“A patient cured is a customer lost,” as they say.
Cut through the theory, complicated talking points, and clever marketing, and it becomes clear that the American healthcare system operates in exactly this fashion.
Notice half of the population is overweight, if not obese, and nearly everyone is suffering from some form of chronic illness. Still, we don’t bat an eye. It takes a moment to realize what we’ve come to accept as normal is merely the result of a slow desensitization to our own disease and dysfunction.
It hasn’t always been this way. Over the past few generations, with the advent of industrialized medicine and the growth of large pharmaceutical companies, the average person’s health has actually declined from what our ancestors would have considered acceptable. And that’s because medicine is no longer a service. It’s a business.
Modern Medicine Is a Symptom-Management Business
Modern medicine itself revolves around managing symptoms. The influences of powerful pharmaceutical interests have infiltrated medical schools, textbooks, and the hospitals themselves. Within this paradigm, cures don’t really exist; they’re not spoken of or expected. Instead, band-aids, endless prescriptions, and symptom management consume the practice while patients remain indefinitely sick.
The influence of powerful pharmaceutical interests has infiltrated medical schools, textbooks, and hospitals.
Look at the numbers and decide for yourself. About one in two Americans, 46% of our population, have used one or more prescriptions in the past 30 days. On top of that, more than 40% of older Americans regularly take five or more prescription drugs, with 20% taking more than 10. Consider as well, severe reactions to medications increase anywhere between 7 to 10% with each additional drug added. A pill for every ill and another pill for the side-effects of that pill, too.
Growing up in America’s healthcare system myself, I believe our upbringing significantly alters our perceptions about our own health; we simply assume we should be dependent on medications to fix our health issues instead of searching for the root cause of the disease.
Medication Is for Making Money
America is one of two countries that allows prescription drug advertisements. You know the commercials, a smiling woman caring for her family as a narrator spews off potential side-effects of the advertised medication such as headache, dizziness, or even death. These commercials have become normalized to the point that Americans don’t find it strange when they hear, ‘Talk to your doctor about prescribing you this medicine.” Shouldn’t it be doctors recommending medicine to their patients? Why am I being prodded to ask for a medication from an impersonal commercial?
Shouldn’t it be doctors recommending medicine to their patients?
It’s ironic we’re a nation that declared a “war on drugs,” and yet we run ad after ad encouraging people to try more pharmaceuticals. That’s what pharmaceuticals are, after all. Drugs.
America’s Dependence on Prescription Drugs
In the United States, we start off young on the pharmaceutical train. According to the CDC, there were 6.1 million children diagnosed with ADHD. Of these children, 62% were taking ADHD medication. These extremely high percentages remain regardless of the fact that multiple studies show ADHD being mitigated or even cured through natural remedies such as nutrition and regular exercise.
Acne is another example. It impacts over 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 in our country. The birth control pill is the number one prescribed medication for women dealing with acne. In fact, over 60% of women who are on the birth control pill take it for non-contraceptive reasons such as a painful period or acne. But both of these symptoms can be cured through natural remedies. As a young woman who suffered from acne, it wasn’t until I went off the birth control pill that I had to address the root causes of my acne.
One in six Americans takes a form of psychiatric or antipsychotic drug.
Perhaps the most disturbing is that one in six Americans takes a form of psychiatric or antipsychotic drug. These drugs are notorious for their severe side-effects, sometimes worsening the issue altogether. We’re supposed to believe that over 16% of our population has mental health issues so severe that they require medication, and that there are no cures besides medication for those suffering?
Exercise has been proven an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, yet over 80% of Americans don’t get enough exercise. Elimination diets have also been proven to significantly aid in improving mental health. Your brain can be healed by healing your gut. Don’t believe me? Food allergies or intolerances have been linked to mood disorders, acne, ADHD, headaches, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and gastrointestinal problems. Your gut is your second brain. The health of your gut strongly influences your mood. Studies show that people with healthy guts are less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression.
The Health Care System Needs To Be Reformed
I’m not here to discredit doctors, but the health care system needs to be transformed. Doctors aren’t incentivized to cure their patients; they’re incentivized to keep prescribing more medications. They’re not incentivized to find root causes or to use natural alternatives. This has created a culture of pill-poppers.
Doctors aren’t incentivized to cure their patients; they’re incentivized to prescribe more medications.
Doctors should be having conversations with patients before deciding to prescribe pills to fix their health issues: How many hours of exercise are you getting a day? How many hours are you spending outside in the sun? What does your diet look like? How many hours of sleep are you getting each night? How much water are you drinking? How much alcohol do you consume on a weekly basis?
The vast majorities of Americans overeat and lead unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles. We don’t address these as factors of our physical or mental health. We go to our common remedy for all ailment: medication. We go to the doctor so they can dispense us pills and ignore the core issues behind our crumbling health. Shouldn’t doctors try natural alternatives with their patients before prescribing them medications? Instead, our system holds prescription drugs as the end-all, be-all fix for our health issues.