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Syringe and Money
World of Pills
Uncle Iroh works out (Avatar: The Last Airbender animation; GIF via here)
Demedicalise means make our society far less dominated by modern medicine.
Ivan Illich was one of the first researchers to question modern scientific medicine and modern drugs. Illich suggested that modern medicine had become a threat to health by undermining the inherent capability of people and societies to cope with inevitable pain, sickness and death.
The bad things of life are thrust onto doctors so that families and society do not have to face them. People are disempowered. Communities are destroyed.
"Being a patient, rather than a participant in one’s healing process, separates suffering people from their community and alienates them from an inner sense of self."
(Bessel van der Kolk, psychiatrist and pioneering PTSD researcher, author of The Body Keeps the Score, posted 20 June 2016, accessed 29 July 2021)
This is further complicated by greedy and unethical 'Big Pharma' which wants to sell drugs to everyone (e.g. see here).
People need to be heath conscious, rather than disease conscious.
Health systems need to prioritise carers - rather than relying on and glorifying technology, drugs, and highly trained specialists. Do this rather than blindly spending more money and forcing doctors to work longer hours.
Nations need to prioritise health and happiness over profit and productivity.
Examples of the Medicalised World
The medicalisation of Birth has led to interventionist, hospital birth. Hospitals are organised around the needs of doctors and insurance companies - see here.
"$13 to $20 billion a year could be saved in health care costs by de-medicalizing childbirth, developing midwifery and encouraging breastfeeding."Birth is very rarely a medical event. So, give birth back to women! Let it be mother-led and supported by a sisterhood - see here. Also see here, here.
(Frank Oski, USA paediatrician 1932-1996)
The medicalisation of Children has, for example, meant the use of the drug Ritalin for hyperactivity. Perhaps for most of these children, a diet low on added sugars and a more physical lifestyle, is best?
Or it can be the overuse use of Calpol, for pain and fever relief. A top doctor called it the "heroin of childhood" (see here, here). But fever is the body's natural and needed response for handling infection, common in young children, usually clears up by itself. Why not work with nature, rather than mess with it?
Or children, aged 5 to 16 in the UK, receive drugs and no proper support. How has society fucked it up so bad?
The medicalisation of Adults has led to a medical drug culture that is driven by Big Pharma, Reductionist Science and greedy Capitalism. This applies to physical and mental health. Use of drugs is socially acceptable, but is it any better than illegal drugs? Drug use of any kind has side-effects, and tends to make people passive participants in life - for life! Misuse and overuse of antibiotics threatens physical emergencies in future generations - see here, here, here, here. Instead of managing disease with drugs, why not enhance life with healthy lifestyle (see below)? Demedicalisation = Empowerment!
The medicalisation of Mind is complex. Although it is positive that we are beginning to talk openly about mental health, I believe many affected people are simply reacting to an unsupportive and dysfunctional society. Psychology is important but we are in danger of over-psychologising everything, when political action/therapy is needed. In other words, there may be nothing wrong with you! It is society that especially needs to change.
Unlike Andrew Flintoff suggests, medication is rarely the answer - it should not become normal. This is the myth of the chemical cure. Rather, get to the root of the issue. Mental health especially needs action at a societal level, things like GNH.
My short-term suggestion is flower essences (see below), talking about it, changing your circumstances, exercise, diet, etc. (e.g. sea swimming, cold water swimming). My long-term suggestion is socio-cultural change (see here and here and here).
The medicalisation of Sex makes sexual issues into diseases, when most are NOT. For example, watch the documentary Orgasm Inc.
For women, sex is about accepting delight and nonconformity. Cultural conformity lowers desire. It is about liberating the erotic imagination. It is also about ditching dysfunctional porn and patriarchy. Women don't need a medical fix. Rather address the many reasons why they are emotionally disinclined to have sex. Medical drugs is not the way.
The medicalisation of Gender means, for example, that intersex children are 'normalised' with crazy, non-consensual, irreversible surgeries. Intersex children are already normal! They constitute about 2% of our population, the same as those with red hair. See here and here.
The medicalisation of Sport means, for example, that half the soccer players at the past three world cups routinely took legal painkillers, risking their health and even their life (BBC, posted and accessed 23 March 2017). Every competitive sport is affected, and at every level. The use of legal and illegal drugs is widespread, a crisis (BBC, posted 20 March 2017, accessed 23 March 2017).
One irony of drugs in sport is that people like Caster Semenya are now forced to take drugs if they want to compete. Their natural abilities are adjudged unfair. So, here drugs use is claimed to be legal and fair - but not otherwise!
The medicalisation of Old People means we delude ourselves that we are so healthy whilst actually we neglect truly healthy lifestyles. This not only affects personal quality of life, but also societal well-being. Consider:-
Uncle Iroh works out
The medicalisation of Pain has created a worldwide abuse of painkillers. Painkillers are only effective short-term but there is a grave risk of dependency. Pop a pill is easier than deal or face the deeper issues (e.g. lifestyle change, resist a dysfunctional society).
The medical profession also does little to understand, investigate and support women's and non-lifestyle pain; see here, here, here.
Big Pharma also plays its greedy part. Then the habit becomes an addiction that is especially ravaging richer countries; see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.
"As we adjust our lives around avoidance and suppression [of pain], we internalise the message that we cannot handle pain. And when we limit our chances to get hurt, we fail to learn that we can get back up again. This has serious, demonstrable consequences for our ability to deal with both the physical and emotional pain that life will inevitably throw at us, and fuels a paradigm in which we don’t believe we have control over pain without the aid of drugs, surgery or medical intervention."
(Margee Kerr and Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, posted and accessed 23 January 2021)
The medicalisation of Sleep has reduced it to merely a complex biomedical process. Sleep has become secondary to our waking life, something almost bothersome that we have to do to be alive. We have become an awake-centred society. So, to get the most out of our waking self, in our ignorance or arrogance, we disrupt nature's rhythms with stimulants (to keep us going almost 24/7) and sedatives (to artificially meet body's needs). But sleeping pills do not heal insomnia. What if sleep and our deep self was as important as - or more important than - our waking self? What if all these drugs were blocking our default consciousness, a state of deep peace? What if sleep taught us how to die? Can you fall in love with sleep? Read more here and here.
The medicalisation of Death occurs when society merely treats death as a medical-physical event. It ignores 'Total Pain' (see here or here), which includes the emotional/mental, social and spiritual aspects of dying and death. As a result, death now tends to happen at hospitals. It used to happen in the familiarity of home, where most people would rather it happen, in the company of loved ones. People have been deskilled at handling the death process. (See Video #6 at BBC, dated 2016, & BBC, posted and accessed 1 December 2016) Also see here.
“Death is a human and community event, not a medical event.” (Michael Hebb paraphrase)
The medicalisation of the World means we focus on vaccinations and drugs, when we really need to deliver clean water, sanitation, nutrition, equality, Love. The world seems so quick to hail medicine as the miracle when it is merely a stopgap (e.g. see here and here). The true miracles are Water and Love.
Where drugs are hailed as the miracle, violence often follows. This can be drugs that have the side-effects of increasing violent behaviour, such as antidepressants. Or it can be that organised crime flourishes (e.g. see here, here).
"The problem with the biomedical paradigm is that it assumes pathology is located in the body, when in reality it is often a symptom of impoverishment, exploitation and discrimination. If we want to take healing seriously, we need to pay attention to power." (DrGuddiSingh, 13 November 2020 tweet)
The medicalisation of Farming includes the widespread use of antibiotics and antifungal drugs. We need to get the most-used weedkiller glyphosate out of our bread and our bodies. We need to return to some form of Ecological Farming (e.g. Natural Farming, Organic Farming, Biodynamic Agriculture).
‘Our food and farming system is stuck on a chemical-reliant treadmill and we need it to stop. Pesticide use is increasing dramatically – despite industry claims to the opposite. Along with scientists, we increasingly believe that there is no safe dose for human exposure to many pesticides and research indicates that they are playing a significant part in the catastrophic biodiversity crash.’
(Soil Association email 16 September 2018)
The medicalisation of Nature happens as drugs leak into ecosystems (e.g. see here, here, here, here, here [cocaine & more, medical drugs & long-banned pesticides], here), as antibiotics are used routinely in factory farming (e.g. see here), as sun lotions kill seas (e.g. see here).
Our overreliance on the medical model of chemicals - rather than simpler, natural, ancient ways - has created another existential crisis, that of declining fertility (see here, here). Forever chemicals don't break down in the environment or the body. 0% sperm counts by 2045 is predicted! Yet no-one acts.
We are poisoning ourselves in ignorance, for convenience and greed.
A Spiritual Perspective
People nowadays rely more and more on medicines. We dislike to have a headache, or any other ache in our body. Whatever happens to us, we do not react by fasting - but by taking all kinds of medicines into our system. We want fast relief, as we are far too busy to care for our bodies.
With medicines and drugs, you have to be very careful. Initially, you will feel stronger with these drugs. The chakras can look more beautiful, with the solar plexus becoming like a huge, gleaming solar disc and looking very strong.
But then through this overactivity, the centres begin to regress. Once the situation goes beyond a certain limit, chakras show brown, then reds, then show black, and then crack, as the energy starts to move out of its geometrical pattern.
This disturbance then adversely affects the body chemistry.
(Adapted from Lilla Bek, How to Clear Chakras, track #1, 8m18s; excerpt)
The Pain Epidemic - A Poor World Exception
There is perhaps an exception to demedicalise.
This is an invisible 'pain epidemic' in poorer countries like India, where only 2% receive adequate pain relief. Annually, around 60 million people endure avoidable agony. (BBC, posted and accessed 21 May 2018)
This is due to opioids, the cheapest and most effective painkillers, being unavailable. This is due to the abuse of painkillers by richer countries (mentioned above), so that poorer countries heavily restrict access, for fear of an addiction crisis.
But surely pain relief needs to be available to those who really need it?
Or perhaps we need to legitimise better pain relief as in CBD (a non-psychoactive component of cannabis)? Also see: here, here, here, here.
More on Healthy Lifestyle & Demedicalise!
Most illnesses presented to doctors have shifted from being acute to chronic problems (Budd and Sharma, 1994 cited in Lee-Treweek and Stone, 2005; Sharma, 1992 and Cant and Calnan, 1991 cited in Cant, 2005), which modern medicine is poor at handling (Kelner, 2005). Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is more appropriate to these chronic conditions, whereas modern medicine is suited to acute conditions (Kelner, 2005).
So, there is a need for Integrative or Integrated Medicine, where the bulk of a health system is CAM-based, and where individuals practise far more self-healing practices:-
Malhotra also states that over-diagnosis and over-treatment is "the greatest threat to our healthcare system." In the UK, he says that at least £2 billion is wasted annually on unnecessary tests and treatment. (Wikipedia, accessed 25/9/2016)
Maybe after reading this, you may understand why some become 'An Enemy of the State' (posted 2016, accessed 25 September 2016). Due to the money involved, the author Robert Redfern distrusts: Government information; Medical and Pharmaceutical research (e.g. see here); and the spokespeople of the Food Industry.
The Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) = Demedicalise!
Societal collapse is another reason to demedicalise. The longer that Rich World governments ignore or greenwash the CEE, the closer societal collapse looms - and its arrival is accelerating.
Where are you going to get your medication if society collapses? There are no GPs, no chemists. There are no more painkillers, no more sedatives, no more vaccines.
Surely it is better to rely on natural systems? Time to learn to live in harmony with nature now, instead of relying on Big Pharma and orthodox medicine?
Embrace the wisdom of the tribal person!
The sooner you demedicalise, the less shocking will be the transition to societal collapse.
References & Resources