Question: Do drug companies inundate the airwaves with pill-pushing ads to feed a cultural propensity to treat every ailment with a pill? Or, do they push so hard in order to overcome our innate tendency to view the use of drugs as a weakness?
When I consider the people I know – friends, family, acquaintances – the vast, vast majority fall into the latter category. They resist being medicated, even when medications would alleviate pain or, in the case of cholesterol lowering drugs, quite possibly lengthen their life span. They resist the very idea of pill reliance and the resistance is not based on factors such as the ability to pay for the drugs. It’s a deep resistance to, and fear of drug dependence, that applies to everything from sinus sprays and lip balm to post-surgical pain relief.
No where is the resistance more evident than when it involves mood altering medications. As painful as depression can be, both physically and psychologically, my experience with family and friends is that there is a visceral opposition to drug therapy on the part of the patient in almost every case.
The same applies to patients in hospice care. I’m certain any medical professional in the field would agree that overcoming the patient’s fear of drug dependence on pain relieving medications is a big obstacle, even at the end-stage of life.
So, where do we get the premise that we are all rampantly “pill-popping” our way through life? Is it really true, or do we exaggerate our response to drug use of any kind?