You’ve probably seen some of the numerous ads for prescription drugs on TV, touting the new wonder cure for every possible ailment under the sun. Drug manufacturers do what they can to trivialize the side-effects of prescription drugs, and their long lists have become a bit of a running joke for many of us watching. “Possible side effects include memory loss, dizziness, cough, nausea, blood thinning, headaches, anxiety, dry mouth …” and the list goes on. Sometimes there are up to 70 potential side-effects for a single prescription drug! And then there is the big one that, try as we may to ignore it, always catches our attention: “under rare circumstances, death.” For every drug there is a side-effect, and for every side-effect there is another drug. And with the amount of new drugs manufactured each year, it is seemingly impossible to know how they all interfere with each other.
This of course, places a lot of responsibility on doctors. More than their knowledge of drugs and side-effects, it draws attention to doctors’ ethics. As long as drug companies continue to reward doctors for prescribing their latest drugs to patients, doctors have more and more of a responsibility to keep their own integrity in check. The problem is, how many of them do? It would be very easy for a doctor to convince him or herself that their primary interest is in helping patients, yet ignore the fact that by prescribing these drugs they are perpetuating a big problem. So the responsibility, then, is also on us, the consumers. We need to ask ourselves, how many drugs do we really need from our doctors?
The majority of us wake-up to the issue when somebody high-profile is affected by it. One of the most high-profile cases, of course, was the death of Michael Jackson. All conspiracy theories aside, the fact is that even with the best treatment available, Michael Jackson had an inordinate amount of drugs in his body when he died. Deepak Chopra, a friend of Michael Jackson for 20 years, referred to this issue as the “cult of drug-pushing doctors, with their co-dependent relationships with addicted celebrities”, saying that he hoped Jackson’s death, attributed to an overdose of a prescription drug, would be a call to action.
We all need to start with ourselves. Some prescription drugs are miracles for many people, allowing them to enjoy life in ways that they were previously unable. There are drugs that allow, for instance, an asthmatic to breathe freely and enjoy life, or medicines that help with heart irregularities, joint diseases, depression, and many, many others. But as consumers, it is our responsibility to draw the line somewhere and begin to look at the root cause of our ailments, to look at your our psyches and identify dis-harmonies that may be contributing to physical problems. And there are alternative therapies that can have profoundly positive results, with no side effects at all. The more dependent on prescription drugs that we become as a society, the more important it is that we go back to basics.
What ails you, and what are you doing about it? Take a more holistic approach to your wellness, and in doing so you may help to address the problem of the “cult of drug-pushing doctors” that Deepak is referring to. As with everything, it begins with you.
– Derek O’Neill