Over the three weeks that I spent struggling with this cold, which I’m still not fully free of, I’ve been thinking about our overreliance on modern medicine much more than usual. In part, that was due to having to withstand a fair amount of pressure to take antibiotics and other such things during the worst of it, though one of my parents did see a doctor and take everything that was prescribed, yet still seems to be doing worse than me, obviously due to a significantly weaker constitution. And that’s a good part of the point I’m trying to make.
Usually, it is my belief that modern medicine should have three major roles: Providing accurate diagnoses, when the cause of the symptoms can’t otherwise be determined by the patients, handling emergencies, as other methods are obviously not up to the task in such cases, and treating serious illnesses that advance at a significant pace, since this likely means that other methods, which are generally gentler and therefore also slower, won’t have time to become effective. Even so, while modern medicine offers the only truly effective methods to provide accurate diagnoses and handle emergencies, the treatment of serious illnesses that advance at a significant pace could and, if the patients’ so desire, should be the result of a “collaboration” between modern and alternative medicine, so it could perhaps be said that modern medicine should have about two and a half areas of clear influence.
Yet what we’re seeing now is an overreliance on modern medicine, as people are being pressured into seeing doctors, who then prescribe pills and other such treatments, for pretty much anything. This includes ailments that can usually be cured with entirely natural remedies, ailments that most people should usually be able to pull through even without any real treatment and even things that shouldn’t be considered ailments at all. But this latter case largely deals with the mental health field, so let’s leave it aside and focus on the others, which are ailments that people whose constitutions aren’t particularly weak and who don’t suffer from other, much more serious, illnesses should in fact use to boost their immune systems and train themselves and their bodies to better deal with similar issues in the future. When drugs are used in such situations, this opportunity is lost and, istead of possibly becoming stronger as a result, people are likely to end up needing to rely on modern medicine even more in the future.
Of particular concern is the use of antibiotics. It’s true that infections are a huge threat and were a major cause of death before the advent of modern antibiotics, but it is equally true that microorganisms evolve extremely fast and quickly learn to resist such treatments. After all, we’re already seeing how the fact that antibiotics are taken far too often, largely by livestock, but also by humans, is creating particularly vicious pathogens that resist pretty much everything that we can throw at them, resulting in scenarios that may actually be worse than the ones such treatments were originally meant to prevent.
There are already voices saying that the age of antibiotics is ending, less than a century after it began, so all we can probably do at this point is delay this moment by being extremely careful and only using such drugs when there’s absolutely no other option. This will make pathogens adapt slower, as they’ll have less of a reason to do so, and therefore give us more time to develop new antibiotics that will be effective against the infections that truly require them. For the rest, we should strengthen our immune systems and use natural remedies whenever possible, as these are also living organisms and therefore likely to evolve alongside the pathogens they fight against, as long as said pathogens aren’t forced to evolve faster due to their contact with artificial antibiotics.
In a way, I could now easily go into various conspiracy theories and say that all of this is actually planned, that someone actually wants to weaken people’s immune systems and strengthen pathogens in order to give the large pharmaceutical corporations more power and therefore more income. It’s certainly something that I could believe about the heads of such corporations and we’re already seeing various developments that can only strengthen such beliefs, but let’s put all of that aside for the moment and not look for other reasons when something can be properly explained by plain old stupidity and, to some extent, laziness.
The truth is that having a doctor tell you to take this and that pill without you having to pay much attention to what’s going on with your body or learn what other remedies are known to be effective and how to properly use them on your own is the easy way. And modern medicine does usually tend to act way faster than other methods, so it caters to this modern need for immediate gratification. That it often does so by focusing on the effects instead of the causes and usually by offering short-term benefits at the cost of creating long-term problems, which can include making patients’ bodies less capable of dealing with similar problems on their own in the future, is something that can be lost on those who either don’t usually think that far or simply value the present far more than the future. And since this pretty much describes the “normal” modern human…
To conclude, my view is that, on top of making resistance to disease the first criterion used to determine who should still have children, which is another issue entirely, we should do all we can to better equip our bodies to fight pathogens on their own. Past this, we should learn more about natural remedies and use them whenever needed, leaving modern medicine to its three, or two and a half, areas of clear influence and avoiding powerful modern drugs in general and antibiotics in particular unless their use is absolutely required. This way, both our bodies and the treatments will evolve naturally alongside the harmful microorganisms, developing new ways to combat them and improving our overall health in the long-term while at the same time reducing our reliance on artificial substances produced, controlled and sold by others.