional therapy
naturopathic care
homeopathy

Each of these methods seeks to use the body’s natural healing abilities to maintain health without surgeries or drugs. Finding healing for the body without drugs is an effective way to help solve health issues, but it’s also important to remember the best way to maintain health through preventative measures is by eating a diet of real, traditional foods.

Another important component of boosting your immune system is consuming foods naturally rich in probiotics – those friendly bacteria or flora which exist in your digestive system and are responsible for maintaining immune system health. For more information, read All Probiotics Are NOT Created Equal.

A combination of eating real foods and reducing our exposure to chemicals and toxins combined with natural treatments and remedies can really make a difference in the overall health of everyone!

For more information on nutrient-depletion as a result of drug use, read Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutrition by Dr. Hyla Cass. Dr. Cass explains how you can take control of your health by knowing what lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements can make you healthier without drugs, and specific information about what side-effects and nutrient depletions occur most frequently with commonly used drugs.

Want to learn more about factory farms and antibiotic use? Read What Do Farms and Antibiotic Drugs Have in Common?

Do you have a favorite alternative medical or complimentary therapy you use? How effective has it been for you and would you recommend it to others?
This article is part of Kelly the Kithen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays carnival. Please have a visit to this site and read all of the other great real food posts there!

4 Comments

  • January 12, 2010 - 8:40 PM | Permalink

    great artical, I am off to the recipes to check things out.

  • January 12, 2010 - 9:03 PM | Permalink

    Hello Heidi – good to see you here! I hope you find some recipes you like. I have two new ones I’ll be putting up this week. It’s pretty much all comfort food. I’m a sucker for comfort! :)

  • Andrew
    January 26, 2010 - 2:43 PM | Permalink

    I would hesitate to recommend homeopathy along with other “alternative” treatments. It is worth some skeptical inquiry to learn how homeopathic remedies are created, and in doing so, judge whether they can have anything other than a placebo effect:

    http://www.interhomeopathy.org/index.php/journal/entry/trituration_proving_of_the_light_of_saturn/

  • January 27, 2010 - 12:07 PM | Permalink

    Andrew – like most things, there are practical and useful applications done with those things by competent, knowledgeable practitioners and health care professionals. Medical doctors can be quacks (and I’ve known multitudes of them), naturopaths can be quacks, chiropractors can be quacks. You have to use some kind of qualitative analysis when judging whether some school of knowledge is valid or not.

    In using my own intuition, judgment, and experience with homeopathy, what is presented on the web site link you provided is not really what I would consider to be a good representation of knowledgeable homeopathic practice and principles.

    My aunt who is a psychatric nurse and teaches at university level as a professor in Florida is a person who is schooled and believes in both sides of medical ideology – aspects in both western and eastern, as well as other complimentary and alternative treatments. She is what I would call a very balanced person in terms of using the natural treatments and allopathic treatments, as appropriate. She relies upon a great deal of “scientific research” to support and validate her beliefs and actions taken because of those beliefs. She believes homeopathy is a valid and useful treatment for a variety of medical issues.

    I’ve also had success with homeopathy, as well as known many others as well who have realized relief when other medical methods didn’t work.

    To a great extent – if you believe something will work, it has a much better chance of succeeding. If you fail to give something a chance to prove itself, there’s not much chance it will ever come to success. If you have never tried homeopathy, there’s really no way you can say it doesn’t work. If you try something and it is done properly, and then it doesn’t do what you want it to do, you can say, “okay, now it’s time to try something else.” And, just because you try something once and it fails doesn’t mean the entire body of that practice is invalid. It can often mean one of many things – that the application of that practice wasn’t done properly, that the person using that application actually needs some other type of treatment (which is often the case – that people who have medical issues must try various things to see what will work before they hit on something successful), or that the real cause of the problem is not being addressed. The bottom line is – if the actual cause is not found, you can do all the doctoring, medicating, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic adjustment or whatever else to your heart’s content. But if the cause is not being addressed, nothing will change. I’ve seen that happen more often with conventional medicine than anything else, but I’ve also seen it occur with alternative therapies when the culprit of the problem was not discovered.

    I think the lesson is to use caution, do the research, be willing to try things you haven’t in the past, and have patience to find out what is wrong before you make a judgment about an entire body of philosophy or practice being a failure and possibly the cause of your health issues.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>