Treating Symptoms, Not Illness – American Medicine In Peril

Whether it’s the opioid epidemic or the issues surrounding mental health in the U.S., it’s difficult to deny that doctors are often in the position of prescribing drugs to treat one symptom, while causing a whole new one.

What’s often not being addressed through medicating is the underlying cause of what’s bringing people to their doctors in the first place, and it’s a battle modern medicine is in danger of losing.

While it’s not always simple to explain why someone is deeply unhappy, there’s a pill for it. It’s easier — and more lucrative — to prolong a doctor-patient relationship than to fix the real problem once and for all. Too often, doctors and medications are like mechanics who miraculously fix one problem with your car, while making sure a new one lies just down the road.

In many communities, one company may hold a virtual monopoly on treating substance abuse issues with one hand, while dispensing addictive pharmaceuticals for mental health issues with the other. Seems like a conflict of interest, doesn’t it?

Let’s take a closer look at the manner in which patients are being treated, or not treated, for mental illness, the lack of more appropriate care for their conditions, and how pharmaceutical corporations seem to have made it this way.

Record Numbers of College Students Are Seeking Treatment for Depression and Anxiety – But Schools Can’t Keep Up

Record Numbers of College Students Are Seeking Treatment for Depression and Anxiety

Photo by Eva O’Leary

Across the nation, institutions of higher education are finding themselves overwhelmed and underprepared for the staggering number of young adults suffering from anxiety and depression.

Though the long-gone Gary Coopers of the world would simply bear their burdens privately, real help is available to treat these conditions. But why is that treatment so hard to get? While enrollment rates have slowed, the number of students seeking care for mental illness has risen sharply.

[See how colleges and students are trying to face the challenge of a higher demand for counseling with fewer available resources to meet it.]

The Mystery of the Terrifying Xanax Resurgence in America

Xanax Resurgence in America

Illustrated by Lia Kantrowitz

While America’s collective eyes have opened to the issue of opioid overdoses, an even greater number of benzodiazepine deaths have been staying under the radar.

These drugs, like Xanax, are prescribed to treat anxiety and other panic disorders. But it turns out many “benzo” users are making the mistake of recreationally combining the medication with things like alcohol or opioids.

Although doctors now face scrutiny for their role in the opioid problem, benzos are proving even more deadly.

[Read how benzodiazepines grew in medicinal popularity as that of barbiturates waned, and how they still leave the underlying problem dangerously untreated.]

ACE’s Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Message from Dr. Robert Anda and Oprah Winfrey

ACE's Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Message from Dr. Robert Anda and Oprah WinfreyPhoto by Paras Griffin

In many cases, the help we seek as adults is rooted in chronic problems, like neglect or abuse, endured during childhood. Such prolonged situations can overwork one’s stress-response system, and result in developmental and physical health problems as we mature.

[Read more about how traumatic childhood experiences can lead to a lifetime of despair, and the emerging techniques to combat this.]

How Advertising Shaped the First Opioid Epidemic

How Advertising Shaped the First Opioid Epidemic

Photo from Public Domain Pictures

Sure, we all know about how opioids have gotten out of hand in the 21st Century. But did you know this isn’t its first rodeo? In the 1800s, doctors began dispensing things like morphine and heroin for all manner of ailments, leading to America’s first brush with widespread opioid addiction.

[Learn how “patent medicine” misled a nation into becoming full-blown addicts, and how the practice is still alive and well today.]

I’m Withdrawing From Antidepressants After Nearly 20 Years. Who Will I Find on the Other Side?

Withdrawing From Antidepressants

Photo by RonnyK

Those suffering from disorders related to anxiety or depression have likely been prescribed a long list of medications over the years, and not one of them may seem to fix the problem.

Sometimes, when nothing seems to be working, turning one’s back on medication may become more appealing than the side-effect rut the drugs have caused.

[Learn how one long-time depression-sufferer decided to start weaning herself off of meds.]

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