A Different Way

to look at Life, Health, Business and Politics

Self-medicating

Posted by Marietta chiropractor on June 5, 2007

I thought about titling this article “Aleve” because that was the reason I’m writing today.  But, I decided the problem of people self-medicating themselves with what they think are harmless over-the-counter drugs is much more dangerous than one specific dangerous drug.

My friend Jerry, whom I’ve known now for 40 years, called me recently to explain why he had been out of touch for a while.  It seems that Jerry had been in the hospital recovering from an apparent reaction to the OTC painkiller Aleve.  He did what the average American does and picked up a bottle of the painkiller at his local drugstore.  After taking recommended doses for about a week, Jerry began to have a pretty serious nosebleed.  When the bleeding didn’t stop, he headed to the Emergency Room.  The bleeding stopped ONLY after he lost FOUR units of blood, a significant loss under any circumstance.  A little more and he could have died.  It’s taken several weeks, but he’s just now starting to regain strength.

Over the last few years, I’ve steered away from talking about symptoms and the risks associated with medicating away symptoms.  Mine is a wellness practice and most of my clients come to me because they either want to get and stay healthy or they want to opt out of the “old way” of waiting until something’s broke to try to fix it or mask its symptoms with drugs.  But, when you see a friend critically injured or hear of someone killed by what is purported to be a harmless drug, it’s hard NOT to speak out.

Just recently, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended stronger warnings on both prescription and over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, more commonly referred to as NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.  BUT, how many people EVER read the label warnings of over-the-counter drugs?  My guess is a precious few.

Obviously, we live in a drug culture in America.  We seek relief and comfort from a bottle.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to consider a new way of thinking.  One of the things I try to get folks to do is to realize that they were designed to be healthy and that design did not include a shortage of drugs or a surplus of defective or unnecessary parts.  Once we realize that health is part of the design and that symptoms are our friend and are NOT to be ignored, we can start to approach health matters a little more rationally.  Another, thing that we work on in my office is helping people become responsible for their own health and not relying so much on a doctor or drug manufacturer to make important health decisions for them.

If I could convince you to change one thing as a result of reading this article, it would be to learn more about your own body, how it works and how specific drugs are supposed to work and the risks (side effects) they carry.  When you work to build health instead of simply avoiding disease, your health and your life will take on a whole new meaning.

If you know someone that routinely takes NSAIDs (or any pain medication) please forward this article to them.  Encourage them to explore other options for dealing with their symptoms.

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