To medicate or not to medicate, that is the question

July 26, 2022

Should you medicate or should you not? That is the question. It’s one some people ask, and others don’t.

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? When something’s wrong, take a pill and poof! just like that, you’re better.

Well, not so fast.

Because it’s not a get out of jail free card. Because when you ingest anything, there are side effects.

About options

It’s true that sometimes we MUST take medication. Heart pills. Diabetes meds. Sometimes you can’t diet your way out of high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

But the side effects must always be weighed.

The many television ads aimed at consumers I see for heavy-duty drugs is distressing. I’ve never, ever, asked my doctor for particular drug and never will. Why would I? If I need a particular medication, my doctor will recommend it and discuss it with me. I am not qualified to suggest a drug to her.

And neither is anyone.

Did you know that until 1984, advertising prescription drugs to consumers was forbidden. That’s right.

About the money

I don’t think it’s an accident that drug sales for anti-depressants have increased significantly after ads flooded the market–and that there are more and more drugs to treat depression.

Is there really more depression than before? Or was there always this much depression that wasn’t treated? I wonder.

A large percentage of people I know take anti-depressants. Some of them have had serious side effects. One long-term user developed tardive dyskinesia–involuntary movements of the body. And the only drug that treats THAT didn’t work. So it is now a permanent condition they are learning to live with.  Life as they knew it is over. They have a new normal.

You wouldn’t want that.

I know others who would rather take a drug than lose weight or diet their condition into remission. Which I find hard to understand.

The decision to medicate or not is serious but I’m not sure people really give it due consideration. After all, their doctor prescribed it.

And the perks

Of course, some doctors do get rewarded by Big Pharma for prescribing certain drugs. Which could weigh into this spike in prescription anti-depressants.

I am not advocating that people not medicate. Not at all. I am pro-vaccination. And pro-medication when needed. But I don’t think we should be so quick to take a pill to treat something if we haven’t investigated other, less invasive ways to manage a condition. If we don’t realize the consequences of taking some drugs.

My mother thought she was a doctor. She was actually a doctor’s wife, but we had a closet full of sample antibiotics that she doled out any time a loved one had the sniffles. I believe that she, singlehandedly, could have been responsible for the strains of antibiotic-resistant infection we see today from overuse of antibiotics.

It’s obvious why she did that. Her older sister died at the age of 12 before antibiotics were invented. So when they came about, they were considered miraculous. The difference between a virus (not treatable by antibiotics) and an infection (possible treatable that way) was not widely known. So if you were sick, she was glad to give you free meds. It was out of kindness.

Misplaced kindness.

In that same way, we need to understand that every drug we take could have possible long term effects, and ask ourselves–and our physician– if there is another way to manage the situation.

To be sure, sometimes drugs are needed. But these days many people are pretty quick to go there without due consideration.

17 comments on “To medicate or not to medicate, that is the question
  1. These days, when it comes to medical care of all kinds, we need to be our own advocates. We can no longer assume any recommendations are made in good faith, or are the right thing for us.

  2. Bobi says:

    When they start listing the side effects on pharmaceutical commercials, I cringe. I, too, have never asked nor will I, for a specific medication. I especially enjoy(?) when they mention death could result from the medication and they seriously think someone would ask their doctor for something that could kill them just to kill toenail fungus or a skin condition?

  3. Diane says:

    I hate taking pills! It’s right up there with shopping. Ugh.
    I have two that I need to take because there is no other way. Sigh. I’m all for finding holistic approaches. Like you, though, I am a real believer in vaccinations! I was first in line as soon as the Covid vaccines became available in my age bracket!
    My kids were dosed with echinacea and Vitamin A every time they got a sniffle. I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought an antibiotic.
    Having said that, several of my kids take anti-depressants. Still not sure how I feel about that…
    Excellent article, Carol!

  4. Laurie Stone says:

    I’m also on the fence about many medications. I think twice before taking an ibuprofen. Of course, if there’s no other alternative, and for my youngest son, medication has been a lifesaver.

  5. I agree while I do take medication for depression there are other medication side effects that I’ve been dealing with. Not being to be outdoors has been rough but hopefully getting rid of the toxic meds will be the change I need. Other than that I feel wonderful.

  6. Alana says:

    I am allergic to several classes of medication. I always have great respect for any doctor who weighs side effects vs. benefit and discusses their reasoning with me. This has happened with me more than once. Of course, finding that doctor may not be easy.

  7. Rachel Villaron says:

    I agree that pharmaceutical companies have pushed their drugs on the population and find it ridiculous they are allowed to advertise on TV, BUT as a person who takes medication for anxiety, greatly enhanced by the epidemic, made me decide to take it because I was stuck. I could not do the things I really needed to feel better if I didn’t even have the motivation/energy to do them. Couldn’t get myself outside to take a walk and be in nature, couldn’t take my vitamins/supplements because I had a horrible memory. Couldn’t be in the moment because my mind was racing with worry. I am in a much better place now and hopefully someday soon I can come off meds but I really needed it to just get started and I am in a much better place.

  8. Jennifer says:

    I take the necessities like vaccines and BP medicine but seek out alternatives like Turmeric for pain. Of course, if I overdo it then there’s always ibuprofen but Turmeric is woven into my daily course of meds and helps to take the edge off my arthritis pain.

  9. I’ve been lucky not to have to take meds so far, and I avoid taking anything unless I absolutely need it, even Tylenol, allergy pills, or supplements. My roommate, on the other hand, will take pain pills like candy. Her doctors are trying to wean her off, but now she is on anti-anxiety meds because she can’t sleep.

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