Why am I Taking so Many Pills?
Updated: Jul 19
How well do you understand the medication you are prescribed by your doctor?
What effect do the medicines have on my body?
Exactly where am I taking them?
What changes will they make to my body and how it functions?
Are they any other options instead of medication?
How long do I have to keep taking the medication?
These final two questions about the interactions are most important.
Do they interact with alcohol - unless you never drink?
What nutrients do they deplete, and which supplements should I take because of this?
For a clear explanation of these last two questions you might need to talk with your pharmacist who are more chemically aware.
These are important questions to ask ourselves, regularly. Medicines are powerful and have many different effects on our body, and may change over time.
Addicted to Opioids after Pain Injury Completely Healed
My first time, asking this question, was when I visited my mother in England.
“Mum, why are you taking these pills?”
“Oh, these are lovely dear, I’ve been taking them for a long time”
My mum was a lovely lady and very respectful of doctors. As I was visiting on holiday it was an opportunity to visit with her, to her local doctor, as it’s many years between my trips back home to England.
What happened next, was shocking and may have really impacted on her health.
Locum Doctor Checks Patients Clinical Records
Fortunately, as it turned out, we saw a locum, filling in for two weeks. As he knew nothing of my mother’s case he took time to look at her history of the pills.
“How is your arthritis, Mrs Jordan?” asked the doctor.
“Oh, that’s good” replied my mother.
Here I had to interrupt.
“She’s never had arthritis, doesn’t happen in our family”
This prompted much discussion and file searching until the locum found more information. Over three years previously mum had fallen when our walking with her dog and broken her wrist. At this time she was given opioid medication for her pain. Within a few months the wrist had healed, but she was continually given scripts for more painkillers.
As I write this tale it’s still a shock, hard to take, that a perfectly healthy 80-something year old fit lady, living alone and taking care of herself had been taking opioid medication for three years for absolutely no reason.
But the saddest part of my story, that in my brief visit I didn’t know what type of drug she had been taking, just for the long ago healed wrist. Not until we stopped the medication that I now realise she had been addicted. Without telling any family member, she found an old prescription in the cupboard went to her local chemist for her regular medication and then hid them, taking them when I was not around.
Geriatric Medicine Needs Specially Trained Doctors
I’m glad that we had a locum who asked questions, checking the strength of the medication she was taking and removing arthritis from her file. Working with and monitoring older people is a special skill and geriatric medicine needs a lot of specially trained people. Older bodies certainly look different on the outside and certainly process drug and nutrients very differently from younger people.
I found this relevant suggestion on an American drug rehab clinic website.
“Protect yourself or your loved one by taking an in-depth look at what medication you’re taking, how much and why?”
Dr Mimi Guarneri, well known American cardiologist has one on my favourite expressions.
Ill to the Pill
Where she bemoans the fact that the first options, often the only option given to patients is to take a pill rather than address lifestyle issues or what 'in their lives' is causing must of the disease or the symptoms they are having.
Here is a not medication idea that any on us can indulge, on my website Natural Pain Solutions - Let nature soothe your pain
Dr Mimi Guarneri - Scripps Centre for Integrative Medicine.
This article is the experience of the author and all medication should be discussed with your doctor.
One reason that prompted me to write this article was the number of people coming to my clinic with chronic pain, movement problems and neurological issues, who are taking medicines, especially those over 50, and it's not just one pill but often three or four.
This article written by Jean Jordan, kinesiologist and naturopathic medicine practitioner in Christchurch who wants people to look first for lifestyle changes.