As I psychologist I've always been skeptical about the sheer amount of pills which are available to people when there are alternative treatments which work just as well (and often are more effective).
Way back in my childhood my pet Labrador used to have acupuncture for her arthritis, not Tramadol as is the case most often now. She would literally have to be carried into the car and into the acupuncturist's office then once her treatment was over she would bounce out and be fine for about 3 months.
OK, yes she was a dog - but still, why would we treat dogs better than ourselves?
How many elderly people struggling with arthritis are given the phone number of a local acupuncturist? In my guess hardly any - even if it is a treatment approved by the NHS.
There was a huge story in the news at the end of August this year about how more people die from chemotherapy than cancer ...
I mean seriously - we give people fighting cancer a drug which causes cancer... Surely this should have been picked up on before now?
Don't even get me started on the number of people who were prescribed antidepressants last year... (roughly 60 million pills were given out in 2015). Indicating that many people are given anti-depressants against the NHS guidelines e.g., not as a frontline treatment.
This makes me so sad - especially as there are so many more effective treatments out there for the majority of people. Ones which don't alter the way in which your brain functions without your say so.
One person, I know who was on antidepressants described them as taking away all their feelings. They could watch some awful tragedy on the TV (e.g., all the stuff that's going on in Syria...) and not get emotional. There was no emotion in there. Not for being happy, and not for being sad.
Their treatment lasted 4 years with no improvement.
They received help from another source, within 6 weeks came completely off the medication, and is now free from depression (and enjoying watching films again because they're able to express emotion!)
So what is going wrong?
Why are we pumping people full of dangerous amounts of medication which just doesn't work?
Well for one thing - there often isn't an alternative in the local area.
If there is then they tend to have huge waiting lists.
But for some reason, people don't go on these waiting lists while taking the antidepressants. They're just given them and thrown out the door.
I treated a lovely young lady a while back and ended up having an argument with her GP who told her it was OK to drink alcohol while taking them even after she ended up in A&E trying to take her own life because she was piddled out of her head and high on antidepressants. Thankfully, she stopped drinking, carried on with therapy, came off the medication and is enjoying a happy depression free life.
While I know many GP's are fantastic and do offer sound advice and support and while I acknowledge the job of a GP is extremely difficult - they have to know about hundreds of different physical and mental health problems, which I personally think is just crazy. Please at least understand the basics of medical interactions - especially when it comes to mental health medication.
Realistically, anyone struggling with a mental health difficulty should be told in no uncertain terms to stay away from alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.
GP's should tell them to do a months detox, then come back and see if they still have the difficulties they were describing & start from there.
But these are just the drugs we know about.
The ones that have been on the market for a while.
The ones which have been tested on real live humans whether they realised it or not.
I recently found out the pain medication I was prescribed for a long time for a chronic bad back (I have a twisted spine and pelvis), was actually de-liceneced in the UK 11 years previously and was never licenced for under 18's (I was 14 when first prescribed these pills). Even when I went back to the GP and said that they made me hallucinate and I wasn't sure whether they were actually working - I was instructed to just keep going nothing else will work. So I made a choice to do what I was told and accept every 6 months I would be bedridden with pain & crazy hallucinations until my body managed to fix itself and the pain returned to a dull ache.
Anyway, I digress back to the ones which are brand spanking new and sold as 'wonder-drugs'. Psychology Today (2016) uses the example of the oral contraceptive pill which is now into its 4th generation of remodelling and up-marketing.
This is what's shocking:
"You might think the newer pills would be safer than the older ones. You would be wrong. Independent researchers have repeatedly published studies showing that the newer 3rd and 4th generation contraceptive pills have an estimated risk of venous thromboembolism that is almost two times higher than that of standard second generation pills."
New contraceptive pills cost the NHS more than the old ones, they're not as effective and women are more likely to die from taking them...
And that's 'just' contraception.
Now, what's saddening is the same can be said for many medications on the market and the second reason why pills come first - money.
The pharmaceutical industry is about making money plain and simple.
It has become so blatant that even Jeremy Hunt noticed and has asked for an investigation into why more than 50 NHS medication increased in price by 12,500%.
That's not a small jump.
No wonder our NHS is going bankrupt.
I've been pill free for the last 12 months and have never felt better.
Don't get me wrong I'm not super human now I still get aches and pains, colds and all the other general issues I just choose not to use ineffective medication which is more than likely going to cause me a wealth of harm. I instead turn to complementary therapies. A round of Reiki, an EFT session here or there and daily use of essential oils has done what many different extremely powerful pain killers could not.
If you're open to supporting yourself without jumping into a prescription bottle then give me a shout. Have a great Tuesday and if you do have a bottle of pills in your bag at the very least - check the side effects... Catch you soon Katie.