Popping pills can be just the start

I’m sitting at my desk looking at a flyer. You can save $157 if you buy all the over-the-counter drugs listed in this leaflet. Your wallet may thank you, but your liver, not so much.

This got me thinking about just how addicted our society is to “feel good” drugs and products. If we so much as sniffle, out comes all sorts of cold medicines, not to mention those aimed at headaches and muscle pains.

We take all this stuff at the first sign of any discomfort, without always knowing what we are taking.

One commercial after another shows a clip of someone almost on death row with a cold. Not wanting to miss a day of work or play, they take the product being advertised, and all of a sudden, they step out looking like a model, with no sign at all of the sickness they had just a few minutes before.

The problem with this is we take this fabrication in without question, and proceed to buy the product, especially if it is on sale.

What I found was if I took a cold medication containing antihistamines, it did not cure my cold, and definitely did not let me sleep. The odd headache pill was usually my limit.

When I asked my doctor if any of these drugs actually healed my cold, the response was pretty much what I thought: “If it makes you feel better, then go ahead, but they do nothing to heal your cold. A cold typically takes about seven days to run its cycle, and drugs won’t shorten that.”

As a kid, Mom would rub some Vicks on my chest or throat, and with a lot to drink, it was off to bed. Warm milk with some aniseed would help you to sleep. Simple remedies to make you feel better.

In further observation of this matter, the facts are, that for all today’s growing-up children, the minute the kids get sick, caring parents bring out the pills or creams, along with some empty assurances they will soon be feeling better.

Therefore, from the very beginning of our lives, we are convinced these pills are OK.

Nowhere are we ever told to just suffer for a few days, and the problem will usually disappear. Every nuance is immediately treated with over-the-counter drugs.

So let’s take it one step further. As the children grow up, they soon find there are other things in life that tend to drag us down. Chronic health issues begin quite early, and since they never had to “grin and bear it,” they reach out for a pill or a drink to fix the problem.

It never does completely. All they’ve done is spend money and given their liver some grief.

A lesson I learned from the nurses at Primary Care Network when I was diagnosed with diabetes was your body is designed to absorb all the nutrition you need from the foods you eat.

Pills for pain or for good health try to force your body to improve, but our penchant for an instant cure or good feelings cause us to spend billions on products, some of whose efficacy can be questioned.

Knowing this, we still take all these drugs and vitamins.

This leads me to the point where I find it not so strange folks will take other drugs, which soon become an addiction, simply because they make us feel good for a while. You know the story from this point on.

A lifetime of taking over-the-counter drugs can make us very vulnerable to harmful drugs. Therein, we have another reason to become drug addicts.

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident.

Editor’s note: The views expressed are the personal opinions of the author. Readers are encouraged to always seek professional medical advice if they have a concern about their health, or the health of a family member.

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