I’ve written before about how problematic the drug industry is in the US, and that I prefer to take medication as a last resort in the past. It’s a topic I keep meaning to write more thoroughly about, but haven’t actually tackled yet.
When I first came up with the idea to write an entry, I didn’t realize just how complicated the topic would be, so I think I’ll turn it into a series. That way, I’ll give myself some more time to actually do some more research, and hopefully get a clearer understanding of what really goes on behind the scenes.
There are conditions out there that call for long term or as needed medication, of course.
I personally carry a rescue inhaler for asthma attacks, though I don’t like taking it, and I know many folks who have taken psychiatric medication much to their benefit. I also have friends who have survived things like cancer, organ transplants and quite a few other medical issues which wouldn’t have been survivable without their medication.
There absolutely is a place for it in our world.
The thing is, it can also be relied upon too heavily, often to the exclusion of all other options.
Psychiatric meds, like the ones prescribed to children with ADHD and folks with emotional/mental disorders, are especially worrying to me. Many of the disorders within that realm aren’t well understood, can be easily misdiagnosed, and medications are usually prescribed based off of interviews, instead of physical evidence of a chemical imbalance.
I understand that in times of crisis, patients and families need something to ease the suffering. When my husband was having issues severe enough to put him on disability, we put a huge amount of trust and hope in the various medical professionals he went to.
When a medication was prescribed, he tried it. I think he went through about four or five different drugs until he found a combination that helped him calm down enough to function normally. While that may be seen as normal in that realm of therapy, I now realize that those four to five drugs he was given were all on the market for under ten years. They may have undergone the FDA approval process, but that doesn’t mean their effects were fully understood yet.
I remember lying in bed next to him, one night. We were both awake, staring at the ceiling. I wasn’t handling the stress well, and he was feeling sick. Then, we noticed the bed shaking. With each beat of his heart, the bed shook. Turns out the medication he was taking then was linked to cardiac problems. Fortunately, he was taken off of it before permanent damage was done.
Another made him suicidal, others made his teeth hurt, and there were many other side effects that I’d rather not list.
Finally, he was put on a combination of lithium and lamictal. Those medications, one of which is one of the oldest on the market, the other of which is widely thought to be one of the best treatments for his diagnosis, were what brought him back to where he was before his troubles started. That steadiness gave him the chance to develop the coping skills he needed to live his life.
It would be one thing if his experiences were unique, but they’re not. Enough people have suffered needlessly to have prompted new laws to be put on the books, special organizations to be put into place for when injuries happen and a huge number of lawsuits to be pursued.
We all need to assume responsibility for our health, and part of that is to hold the medical industry accountable for the safety of its consumers – us.
That’s why I’ll be doing more research into this topic and sharing what I learn. My sources will all be publicly available, since I’m far from an insider, and I’ll compile a list of resources used at the end of each entry.