How psychologically dependent are we as a people when it comes to prescription drugs? Several years ago, a pharmacist friend expressed his observation after many years of filling prescriptions. It was and is his conviction we are psychologically Rx dependent.
We don’t need to take a survey to test his premise. We only need to ask ourselves and consider our own thoughts on the matter. Imagine this scenario:
- We are sick or just not feeling 100%
- We make an appointment with our doctor
- We get dressed and go to the doctor
- We arrive and pay a copay
- We wait 45 minutes to an hour in the waiting room
- They finally call us back
- The nurse weighs us and takes our vitals
- She asks us why we are there
- She jots down a few notes and leaves the room promising “The doctor will see you in a few minutes.”
- We wait for another period of time (maybe as much as 30 minutes)
- The doctor comes in, examines us, and in a few minutes tells us what we need to do to feel better
The premise of my pharmacist friend is – if we leave the doctor’s office without a prescription in hand, we feel like we have wasted our time and our money. If the doctor prescribes weight loss, multivitamins, exercise, and a better eating plan, what is our psychological response. “I did not need to go to the doctor to hear all that. I already knew that. I did not need to pay a copay for a doctor to tell me to eat better, lose weight, and take care of myself.”
The problem: We want a prescription. We want the doctor to give us that little slip of paper we cannot read, so we can take it to a pharmacist we may not know, and take a drug with possible side effects, with the confidence that drug will make us better. Do we ever influence the doctor to give us a medication? Do we ever ask him or her “What can I take for this?” Only you can answer these questions.
If this is not you, great! However, in my conversations with people, it seems most people believe we are over-medicated as a nation. How are all these chemicals interacting with each other inside our bodies? Does over-medication have an impact on our brain or other parts of our body? Could this have anything to do with the steady increase in the numbers of people developing Alzheimer’s disease? Are we psychologically dependent on prescription drugs? These are important questions.
Disclaimer: Allow me to close by saying, those of you who know me well know how I appreciate, love, and pray for the medical community; these professionals who have dedicated their lives to care for our physical bodies. I am not talking about medications our bodies need because of surgery, physical trauma, or a breakdown in the system somewhere. I am talking about us; our psychological dependence on prescription drugs. Could this be the leading cause of our being over medicated as a nation?
Have great day!