#7 How to be a better patient – Alternative treatments?

In modern day life so many aspects of the human experience is medicalised (meaning conditions and behaviours are labeled and treated as medical issues). The emphasis of medical training lays on how to solve problems through medical interventions (such as drugs or surgery). Quite often there’s a (commercial) treatment for your medical problem:

  • Are your blood sugar levels too high? Well, there’s a pill for that.
  • Are you feeling depressed? Well, there’s a pill for that.
  • Are you having trouble sleeping? Well, there’s a pill for that.
  • Are you feeling anxious? Well, there’s a pill for that.
  • Etc, etc.

Let me be clear: all these things are legitimate issues and need care. However modern medical treatments may not always be the only or the best option for your malady.

Whenever your doctor provides medical advice, when appropriate, request whether there are also other ways to resolve the problem. Take for example diabetes type 2, simply put, this is the disease in which your blood sugar levels become too high. Doctors can prescribe drugs such as metformin to lower blood sugar levels and sometimes they might not inform you that daily exercise and a healthy diet could have similar or additive effects. I’m definitely not advising you to ignore your doctor’s advice! Please do follow their advice, however also ask these extra question:

  • Is there something I could personally do on top or instead of the treatment you initially recommended?
  • Are there other treatment options available?

These questions force your doctor to list all the treatment options, instead of the “one-size-fits-all” recommendations. As a result, your doctor might be able to advise a less risky treatment or might be able to suggest lifestyle interventions in addition to the initially recommended treatment.

Disclaimer: All content and media on this website is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

Featured image credits: Photo by cottonbro

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