Someone with insomnia related to chronic stress at work wants a refill of their bedtime sedative. “Only 5 more years until I can retire and sleep properly again”. Rather than talking about healthy ways to reduce work stress and the impact of chronic stress on our bodies, and instead of asking them if this is the way they want to live their life – they get their sedative prescription and carry on.
The same thing happens with smoking, obesity, addiction, elevated blood pressure, dysplipidemia, anxiety, attention-deficit disorder and on and on and on.
The easiest way to treat most health problems is to use medication. Most medications are fast, quick and easy to prescribe, administer and take.
But they’re also risky, expensive and potentially harmful.
Medications, I’ve realized, is the easy way out. They let us off the hook. It’s far easier to prescribe and administer medications than it is to sit down with someone and have an honest, vulnerable discussion about the root cause of their problems and non-pharmacological strategies to overcome them.
Fact is, emotional labour is the only way we’re going to help people manage their health independently and lead healthier lives in the long run.
We’re the most depressed, addicted, unhealthy, overweight and stressed cohort of people the world has ever seen – and yet there are more medications being used than ever before.
Clearly we need different strategies, ones that solve and prevent real problems problems rather than treating the consequences of them.