Thursday, May 20, 2010

Enraging and Stupid

You know how you can tell that someone isn't disabled or chronically ill? They go on and on and on about "natural cures" and "your body knows best" and "you should stop taking that medication". Yeah, "stop shoving chemicals* into your body!" seems like good advice- until you get sick and those chemicals are the only thing that allow you to move or work or stay alive.

Unplugging From Your Medicine Cabinet: Respecting the Body's Intelligence

It may be time to go on a special type of vacation: a drug vacation.* A drug vacation is a time in which you reduce the doses or eliminate entirely whatever drug or drugs you are taking. A drug vacation may give you (and your doctor) an opportunity to learn whether you really need to continue taking this drug or not. More important, this vacation will give your body an opportunity to manifest its everyday self-regulating and self-healing propensities without the crutch of a pharmaceutical agent inhibiting or suppressing its important work.

So, what, your doctor is just giving you drugs at random, in random doses and random combinations with no idea at all what you need? Presumably, you started taking medication to help with health problems you were having. If the medication worked, you kept taking it, if it didn't, you stopped or switched. If your medication is working for you, why stop taking it?

What really pisses me off is the idea that everyone would be perfectly healthy if they'd just stop taking their medication. Hey, spleenweasel! If my body were capable of self regulation and self healing, I wouldn't be taking medication in the first place. How fucking stupid can you be?

IF you are ready, step away from the medicine cabinet. You may not even recognize it, but you may be addicted to one or more of the drugs there. It may be time that you received an intervention, though this time, you should probably intervene on yourself rather than have anyone do it for or to you.

You may have noticed but your body has become accustomed to these drugs, and you've probably have had to increase the dosage over time, though you probably also noticed that various weird symptoms emerged when you did so. You then probably chose to increase it on some days and decrease on other days, in the hopes that they will still work, though some people may wonder if they are really helping or not.

Ah, addiction. I do so enjoy, as a pain patient, a discussion of addiction. First of all, addiction is a psychological process. What the writer seems to be referring to is dependency, which is an entirely different issue. After all this time, I am dependent on pain medication, but then again, I was dependent on it from the first pill I ever swallowed because I can't move without pain medication. Hell, with the pain medication I have days where walking 15 feet to the bathroom is the impossible dream. I would be rendered entirely disabled without pain medication. Oh, well, I guess as long as I'm not inhibiting my body's complete inability to heal itself.

There it is, isn't it? The blame that whispers through this entire article: It's your fault you're sick. If you would just stop taking chemicals, you'd feel better. If you'd just listen to me, you stupid, stupid sick person, you'd be fine. Your doctor? Why would you listen to him? He's got schooling and experience, I've got woo.

GAH! I hate these purveyors of woo.

The rest of the article is trying to sell me homeopathy, the idea that less is way more, but that's been dealt with a few times before. I just wanted to explain what this attitude- drugs are bad! stop using them!- sounds like to the chronically ill/disabled. It sounds like you think you know better than me. It sounds like you want me to suffer.

*I feel like shouting, "You know what's in your water? Dihydrogen Monoxide!" Everything's a damn chemical, get over it.


  1. Articles like this are usually written by people who would be so completely blindsided if they were to ever really needed medication. The idea that my mom should stop taking her Crohn's meds is just... I can't imagine anyone but a terribly ignorant person saying it.

    Yes, my mom manages her blood pressure (increased due to her time of life) and her Crohn's Disease (genetics) with lifestyle modification... but her quality of life is immeasurably improved by modern pharmaceuticals. Yes, another family member of mine would greatly benefit from working harder at therapy to deal with a severe mood disorder and ADHD/OCD, but the mood stabilizers this family member is on are absolutely essential. Trying to manage without them is not doable. Since the disorders presented, I have seen this person off of modern pharmaceuticals, and it's literally a nightmare. No amount of woo-woo can fix actual severe problems in brain chemistry.

    Stuff like this makes me so MAD.

  2. I normally cope quite well with the insane delusions of others. The moon landing was a hoax? Cool. Evolution is false. Sure, whatever you think. The earth is flat? Good for you [pat, pat]

    But there is a sub-set of insane delusionalists that really really really piss me off, because their opinions directly hurt people gullible enough to believe them. Hommeopathy, scientology, the vaccines-cause-autism crowd. The fact that these con artists are often also raking in money hand-over-fist doesn't help.

    So fuck you Dana Ullman, and screw you Huffington Post, for hurting people for your own selfish gain. If the fundies are right, I'll see you in hell.

  3. It's been a good long while since the HuffPo has been on my reading list. Most of the articles I've read there that had anything to do with the human body were just downright irresponsible.

  4. The HuffPo really is a bit of a liberal stereotype: great with politics and social issues, absolutely horrendous in matters of spirituality, religion and medical woo. It bugs me, though, when people reject the entire publication because of that. Yes, the medical and religious bits tend to suck royal arse, but the quality political articles more than make up for it IMO.

  5. I've never really enjoyed much (though I've certainly appreciated a few) of their political writing either, not so much because I disagree with the viewpoints, necessarily, but because the tone doesn't really jibe with what I look for in Op-Eds and reporting. I tend to be either a Reuters/AP/AFP or NYT Op-Ed gal. I don't read certain blogs that are totally in line with my opinions because I find them preachy or whiny. It's a subjective thing.

  6. « I don't read certain blogs that are totally in line with my opinions because I find them preachy or whiny. »

    Uh-oh. ;-)


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