Pharmaceuticals (OTC, Prescription, Vaccinations)
It is well-known in the scientific community and in the holistic health
community that pharmaceuticals cause tens of thousands deaths in the
United States every single year. A much greater number than that suffer
serious adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals. For example, one type of
drug, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are estimated to
cause 7,600 deaths and 76,000 hospitalizations every year in the U.S.
(See Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine, February 1991, pages 22-28.)
These figures have been published in the scientific literature and by
government agencies and there is really no dispute of these facts.
There are a greater number of people who regularly take
prescription drugs and over the counter (OTC) drugs and who do not have
obvious and serious adverse reactions -- at least for a while. However,
from a holistic perspective, taking pharmaceuticals is often a
prescription for the development of health problems in the future or
the continuation of current health problems.
Of course, there are exceptions where pharmaceuticals are needed such as
insulin for some diabetics and antibiotics in extreme emergencies, etc. But
for the most part, persons interested in holistic medicine look for safer
and more effective alternatives without long-term downsides. In fact, for
most people, the gradual replacement of the regular use of pharmaceuticals
with the use of effective alternatives is a very important part of holistic
healing and preventive medicine.
I want to be very careful here because there is bound to be some concern
due to misinterpretation of what is being said. In order to address expected
questions, please read through the following questions and answers:
In the practicie of holistic medicine, when are pharmaceuticals used?
In general, drugs and surgery are used if no safe alternative exists. As I
mentioned earlier insulin-dependent diabetes and emergencies are common
examples where drugs are quite useful. There are some other cases as well.
However, despite what some people unfamiliar with holistic healing have been
told, there are often quite effective alternatives to drugs for most acute
and mild to serious chronic diseases. Of course, it could take a person
months or a year or more to gradually find effective non-drug solutions
to their health problem.
If I am on drugs for SLE, severe depression, and other others diseases should
I immediately stop the drugs and look for alternatives?
In many cases the answer is "No". For most chronic conditions the goal
should be to slowly and permanently wean yourself from drugs as you work with an
experienced holistic healthcare practitioner. The goal is to work with the practitioner
to put together a holistic healing program and use natural treatment modalities
which build health thereby reducing and eventually eliminating the need for drugs.
In many cases, a holistic healthcare practitioner will work with the
patient's original physician to decide on such a plan. Please keep in mind that
it can often take time to build health and use a gradual, supervised plan to
eliminate the use of pharmaceuticals. Please be very patient with yourself
and rather than feeling guilty, be happy about the very positive course you have
chosen. Some people put together their own healing program and go off the drugs
themselves. I don't recommend this for most people as it is quite useful
to have the advice of an experienced healthcare practitioner in order to avoid
In many cases, however, it can be useful to avoid starting drugs altogether (on the
advice of an experienced holistic healthcare practitioner) and begin a holistic
healing program. A few of many obvious examples might include:
- Acute condtions such as headaches, stomach problems, etc. that can be
treated with well-known techniques such as herbs, homeopathic remedies,
relaxation techniques, or a visit to a holistic practitioner
(depending upon the situation).
- Cases where a child is misdiagnosed with ADD and given Ritilan or has
ADD but has not used the several effective holistic treatment techniques
for this condition.
- Dangerous drugs such as estrogen that are used as preventive "treatment" after
menopause but, from a holistic perspective, are not needed for persons
who have a relatively healthy lifestyle, access to quality books related
to menopause (e.g.,
The Herbal Menopause Book &
Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way, Alternative Approaches for Women 30-90
or the availability of a holistic healthcare practitioner.
- Taking a hazardous drug such as
to "prevent" breast cancer.
- Cases where a person is diagnosed with "AIDS" and who is inappropriately
given AZT and other toxic drugs when it has long been known that
long-term survivors almost always avoid these drugs and use natural
There are many cases where difficult decisions need to be made about when to
eliminate drugs use and which natural healing alternatives and holistic healing
fundamantals are important for treating specific conditions. That is exactly
why working with an experienced
holistic healthcare practitioner (and demanding
a second or third opinion if you are not certain) can often be very important.
What are some of the risks of pharmaceuticals if I don't experience immediate
There are many risks. The use of pharmaceuticals to suppress
symptoms is likely to lead to health problems. In most cases, symptoms are the body's attempt
at adjustment and healing (even though the symptoms can be uncomfortable). Suppressing
such symptoms with drugs invariably leads to more serious conditions. What often
happens is that when a person is experiencing mild symptoms, drugs are given to
suppress the symptoms. This may happen multiple times over months or years. Eventually, the
symptoms begin to come back frequently, or in many cases, a much more serious (and
seemingly unrelated) chronic disease develops. The person is left wondering why a
serious chronic disease appeared "out of nowhere". The widespread use of drugs to
suppress symptoms is contributing significantly to the quickly increasing numbers
of persons suffering from chronic, debilitating diseases and syndromes.
From a holistic perspective, it is far better to focus primarily on natural treatments
to address the cause(s) of the disease. A very important part of treatment is often
geared towards making the symptoms tolerable, but not to the detriment of the primary
treatment. For example, a person diagnosed with depression may be given a herbal
formula to help reduce the symptoms. In addition, to address the cause(s), the person
may use body-oriented or movement therapy, nutritional changes/treatments, sleep pattern
adjustments, homeopathic remedies, or other possible techniques (depending upon the
exact situation) to treat the cause(s) of the condition.
I know somebody who tried alternative remedies for disease X and they didn't work!
Therefore, drugs are the only solution.
This is a common statement. In most cases these people were understandibly
grasping for a "magic bullet" in the form of herbs, vitamins, etc. A holistic
healing program, on the other hand, is quite different in that "magic bullets"
are downplayed and the focus is on 1) gradually incorporations
of the more pressing of the holistic healing fundamentals (e.g., adequate sleep,
natural foods nutrition, avoidance of toxic substances, stress relief, etc.) and
2) choosing one or more natural healing techniques (of which there are very many
possible choices) that would be expected to help the most in the particular
condition. In many cases, the natural healing techniques chosen are not limited
to herbs or vitamins.
There are a number of reasons why a holistic healing program may fail to help a
treat a chronic disease. Such a discussion is beyond the scope of this article.
In many cases, a detailed look at various aspects of the patient's physical,
psychological, and spiritual condition plus a careful selection of the
proper changes and natural treatment techniques will often lead to a very effective
holistic healing program for patients with a chronic disease.
What about vaccination use decisions.
There are risks associated with vaccinations and there are legitimate scientific
questions as to whether certain vaccinations work at all. It is known is that
many of the diseases that vaccinations are said to prevent had steep declines in
incidence before the vaccinations were in widespread use. Much of the declines
in certain diseases are attributable to sanitation improvements (among other things)
in the cities.
However, there are some holistic healthcare practitioners who do use vaccinations
and others who do not, opting instead for alternatives such as homeopathic
Vaccine Information Internet Resources web page has links to
articles for helping you to decide the best course of action. I strongly
recommend following up on these links if this issue is of concern to your family.
Understandably, a few people may still insist upon not weaning themselves off
of pharmaceuticals despite potential dangers and the fact that there are often
holistic medicine treatment options. Everyone has their own path. But for those
interested in holistic healing, the supervised replacement of pharmaceuticals with
natural treatment techniques except where absolutely necessary is often the best
path in the long run.