There’s no denying it. We live in an over-medicated society, a world where we look into the medicine cupboard to find the cure at the first hint of sickness or pain.
And at least in part to blame is a mentality ingrained into us as children.
The BandAid Effect
I’m a part-time nanny, for the sheer joy of spending time with energetic rascals. It may be exhausting, but it comes with some stellar moments.
It also comes with accident prone kids and scraped knees are an all too common occurrence. When you’ve got a screaming child on your hands, the band-aid is a gift from the heavens.
“I’ve got just the thing for you, this will fix it right up – all better now?”
The crying stops immediately as the band-aid attaches over the wound and the child smiles.
The bandaid works miracles. Everyone is happy once more.
The mysterious part comes into play when no one falls over and no one scrapes their knee; when there isn’t a need for a band-aid at all.
The other day one little boy got a mosquito bite. It was a little itchy and soon he became a miserable little boy on the verge of crying.
“Will a band-aid help?” I asked.
He nodded and I fixed a band-aid onto the mosquito bite.
“All better now?”
“All better,” he replied with a proud grin.
Naturally, the band-aid didn’t actually do much at all. Yes, it stopped him from itching the bite and making it bleed, but it was undoubtedly still itchy.
In his mind, however, the band-aid had fixed the problem.
The placebo effect at its finest.
The Result on Adulthood
When we believe that a bandaid can fix any type of wound as children, at least part of that idea is bound to follow us into adulthood.
Only a quick glance around at today’s society confirms that idea. One glaring example: everyone is popping pills at the drop of a hat.
A headache because we didn’t drink enough when we were running around all day in the heat of summer? A couple of paracetamol tablets will fix that. Got a terrible cold and tied to the bed all day? Get the doc to give you some antibiotics. Heartburn after eating that hot curry last night? There’s medication to fix that, too.
The real question is: Do we really need to take these medications?
Or are we simply taking them because we feel we need do something to fix the problem somehow?
Just like that bandaid that worked miracles for us as kids.
The Elderly Problem
The height of the problem shines brighter as we get older.
Unfortunately, it is natural for our bodies to wear down with age. Things that used to work perfectly start to slow down. Our body gets tired. The problems we have are much greater in number than they once were.
And, just as we did for the rest of our lives, we resort to the bandaid approach and look to something that can fix our problems.
Far too many medications.
One for blood pressure, one for cholesterol, one for the heartburn, one for arthritis, one for the blood, one for pain, one for when we feel down, one for the nausea or constipation that we get from taking all the other medications.
It all becomes a big mess of drugs in an attempt to fix our problems.
Over-medicated Society: The Solution
Sometimes, it’s just not as simple as slapping on an easy-fix solution.
Just as a bandaid doesn’t fix a mosquito bite, some medications only make us feel like we’re being proactive about our health.
A more practical solution is prevention.
Rather than stick a bandaid on a mosquito bite, use insect repellant to stop the whole problem before it becomes one.
Likewise, treat your body well before you get sick to prevent sicknesses creeping in. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about: eat well, exercise well, drink water, avoid toxins like smoking and alcohol and get enough sleep.
All of these things contribute to a healthy immune system and truly do help to keep you body healthy and avoid sickness.
That is not to say, however, that you won’t get sick. You will. Even the most health-conscious person will get sick eventually. But when it happens, we need to approach it in the right way, which brings me to the second point.
Understand the problem and the solution.
More than anything, we need to get to know our bodies and understand what works for us individually.
Sometimes, as much as we want to do something to feel like we are in control, the best method is to wait and ride it out. Your immune system will beat that cold virus if you just give it a chance.
Maybe your high blood pressure could be managed by reducing the salt you eat, rather than taking medication every morning. Same goes for cholesterol with eating less saturated fats.
What I’m trying to highlight here is that we are living in an over-medicated world. It has become the normality because we have adopted a culture that advocates for a quick bandaid fix.
This becomes a real mess when we have a number of more complicated problems to manage.
Instead, I urge you to find out about the substances you put into your body. Discover if you really need them. Understand why they help you.
Are you opting for the quick bandaid fix?
I would love to hear from you about this topic. Do you feel like you take medications that you don’t really know much about? Let me know in the comments below.