Is Society Overmedicating Itself?

Is Society Overmedicating Itself?

by Bob Branco

Just turn on the television. You will eventually see an advertisement for a pill that will reduce cholesterol, increase sex drive, relieve anxiety, overcome depression, or resolve several other medical problems. If you listen to the ad carefully, you will notice that the announcer spends more time telling you why you should not take the pill as opposed to why you should. Apparently there are more side effects than positive results. Does this bother you? I know it bothers me. I sometimes wonder if we are better off not taking any medications at all.pills

For most of my life, the only pills I ever took were aspirin and an occasional allergy medication. In September of 2015, my doctor prescribed medication for me because he wanted to lower my cholesterol a bit. While I understand his reason, I also know that there are side effects to this medication. Therefore, I decided not to take it as prescribed. Instead, I took it every other day or every three days. I didn’t want to face the possibility that I would encounter additional problems.

The medical profession has been accused of overprescribing. I don’t know if it’s true. I can only say that I have been extremely healthy for 58 years without much medication, and I’m afraid that if I started taking prescription drugs now, one problem will lead to another which will lead to another.

On the other hand, I have seen instances where prescription medications have helped a lot of people. The question is, what about long term? Will these people have side effects which will mean more prescription drugs and more money spent? Is it also possible that many people become addicted to drugs that should not have been prescribed in the first place? If this is true, then I wonder if we can avoid particular drug epidemics that are currently going on throughout this country.

I have a feeling that this debate will go on indefinitely because too many companies profit from medicine whether it helps you or not. My advice is to be extremely vigilant. Weigh all the pros and cons when taking a prescribed drug or watching an ad on television. You will probably be better off for it.

About the Author

Bob Branco resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is a self-published author of four books. He is a community organizer, tutors persons with visual impairments, and has written columns for local and international organizations. Bob’s web site is


2 thoughts on “Is Society Overmedicating Itself?

  1. It’s easy to be glib about “to medicate or not to medicate”, but if you can’t sleep or are in constant pain or can’t breathe, or even urinary inconstancy, it’s not a philosophical point at all. Prescription drugs is such a vast category it’s almost impossible to make categorical statements on the subject, it covers everything from antibiotics to Xanax.
    Do what you have to do and have another doctor render a second opinion on your medication mix.

  2. I can relate to Bob’s position as someone who has remained fairly free of medication – prescribed and OTC. Allopathic medicine is my last resort and I treat my occasional/seasonal sickness (which is very uncommon) with herbal tea, diet change, and natural remedies. It also certainly depends on the situation as you say Victor. If you are in acute/chronic pain and nothing but pain-killer is required function/sleep, the you certainly need to take it. But as Bob says we have to be extra careful. I have seen people getting addicted to prescribed meds and then suffering symptoms more troubling than the original issue for which they were out on medicine. For psychological issues, these should be taken even more cautiously since many psychotropic drugs can cause long-term brain damage. The word is CARE.

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