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Are Americans Too Soft When It Comes To Treatment?

Americans on treatment and medication

Sometimes I think Americans are too soft. How many could survive traveling almost a year in a covered wagon? How many women could give birth without an epidural? What about experiencing "restless legs syndrome" without medication or "social anxiety disorder" (shyness?) without medication? How about suffering a common cold without needing antibiotics .

It's not entirely our fault. Now that pharmaceutical and medical device companies can advertise directly to consumers, we are lead to believe that everything has a medical label and can be cured by medication or surgery. Every condition is given a medical diagnosis and there seems to be an expensive, daily dosed medication that can help.

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I believe we live in a wonderful age where medical science provides benefits and cures that were never thought possible. But I also know that many "conditions" are the result of inactivity, stress, poor diet and boredom.

Do we even know what is normal anymore? We now have imaging technology that finds "incidentalomas" in the body and we don't even know if they cause symptoms. We can detect cell changes that "might" become cancer... or might not.

I don't want to turn back the clock to the pioneer days but I do think the pendulum for "treatment" for every condition in life has swung too far. And I do think we are too soft.



My grandmother spent 60 years with restless legs syndrome being untreated. She did it. She was also exhausted and at one time put in a mental institution because of it. They thought she was hallucinating. She wasn't. The person with social anxiety - you'd deny them the ability to be with other people without feeling horrible every moment of their life? I don't have it, but I can't imagine being in the world when I was uncomfortable all the time and wished I were elsewhere. Could I do it? Probably. Would I have a moment of happiness? Probably only when I escaped at night. I also have severe RLS. I could live without medication for it - in fact I did for 20 years. But I wouldn't be able to work any longer if I didn't have medication because I was only sleeping 30 minutes to 2 hours every night. I'd lost my cognitive abilities. If I were alive 100 years ago, I'd likely be addicted to an opioid if I'd had access (they stop RLS) or would simply have died young because I'd not have slept in years. They now know that untreated sleep disorders increase your risk of heart attack. Some people with RLS can sleep after an annoying few minutes of it or even few hours of it. The worse cases of it cannot sleep much at all. When exhausted, I get about 20 minutes of sleep before the RLS awakens me again. So, I could do it, but why should I have to? Why should a woman have to give birth without an epidural? My neighbor had to have an emergency c-section just last week because of a complication. 100 years ago she would have died, as would the baby. You wouldn't deny her the newest medical treatment, would you? No, because it involved life or death. What is the difference between pain or no pain? Quality of life or no quality of life? These medical treatments exist and they help us have a higher quality of life, much as automobiles, phones, computers, lighting, furnaces, etc. do. Would you have us give all of those back, too?