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    « I want a Divorce | Main | From the Heart... »

    Treat the Cause, not the Symptom

    I don't spend an inordinate amount of time in front of the tube, but when I do watch TV it seems like about 2/3 of the commercials I see are for prescription medicines that I should ask my doctor about.  Whether it's sleeplessness, erectile dysfunction, depression, stress, hyperactivity, cardiac trouble, or diabetes, there's a pill out there that will make everyone feel better.


    Try listening to the pharmaceutical commercials about 20 seconds in.  The list of potential side effects for most of the advertised drugs sounds far more frightening than the condition it's intended to treat.  Would I really want to risk engaging in suicidal behavior as I try to quit smoking with my pharmaceutical?  There's got to be a better way to give up smoking...

    From kids to the elderly, our country is being medicated to the gills, but all these pills do is treat the symptoms of a condition.  The cause goes untreated.  I'm gonna call names, which I'm sure is going to endear me to a number of pharmaceutical companies.  To that I say... big effing deal.

    "I Don't Like the Drugs, but the Drugs Like Me" ~M. Manson

    Smoking Cessation

    The Cause - People start smoking for a variety of reasons, among them the desire to fit in, rebellion against authority, and following in the footsteps of adult role models.

    The Drug - Chantix® Anti-smoking drug.  This particular drug has been linked to depression, suicidal thoughts, and violent behavior, according to the legal firm of Davis & Crump.  The drug reduces the attachment of nicotine to acetylcholine receptors in the brain and may also inhibit the release of the pleasure hormone dopamine.  The presence of dopamine is what makes cigarette smoking addictive, and this pharmaceutical may have a direct negative effect on levels of pleasure chemicals in the brain.

    Treating the Root Cause - Parents can prevent their children from picking up the habit by not smoking themselves and by developing a relationship with their child that makes the child feel loved and valued. Most important is actually having a conversation with your younger child to address the topic of smoking and its potential impact on health.

    Smoking is a tough addiction to overcome, but it can be defeated.   For those smokers that want to quit, you can follow in the footsteps of both my in-laws and my own father: quit cold turkey and chew lots and lots of gum.  Exercise will help immeasurably as it helps cleanse the body and restore normal brain function - and it releases pleasure hormones.


    The Cause - stress, fatigue, poor vision, dehydration, illness.

    The Drug - Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Naproxen - These medicines simply mask the symptom by reducing swelling or muting the brain's pain receptors.  The cause of the problem is still there, but it is dulled to the point of being less of an annoyance.

    Treating the Root Cause - For the most part, drink more water and get some exercise.  Exercise reduces stress, increases immune response, and actually combats fatigue (as counterintuitive as that may seem).  For vision-related headaches, a trip to your local vision specialist may be in order.

    Erectile Dysfunction

    The Cause - causes of ED are numerous but are generally divided into psychological and physical causes.  Psychological causes include such issues as anxiety, stress, poor self-image, and depression.  Physical causes can include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, low hormone levels, and high cholesterol.

    The Drug - pick your poison.  Viagra.  Cialis.  Levitra.  Any of these guys are willing to take your money to help you fulfill your basic needs.

    Treating the Root Cause - Look at the list of causes.  They read like a list of basic problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.  While there are causes of ED that would require the use of pharmaceuticals, most people buying these medications would be well served with exercise and a modified diet.


    The Cause - Stress, anxiety, depression, emotional trauma, and health problems among others.  Sound familiar?

    The Drug - Ambien, Lunesta, Silenor, Sonata, etc.  There are enough drugs on the market for insomnia to choke a small elephant.

    Treating the Root Cause - With the possible exception of emotional trauma, most of the causes of sleeplessness can be managed with regular exercise.

    Hopefully a trend is becoming obvious.

    Pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals understand this concept - that those that exercise are far less likely to need their products and services.  Do I believe there is a conspiracy afoot?  Not at all (well, at least not as far as doctors are concerned.  Big pharma is another story entirely).  I do believe, however, that doctors are telling their patients what they want to hear - that "there's a pill for that."

    Pharmaceuticals, by and large, exist to dull the symptoms of our poor lifestyles.  As a nation, we must get out of the collective mindset that drugs exist to help us.  They don't.  They merely mask the body's natural signals, giving the illusion that all is well.

    I cannot sit here and claim that exercise will eliminate the need for pharmaceuticals every time for everyone.  I can say with a degree of certainty that a nation engaging in a regular regimen of exercise will put a severe dent in the need for drugs.  In other words, we have to attack the root cause of the problem - sedentary, inactive lifestyles that are breeding grounds for conditions that big pharma is only too happy to help you treat.


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    Reader Comments (1)

    nice sharing dear

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