Who is to blame for pill-popping America

Pill-popping America

Often people complain of doctors pushing pills on patients, accusing the doctors of taking kickbacks from the drug companies. When in reality it’s the doctors that have tailored their treatments to what the majority of patients are willing to do. A doctor could refer a patient to a nutritionist, therapist, pain clinic, and also write a prescription, but how much time, effort and money is the patient willing to commit to? Each appointment is time off of work, possibly requiring the cost of hiring a childcare provider, plus the co-pay if insurance even covers the visit. Who is willing to jump through all of those hoops?

As a society, Americans have largely adopted a lifestyle of busyness. People run from here to there crossing items off their long to-do lists. They taxi their children around, work late, hit the gym early, join committees, clean the house, do the laundry, wash the dishes, shop, take the kids to the doctor/dentist/optometrist appointments. The abundance of duties leaves little to no room for downtime or taking it easy. There is no time for healing, multiple appointments, and investing time into research to properly advocate for yourself.

The pill is quick, it is simple, and it does work. Sometimes the pill comes with side effects, but no need to worry because a second pill will help to alleviate that problem. Another side effect, still another pill to treat that. Soon a medicine cabinet of various pills stares back at the patient.

Other, more time consuming, treatments are available. Some more scientifically studied than others. Nutrition, for example, is a wonderful place to start looking when your body begins to send warning signs that something may be askew. The food and beverage you consume are fuel for your body. If diesel were put in a gasoline engine, what happens? Nothing good. The same is true for humans.

Even when the ailment is directly related to diet and exercise, such as obesity, patients consider surgery or diet pills. Regular exercise and incorporating more vegetables into their daily diet are considered as a last resort if considered at all. The patient serves as the customer in this transaction. Customers drive the business. If the customer wants pills and surgery, the doctors will fill the market to supply the demand.

Why aren’t more patients opting for a healthier diet? Lack of time, the inconvenience of planning and ease of access to fast food. Planning meals requires forethought, collecting needed ingredients from the store, putting them away once home, and eventually preparing the meal. Or all those steps can be skipped by picking up a burger at the closest drive through. Dinner is done in 10 minutes or less.

Has America become a nation of lazy, passive consumers? Quite the opposite is true. Daily schedules have become so full that a new set of priorities were adopted. Sitting around the dinner table as a family discussing the day while enjoying a home cooked meal is a now luxury. More common are pizza delivery orders eaten in front of the television. It is not the doctors that have failed, but it is rather the shift in priorities that is to blame.

We have a choice to make, priorities to align. Will you choose intentional nutrition or easy convenience in this season of your life?


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