Ditching the Drugs??

pills This is possibly going to be a bit controversial for some- but I like a good healthy debate!!!

Are we too drug dependant? Personally I would say a big fat whopping YES! But I also do think there is a real time and place for medication but I do think it is handed out a bit too willy-nilly and people assume that their little pill will cure all. I know many people who will head off to the doctors at the first sign of a sniff or cough or sore throat and I would say that most of those bugs are viral and therefore your antibiotics will do nothing. Your body is pretty well equipped at fighting off bugs so rest, plenty of fluids, sleep and maybe a good vitamin and you will most probably recover yourself without taxing your already tired body further by making it process drugs!

When we take a case history we always go through what medications people are on. And especially once you reach about 60 it seems that list is a long as your arm. Push into your 70/80s and it about the length of a cricket pitch! I have many patients who cant tell me how long they have been taking a particular drug, and in some cases what they are even taking that drug for! Which worries me incredibly. Then there are those who have to take drugs to counter the side effect of other drugs, and then drugs to combat the dry mouth all their drugs cause, or stomach meds to counter the damage to their poor stomachs etc... The pharmaceutical business is certainly a BIG one! Some of the common long term offenders are: antidepressants, muscle relaxants (eg amitryptalin), statins, coedine/tramadol (handed out like candy!), sleeping pills and all the drugs given for high blood pressure. (etc etc etc etc.....)

I watched a great BBC documentary about just this 2 nights ago. I HIGHLY recommend people watch it as the outcomes were really very impressive. And it didn't gloss over that choosing to stop long term pain medication is NOT easy, and needs thought and a lot of support but it IS possible. Dr Chris Van Tulleken is one of an identical twin (both twins are doctors!!) and he has been making documentries exploring ideas on diet, health and medicine. Here's the link to the first part- watch the 2nd part too- some AMAZING changes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbUXuQoWbmQ

Changing our habits is hard, but the benefits can be utterly life changing. Making time to exercise- even a 30 minute brisk walk can have so many positive effects I think we should all HAVE to make time for it!

Why not arrange a regular walk with some friends? Walk your dogs together after work, meet at lunch time for a 20 min brisk walk and a catch up, arrange a time to take your kids out in their strollers for a regular walk. Explore local council websites for ideas of places to meet and routes. Choose a favourite cafe for a coffee at the end, or for a lunch. See if these very simple changes can help you not need to reach for the panadol every morning, or the sleeping tablets every night. See how much stronger and fitter you feel and ask yourself if you REALLY feel better taking the tablets, and if you REALLY understand all the side effects and what your body has to do to process those drugs and whether that's what you want to put your body through day in day out.