The mismanagement of individuals using pharmaceutical therapy

After a recent new patient intake I continue to be amazed at the amount of mismanagement that is going on in our current healthcare environment. There seems to be this complete disregard to the concept of “cause and effect.” The resources and advice that comes from the majority of doctors and health care providers is centered exclusively around treating symptoms, without any regard to the long-term consequences of these decisions. It is apparently difficult for patients to put the pieces of the puzzle together when they are advised to take drug-based therapies, while establishing a proper understanding of the true side effects of long-term prescription medication use. When people hear the term “side effect,” they usually think of some type of acute response to the medication they are taking, such a rash, hives, body pain, etc… In truth, for EVERY prescription medication (and yes, this includes hormones) that is taken, there is a side effect. The side effects that I care mostly about are not the ones associated with an acute immune reaction to the medication (e.g. hives, rash, body pain, etc…). They are the long term effects of physiologic suppression. These effects are much less studied, and not entirely apparent to both the doctor and the patient. So, what are these side-effects that I am talking about? They are cancer, heart disease, fibromyalgia, hypothyroid, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and in truth it is all chronic illness. When you decide to take long-term pharmaceutical medications (also, short-term prescription medications such as antibiotics, steroids, etc), you can expect to deal with the “side effect” of chronic illness down the road.

I really want to point out that this not all the doctor’s fault. Doctors by nature care for their patients and only want what is best for them, but there has to be a better understanding of the toolkit that is being used! All medicines, whether natural or synthetic, are tools. These tools buy an individual time to remove the obstacles that are contributing to their current health concerns. There is an old expression that goes, “if you use a tool for too long, it will become a crutch.” I feel that there is an enabling environment going on which allows people to continue to do that same thing while they perceive that things will change. Medications do not change anything long-term, but the perception is that they do.
So how did we get to this point, where we are creating bigger problems with the tools that are supposed to be solving them? Well, there is a whole history with regard to our dependency on pharmaceutical medications; which I will not get into here, but it is out there if you choose to look. What I would like to discuss is an education model to help you understand why things are happening and what YOU can do to change it.

When there are symptoms occurring within an individual’s health, it is the body’s attempt to manage adversity, and that is it. Each individual has a genetic code. When the environment that the genetic code “runs” in becomes over-burdened, the genetics will beginning expressing themselves in ways which are unique to the patient. This concept is called epi-genectics. When the genetics begin to express themselves, it can come in the form of something as simple and benign as a rash. And what do we typically do then to the rash? We put a steroid cream on it to suppress it back into the body. Now the adversity that was being managed by the rash has to be managed in a more inappropriate way, such as a headache. Then you take an over-the-counter medication to treat the headache, which suppresses that reaction. After a while, the suppression of physiology will cause the body to create a bigger state of reaction to manage the adversity by creating a reaction such as hypo(low)thyroid, for which thyroid hormone is prescribed. Then, for example, depression occurs because the patient is so overloaded that they can not manage the stress in their life. Then they get prescribed an antidepressant. It just becomes a vicious cycle that continues to move the patient further and further away from a place of healing!

Things have become way too complicated in healthcare. The power has moved away from the patient and into the hands of the doctor (and the drug companies). People are confused as to why they are sick, and why they are not getting better. The mismanagement of symptoms only creates an environment where the patient loses the feedback that they need to make the necessary changes in their life. And so what is the other option??? DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Stop treating your symptoms. Be OK with the feedback that you get from your body and mind, even if it is painful. Start nourishing yourself appropriately. Improve elimination and detoxification. Change your belief system to one that brings peace and compassion into your life and not fear and anxiety. Be OK taking the time, energy, and resources to make this happen because you are worth it.


Naturopathic physician who is educating people about their health in order to empower them to practice self care.