2 min read

Drug Commercials

Every time I go visit my parents, I'm barraged by prescription drug commercials. With the average American watching 2+ hours of television, the whole nation is subjected to a constant deluge of these commercials. While the logic for having commercials for prescriptions drug escapes me, they're here to stay and I wonder what these commercials do to the American psyche.

Drugs, while they are useful and lifesaving, also promote the mindset of a quick cure. Take this pill and you're cured. Side effects are glossed over or buried in an avalanche of fine print. Is something inconvenient? There's a name for it and a pill for it.

Drugs should be a last resort. The idea of drugs as a quick solution dissuades the idea of figuring out problems. We rely on drugs that remove the symptoms rather than solve the underlying problem.

There's a difference between chronic and acute. Obviously, if you are going to die in the next five days, you should seek whatever remedy is possible. But it is too easy nowadays to resign yourself to living under a specter for the rest of your life.

I was diagnosed with asthma as a boy. I was hospitalized twice, a week at a time. I took medicine every day and carried an inhaler for emergencies. I would feel anxiety if I didn't have it with me. I was told asthma had no cure, it was a condition. Fifteen years ago, I cut out sugar, reduced other carbohydrates, and limited other inflammatory foods. I haven't taken any medicine since or had any issues.

I started wearing glasses when I was eight.  From that moment, I never left the house without wearing glasses or contacts.  I was afraid I would literally die.  About fifteen years ago, I ventured out without glasses.  It took some time, but I realized the only difference was that I couldn't read signs or recognize people. We are infantilized to believe that we need crutches.

Eastern philosophy is about removing until the good is left. Western philosophy is about adding until you have something good. Too many times do we ignore what we do to our bodies and instead seek a fix.

People are being inundated every day with the idea that relief is a pill away.  That you can indulge yourself with no consequences because a fix is readily available.  Side effects are the fine print that can be ignored - it won't happen to me.  Relying on an authority telling you the answer also leaves you vulnerable to their oversights. When you work out a solution, you know the limitations of that solution.

I'm not saying that modern medicine is evil. I'm saying that it's over-relied on. The pharmaceutical remedy shouldn't be the first choice and shouldn't be considered a cure for the rest of your life.  There's also pride in working out a solution to a challenge, in overcoming adversity.

Prescription drugs are like the schemes of the hustle culture. Get Rich Quick schemes for the modern age. Twitter threadbois are the prescription drug commercials of the creator economy. Always promising quick fixes, never introspecting.