Is There a Pill For That?: Over-medicating Americans
I’ve always felt that I can live without medication. Sure, in some situations you need it to feel better or get over a sickness quicker but I’ll still avoid it if at all possible. If it’s something that’s not threatening to my physical health long-term, I’ll avoid medication. If I’m sick from the flu or a cold, why numb myself using over-the-counter (otc) drugs. Why bother going to the doctor when you know full-well that you have the flu. It’s not hard to comprehend that you’ll get the flu during flu season or a cold during allergy season and that neither of these problems offer a cure in the least bit. Why do so many people find it necessary to medicate themselves for every little problem? Simply put, it’s a loose combination of being lazy, uneducated and expecting instant gratification.
I’m not one to throw out stats because they’re really as accurate as the people who record them.. but some really awkwardly accurate stats from around the horn… like how Americans only make up 4.6% of the world’s population but consume over 80% of the world’s opiods and 99% of the world’s hydrocodone (ingredient in Vicodin). I didn’t make that up, it’s stated here. To me, that seems pretty alarming. What is going on in the USA that would cause us to be that doped up? Are people just emo? Are people really suffering more in the USA than any other country in the world? Are medications just that much easier to get in the US than other countries.. lots of questions that boggle my mind.
Another saddening over-medication scenario involves ADHD, or essentially someone being too unfocused, for lack of a better description on my own behalf. I know what it is.. I know how people are diagnosed with ADHD,.. but I think we’ve gone a bit too far with over-diagnosing or even worse, mis-diagnosing ADHD. With misdiagnoses we get mis-medicated individuals which really just worsens the problem of these people not really understanding what is truly wrong with them, or not wrong with them. Consider the situation where your son is in kindergarten and is just the most immature in his class… does it mean he lacks focus or is ADHD? No, it means he’s in kindergarten.. and kids are immature by nature. Or how about the parents who don’t really give a shit about their kids and don’t have the time nor the ever-shortening patience to deal with their issues? Easier to medicate them with some Ritalin than to actually address the problem at hand.. perhaps a lack of “upbringing”. Don’t believe me that we’re misdiagnosing this disease? Read here
One of my bigger pet peeves is the medicating of viral infections with antibiotics. Or just over-prescribing antibiotics in general. Guess what, that cold you have.. it’s a virus. What the hell will antibiotics do to fix it? Nothing. Now granted, if you have a mixture of a bacterial infection and flu/cold .. then sure, they can help. But as respiratory infections go, most are comprised of viruses for which your run of the mill antibiotics will do absolutely nothing. All that prescribing antibiotics for non-bacterial infections does is give people the false sense of security and increase the chances of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains (awesome!).
As much as I can bitch about the over-drugging of Americans, it doesn’t change. People would rather take high blood pressure medications or water pills than lose a few pounds or heat less salt. They’d rather numb themselves with pain-killers as opposed to treating the problem at hand. It’s easy to give children Ritalin vs. actually raising them… much easier.. People pressure their doctors into giving them medication and doctors have succumbed to this pressure by prescribing anything/everything they possibly can to shut up their complaining patients. Give them some antibiotics for a viral infection so that they feel better mentally.. because that good old placebo effect works wonders.
Americans are doped up and medicated more than any other country in the world, by a LOT. We’ve established our dominance on the reliance of medications and because of this, pharmaceutical companies flourish here. People import medications from various border-countries and overseas to save not just a few bucks, but in some cases thousands of dollars. It’s a cyclical process that can only be slowed down by an actual “address the problem, not the symptoms” mentality where doctors and other medical professionals look at the overall problem and how to help fix the problem as opposed to what can make the patient feel good, temporarily. This would ultimately drive down costs of medications since the need would be lessened and overall cause our society to not be so reliant on medicine but instead, rely on physical treatments and diagnostics.