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Drugging Ourselves to Death?

There is a growing concern about the state of dependency on medicine in much of the developed world. Some conjecture that you can't take one medication without the need for three others to combat the side effects of the first medicine. Medication commercials tend to bear this out. In some cases a commercial may spend as much time telling you about the side effects as they do about the benefits of the pill they are selling. Some medications have been recalled because of unacceptable side effects and even death in the most severe cases. In some circles it is believed that there has become an increased psychological dependence on prescribed drugs. Others contend medical professionals are recipients of funds if they prescribe certain medications in favor of others. While this may be simple speculation the net effect of life in the 21st century is that most Americans have a laundry list of prescription dugs they feel compelled to take. They may have one to lower cholesterol and another to combat high blood pressure. Some might take medication for their heart while others take medication for joint pain. Is it that we really need this medication or that we are simply conditioned to medicate at a lower threshold of pain? Physicians and other health care professionals are already suggesting that children especially are over medicated in many different circumstances. For instance it is now suggested that children in certain age groups refrain from taking cold medicine and the use of antibiotics is now believed to be over-prescribed and becoming less effective as young bodies grow resistant to the benefits of the drug. However, there are those that contend the use of multiple prescriptions results in improved quality of life. For instance if an individual has arthritis and a medication can be taken to alleviate the pain and inflammation then the quality of life for that individual would be improved. The same line of thinking is applied to numerous other ailments that seem to be problematic among many adults. Some advise we are slowly medicating ourselves to death. Some who suggest this would be nutritionists and naturalists who would argue that it is often our diets and lack of exercise that are the general culprits in the seemingly endless need for prescribed medications. It is believed that if we would alter the foods that we eat and combat a sedentary lifestyle we would be less dependent on drugs while experiencing an improved quality of life. How much does our view of health insurance affect the way we manage meds? Some reports tend to support the idea that when an individual has a low co-pay on medication it becomes much easier to accept prescribed medications than the suggestion of any alteration in diet or personal activity. On the other hand there are those who would also say that if we try to go through life avoiding medical treatment through medicine we are taking unnecessary risks while increasing the chances of a debilitating illness. The common thread in this debate is that we only have one life to live. The real question then is how do we live life to the fullest and how do we maintain the highest quality of life possible? Thomas Phelps