They've Got a Pill for That

“You say you can’t pay attention, it’s getting pretty rough, you feel a little down, now, and you can’t get it up,

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“You say you can’t pay attention, it’s getting pretty rough, you feel a little down, now, and you can’t get it up,

They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that,

Now the pressure is rising, it’s getting to your head, nothing is exciting, you want to stay in bed,

They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that,

Side effects may include ha, and anxiety, loss of appetite, palpitations and dry lips, no desire to be kissed,

You lie down in the darkness, stare when you’re awake, haunted by problems, haunted by mistakes,

They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that,

They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that, They got a pill for that …”

-Edie Brickell, “Pill”

 

Whatever happened to the wisdom of “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”?  There was a time when access to health care actually decreased lifespan rather than extend it.  That’s right, peasants who could not afford doctors actually lived longer than the aristocracy who would get bled and purged by the olden knights in white.  In “The Mirage of Health,” MW Dubious actually demonstrates that the only thing modern medicine has done to positively affect the mortality curve has been vaccinations and sanitation. And, well, maybe apples…

As Edie Brickell's song parodies our newfangled fascination with tiny therapeutics, Americans are gobbling up the little “miracles” by the millions. The pharmaceutical industry has recently been unshackled by regulations that previously limited their ability to coerce us to use more pills through advertising.  Big Pharma spends over a billion dollars every year on advertising and they reap the rewards in skyrocketing prescription medication usage among Americans. 

This trend changes many things.  The physician-patient relationship changes.  “Ask your doctor about Miscontrukolox,” many commercials end with that plea, but shouldn’t our doctors already know about solutions? The search for prevention changes because we are not stressing apples or good healthy practices, we are taking pills. Now we can use medications for just about anything you can think off – from shyness to short eyelashes.  And, our pocketbooks change: the health-care costs are outrageous and prescription medications are a major reason why health-care costs are gobbling up our GNP.

What does all this have to do with addiction? You are right for asking. I appreciate that hydrocodone and many tranquilizers that are commonly abused are not out there advertising. We live in a commercial, fix-it-now, immediate-gratification society.  As long as we are led to believe that prescriptions should be used for every human condition, we are going to perpetuate the overuse of abusable medications. 

Through the influence of advertising and pop culture trends that ensue, Big Pharma may be disempowering human beings. Of course, this just my opinion, but where in all the push for pills is there any dialogue on self-reliance, patience, faith and other adaptations that will serve us in times of misfortune?  I’ll tell you where – they are fading. 

In addiction treatment, we witness, firsthand, the amazing transformations that occur when people are un-medicated many times and I can tell you empowerment is where it is at. Certainly, some medications are necessary and good, but hopefully you get the point. If you don’t, there is a pill for that!

Blog written by George Joseph, LCDC
George Joseph is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor who began his career in 1983. George is the CEO of The Right Step,...