I have long cautioned readers to avoid the pharmaceutical trap when battling chronic pain and illness. After all, long-term use of medication can be a very slippery slope. Once on pills, it is difficult to get off. Worse yet, the drug effects on mind and body can be dire, often exceeding the toll taken by the pain or illness itself.
Many people absolutely require medications in order to survive and maintain their health. These people are not the subject of this essay. Instead, this topical editorial addresses people who do not absolutely need pharmaceutical products to survive, yet continue taking them, year over year, until something terrible happens to their health.
In my decades of work in patient advocacy, I have often spoken out publicly about the dangers of prescription and even OTC drugs, particularly when used by health-compromised people for an extended duration. Much of my work has helped facilitate changes to our present drug-crazed culture, with doctors paying more attention now than ever before to the effects of pharmacy products on the lives of their patients.
However, times have not changed nearly enough and more people than ever before take a multitude of drugs on a daily basis. In fact, the pharmaceutical industry has never been more successful than it is today. When I meet a client who is not taking some form of drug, I am shocked and trust me, this has only happened in about one half of one percent (0.5%) of my client base in the last 8 years time.
Everyone needs medications from time to time. We get sick and need antibiotics. We get a terrible headache and take some analgesic pills. We get an upset gastrointestinal tract and require some soothing medicine. These uses are fine, as long as the substances are used responsibly, correctly and for limited duration.
However, so many people are on drugs for a wide range of conditions, including extremely minor health issues that can often be managed effectually without any pharmaceutical intervention at all. Many people take drugs to manage the effects of other drugs, combining into a cocktail of chemistry that is all very foreign for our bodies.
When it comes to most of my clients, the drugs taken are strong and designed to relieve intractable pain. These substances feature horrific side effects and hold tremendous risk for health complications. Patients require relief and take these pills because they are not given other options. Ironically, one of the main goals expressed to me by at least 65% of my client base is the reduction in the need for pain medication in their lives. It pains me when I talk to these clients about their past therapy choices and most say they did not even know that other pain management options existed. They were simply given prescription scripts by their doctors, told to fill them, take them and call for a follow-up appointment in 3 months time. This is not medical care. This is a brush-off: A very profitable brush-off.
It shocks me that so many people are so passive when it comes to their health and wellness. Changing this passivity is one of the main goals that many people initiate and embrace as part of their pain coaching program.
Now, let’s take a break for a moment and let me remind readers that I am a coach. It is not my job, or my place, to make judgments on my clients or to make decisions for them. However, it is my job to be certain that they are on the right path, so I make sure that each client receives a proper education in advocating for themselves in the medical arena. When a client approaches me about learning less damaging ways to manage pain, I am thrilled and gladly provide them with lots of ideas for independent research. However, if people are happy with drug therapies and fully understand and accept the risks, then that works fine for me, as well.
My intent with this essay is not to tell people not to take drugs for pain. I know all too well the horror of chronic pain and its multitude of sufferings. I live it each and every day and have done so for decades already. I choose not to take drugs for my pain, but I understand that it is a personal decision which will not be embraced by all. I am not trying to push any holistic, alternative agenda. I am just trying to ensure that my clients are informed that they have options and help them to discover these options, if and when they express an interest in such a path towards less dependency on pharmaceutical interventions.
Sometimes, all it takes is the mere mention that a client can still feel better without drugs in order to get them well underway on a healthier life. All these people need is a spark; an idea; a paradigm shift that they can not only survive, but also prosper without the awful effects and consequences of drug therapies.
In summary, I stress that I am not condemning drugs or their use by anyone who is legally provided these substances by their doctor. I am slightly condemning many doctors who do not take the time to adequately explain the very real risks of these substances to their patients, particularly when used in combinations, over time. I am damning those doctors who could care less and simply prescribe dangerous pills for the sake of profit and financial incentives, despite abundant knowledge of the hazards associated with these little doses of death.
If you are seeking constructive ways to feel better, despite pain or illness, and want to reduce your need for pharmaceutical pain management, I will surely do everything possible to help you to fulfill this self-initiated goal during our coaching work together. In fact, the journey will please me as much as it will you.