Who Really Defines Your Health?

Subish P., Shankar. “Disease mongering.” Singapore Med J. 48. 4. 2007. 275. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.

All over the world, the pharmaceutical industry is convincing people that they are sick. Whether it be from erectile disfunction or balding, people are being convinced through social media, television and unfortunately their doctors that they aren’t well. With the internet insisting that there is an illness or disease for every symptom that a person feels that might not be “normal”, it is very easy to be persuaded that you are sick. Medicine is constantly being marketed to people around the world. During the year 2000, more than $13.2 billion was spent on pharmaceutical marketing in the US alone. This does not account for the other high marketing countries such as Europe and Japan. Who is at the source of this distinction between natural health and aging and true illness? Who do you ultimately trust with your health concerns when the people who are throwing medication in your face are making money from your purchases? Luckily, many people reading this blog post are intelligent, curious people but sadly many people in the world are uneducated and unaware of the power struggle behind health and wellness. By doctors insisting that their patients are sick, they are greatly expanding the pharmaceutical industry’s market and practically feeding them the millions of dollars that keep them in business.

In this source, disease mongering is thoroughly explained. Disease mongering is when pharmaceutical companies and doctors (practically paid by the pharmaceutical industry) convince people that they are sick in an effort to generate sales in medication. A very accurate example, and one where I have had the personal experience, of disease mongering is young children having trouble focusing in elementary school and it meaning that they have ADHD. Nearly everyone in high school is on ADHD medication, regardless of the adverse side effects. With fear of failing school without the medication and too lazy/or busy to learn how to manage being distracted naturally, they continue to use it throughout the next few years, and some the rest of their lives. Many students and parents overlook this as doctors simply dying to help their patients be successful in life. Rare is it that a person is skeptical of their lack of assessment before prescribing pills to calm them down enough to focus for EIGHT HOUR LONG SCHOOL DAYS. Yes, this is sarcasm. No person, especially not young, bright and curious minds should have to sit down for eight hours a day five days a week with only a 40 minute lunch break. To be eligible for adderall, all I had to do was fill out a one page survey to see how hard it really was for me to focus. It was very easy to exaggerate my symptoms and just like that, I went to the pharmacy and got my first bottle of adderall. It was that easy. As I talked to more people about aderall, I quickly realized that everyone was on it. Some people who weren’t on it were selling it for extra money. Not one person went through high school without questioning their natural ability to learn and this is mostly due to the aggressive marketing of drugs such as adderall. Ultimately though, the money people spend on adderall (whether it is covered by insurance or not) goes directly to the pharmaceutical industry. This only gives them more power in their marketing efforts… and the cycle continues.  According to these powerful companies, there is always a medical concern, even for natural happenings such as sexuality, aging and unhappiness.

There are ways to change the direction of this cycle and combat disease mongering. Firstly, it is absolutely adamant that the healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry become separate of each other. They cannot work together. When these companies work together, they promote instant gratification for health rather than well thought-out, educated and independent decisions regarding medical decisions. As I have seen and experienced many times in my life, there is no quick and easy way to absolute health. It is something that comes with a complete lifestyle change. Without this change, no long term health goals can be reached. Prescriptions for most things, excluding serious illness, will only manage the symptoms but not solve the source of the problem.

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