Balancing Pills with Plants: Can You Really Ditch Prescriptions for Natural Health?

Everyone needs prescription drugs at some point in their lives, and while they’re helpful for specific ailments or diseases, they might cause unwanted adverse effects. It’s important to be aware of the known chronic adverse health risks of drugs, and how they may counteract a holistic health approach.

When drugs are necessary

If you suffer from a chronic disease and take prescription drugs, focusing on the possible adverse risks could overshadow the fact that your medication has been thoroughly studied and proven to treat your disease more effectively than leaving it untreated. Synthetic drugs let you feel and function better, stopping disease progression, and reducing the risk of other illnesses.

However, if you want to explore holistic health methods to reduce your dependence on synthetic drugs, the first step is to figure out the reasons behind your disease (excluding genetics). By understanding this, you can work towards reversing symptoms and disease progression, and help prevent future illnesses.

The biggest question you need to ask yourself is if you want to continue taking prescription drugs for life or if you’d prefer to put forth the effort to eliminate or reduce your need for them. This latter approach is a core principle of restorative/functional medicine and should be cautiously integrated with proven science from conventional medicine.

Understanding prescription drug effects on the aging population

Prescription drugs pose specific issues for seniors – the demographic most prescribed medications and most vulnerable to adverse effects. According to research, around 2.2 million U.S. patients suffer adverse drug reactions (ADRs) because of prescription drugs each year, and the figure is much higher for those not hospitalized. This growing issue is due to several reasons, including drug-drug interactions, decreased capacity to compensate for side effects, and drug concentration from decreased body mass and increased dehydration due to age.

To decrease the risk of harm from adverse drug events, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the following:

  1. Keep a list of your medicines.
  2. Follow directions.
  3. Ask questions.
  4. Keep up with any blood testing recommended by your doctor.
  5. Only take pain relievers and antibiotics as directed.

On the other hand, you can explore a different approach:

  1. Understand the known adverse effects of your prescription drugs to identify and manage them.
  2. Look into natural alternatives to the prescription drugs you’re using.
  3. Investigate ways to eliminate the need for your drugs altogether by healing from your disease.

Understanding your prescription medication, its known adverse effects, and how to manage them will allow you to feel good without being solely reliant on synthetic drugs.