In the modern age in which we live, there is an ever growing reliance on the use of pharmaceutical medication. Although in many instances this is entirely necessary and essential to the healing process, there are also instances where medication may be over-prescribed, or relied on for too long.
There are several issues that can arise from using pharmaceutical drugs for longer than is necessary. Let's take a look at what those issues are and why it's important to avoid them as best as possible.
First of all, the potential for dependency to develop is a serious risk factor when prescribing certain medications. This is especially the case when drugs such as opioids, and other painkillers are required. When a person requires pain management, this can often become an ongoing problem if the root cause of the pain is not addressed. This means that the person continues to experience pain, and then continues to need pain management. In some instances it is not possible to treat the cause of the pain, such as due to a chronic condition. This means that the necessity for continued treatment exists and dependency becomes practically unavoidable.
Misuse is another important thing to consider with certain medications. Prescription drug misuse is the behaviour of taking medication when it is not actually required for a medical reason. This is generally done in order to feel the side effects of the drug, which will likely include feelings of detachment, pleasure, relaxation, alertness.
A person might also misuse prescription medication in order to lose weight, stay awake, get to sleep, or a number of other reasons.
Certain medications can cause damage to the body when they are taken regularly over a prolonged period of time. For example, ibuprofen can impact the health and function of your digestive system. Your stomach and your intestines can be harmed through long-term use, and this is a warning that will generally come with the medication itself.
The same group of hormones that stimulate inflammation also play a key role in protecting the lining of the gut and of the stomach. Ibuprofen, and other similar drugs, prevent these hormones from doing their job effectively, and that inevitably means that all of their functions are inhibited. This damage can actually occur within just a few short weeks, so it is important to be wary of long-term use and dependency.
Damage to the heart muscle is also a very real risk from long-term use of pharmacuetical medications. A warning has been in existence since 2005 by the FDA to state that heart damage can occur as a result of prescription painkillers. This is believed to be possible even if no pre-existing heart condition is known of before the use of these medications begins.
Now that we have explored why pharmacuetical medication can be dangerous when not used in the correct way, let's take a look at some natural treatments that could be potential substitutes.
Arnica is a herb that typically grows in central Europe. The flowers of this plant have been used medicinally for many hundreds of years.
Arnica can be taken orally or applied topically to help combat pain and decrease swelling. It is also said to act as a natural antibiotic, meaning it can be useful in helping to prevent infection in the body. There is some early research to suggest that it could be useful for those with osteoarthritis. This is largely due to the fact that it could reduce pain and stiffness. It has been suggested that arnica could be as effective as ibuprofen when it comes to soothing the symptoms of this condition, although further research is required.
If you haven't heard of curcumin before then you will certainly have heard of turmeric - which is the herb that curcumin is the active compound of. It is believed to be among the safest anti-inflammatories that you can take.
Some studies suggest that curcumin is even more effective than pharmaceutical grade medication, and doesn't come with any of the negative side-effects of conventional drugs.
One downside to taking a curcumin supplement when you are trying to alleviate pain and inflammation is that it is not easily digested by the body. However, since it is a fat-soluble compound, you can increase the rate of absorption by combining the supplement with oil. Some experts claim that black pepper also helps to increase the rate of absorption.
The root of the valerian herb is a popular choice of natural treatment when it comes to sleep disorders. It is also suggested as a supplement for those who are experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
Valerian acts as a kind of sedative on the brain, as well as the nervous system. Studies have shown that taking valerian can help you get to sleep quicker, as well as to enjoy a better quality of sleep. It is better to take valerian consistently, than to rely on the effectiveness of a one-off dose.
The use of valerian in treating the symptoms of menopause, chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression have also been explored extensively, with some promising results. However, further research is needed before a true conclusion can be drawn.