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pill popping“I am on 13 medications,” she confessed.

She was only in her early 60’s, but her arsenal of pills was mind-boggling.

“I took the first one to counteract depression. That one gave me the shakes. I then got on another pill for the trembling, and I had to pee all the time. Now I’m on something for my incontinence, and I have a constant a brain fog.”

We both started laughing before we did another improv exercise together. Thank God for humor. It gets us through the worst of times.

This is a litany of many of my 50+ friends who are at the mercy of doctors and pharmaceutical companies who have convinced many of us that popping pills is the remedy to better health.

It seems like every doctor’s visit includes a prescription. A few years ago, I was having terrible anxiety related to a flood in our condo.

I saw a few doctors, who gladly wrote me prescriptions, but when I looked at the side effects of all of the medications they advocated, they sounded worse then the maladies I was experiencing.

I declined the Advair. I said no to the Lexapro. I couldn’t even pronounce Varepamil, let alone figure out just what it was supposed to do. And those are just a few of the medications that were suggested.

Over time, I figured out that what I had was a case of PTSD, and I decided to ride it out. The anxiety eventually dissipated, and I was glad that I never jumped on the pill bandwagon.

I guess doctors just don’t have time to properly diagnose your problems anymore. With our healthcare system being such a mess, doctors rarely spend ten minutes with you. Their eye contact is fleeting, like being on a bad blind date or speed dating; they barely look at you as they hurry to get to the next patient.

It reminds me of playing darts. If you’re lucky, doctors hit the bull’s-eye, but most of the time your left feeling like you’ve gotten no answers, just a general guess. Sometimes you follow their protocol with good results.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’m much more skeptical of doctors, preferring to listen to my body more, and come to my own conclusions.

Were our parents this sick as they entered their senior years? Or are we in worse shape due to climate change, GMOs, fracking and other environmental issues?

Historical novels don’t talk about gluten intolerance, yet it runs rampant in our culture today. More illnesses lead to more pills, until some people claim their medicine cabinets look like small pharmacies.

And it’s no wonder. Did you know that many doctors receive compensation for prescribing certain medications? Speaking engagements, gifts, travel and other rewards are a nice incentive for a doctor to recommend certain medications. Check on these articles:

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-drugs-are-doctors-paid-the-most-to-promote-2015-1

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/09/find-out-if-your-doctor-takes-payments-from-drug-companies/index.htm

https://www.quora.com/Do-doctors-receive-commission-when-they-prescribe-medication

Thankfully, I am not on any prescription medications yet. I inhale several supplements, and I hope that over the years I don’t have to replace them with prescriptions. I don’t rule them out, but I do believe that it’s an easy solution for the doctors.  Sometimes the body can heal itself.

As for my pal at the senior center? Sometimes I wonder if she would feel better if she stopped all the medications completely. I doubt she would do that, but it’s an interesting thought.

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Are You Popping Too Many Pills? was last modified: by