Before You Take that Drug

Before You Take that Drug

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Darrell Royal was a very successful football coach at the University of Texas. He was often quoted for his pithy comments on football and on life. He said, “Three things can happen when you pass and two of 'em are bad.”

Well, this statement can be adapted to prescription drugs. There are at least four things that can happen when you take a drug and all but one of them are bad. These are not good odds.

  • The drug will not actually help;
  • The drug will create harmful side effects;
  • The drug will allow or cause the condition to worsen;
  • The drug might actually help.


The Encarta Dictionary says that it is “A natural or artificial substance given to treat or prevent disease or to lessen pain.” For thousands of years, people have tried to treat their physical and mental feelings of pain or distress with substances like:

  • Molasses and honey
  • Hot soup
  • Black tea or coffee
  • Chants and spells
  • Smoke from certain wood
  • Castor oil
  • Peppermint
  • Poisonous plants
  • Herbs
  • Human and animal urine
  • Snake poison
  • Arsenic
  • Mercury
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • And now with drugs like OxyContin for pain and the various psychoactive drugs like Zyprexa and Lexapro

Many of these treatments had some effect. Maybe it was the placebo effect or maybe it was that the conditions would have improved anyway. But many of these treatments had dangerous side effects. Morphine was used for pain in the Civil War but it created morphine addicts. Heroin was later used for pain relief and it created addicts. Cocaine was used for treating many things but it created addicts. None of these three treatments actually cured anything but simply hid the symptoms.


While we may laugh at the use of some of the “drugs” listed above, we must remember that our forebears did not have many of the medical tools that today allow doctors to diagnose and discover the true cause of many physical and mental ailments—if they are actually used.

The thing to remember about the “modern” drugs is that their purpose is to attack something and eliminate it. They are to “kill” the symptom and hopefully, but not often, eliminate the cause. Because of the long list of side effects that people routinely experience when taking any drug, the use of the drug should be the last thing and not the first thing you try.

Many times when we experience a pain or discomfort or even anxiety, it is not an indicator that there is something seriously wrong. As my grandmother pointed out, many of these ailments will go away on their own if you eat properly and get some rest. The “drug” was simply to ease the symptoms—like stomachache—until your body remedied itself.

However, if the ailment or anxiety persists, then it is proper to consider this a signal from your body that something may need repair or treatment.

There are some physical conditions that can be quickly addressed. For example, if you have an infection, then taking an antibiotic may eliminate or “kill” the infection. If you have an operation and want to “kill” the pain for a few days while your body heals, then take a “painkiller” like OxyContin or Vicodin. Remember that the “painkiller” is a real description of how the drugs work but they don’t cure anything; they just temporarily block and “kill” the pain signals to the brain so you don’t feel the pain.

Unfortunately, the prevailing medical protocols seem to concentrate more on reducing the amount of time that the doctor spends with the patient than with the doctor actually trying to find the real cause of the patient’s complaint. They see themselves as “killers” of symptoms, not eliminators of the cause. This makes a difficult task even more difficult because if you don’t take the time to really understand the complaint, how can you most effectively address it?

For example, we know that if you are tired or anxious, it could be that you are just not getting enough sleep, not eating properly, drinking too much alcohol, or having a problem with your job, and this is stressing you out. Or, these may be symptoms of thyroid problems. If the doctor really probes and eliminates all the external possible causes, then it is time to check for internal causes.

But how do you check? We know that simply doing the basic TSH thyroid tests prescribed by most doctors may not detect a thyroid problem. Rather than order other thyroid tests that may show a problem, the protocol for many doctors seems to be to prescribe a psychoactive drug that will not treat the underlying condition but simply attempt to “kill” the symptoms.

Of course, if you have an ache in your shoulder and someone drops a heavy object on your toe, you will likely forget the shoulder because the toe hurts so bad. This is what sometimes happens when some of these drugs are given. You develop high or low blood pressure, you gain or lose weight, you have headaches, or you get insomnia. These seem to indicate that there is really something wrong, when in fact it may only be a worsening of the undiagnosed condition and the side effects of the drugs you are taking to “kill” the symptoms. Had you handled the cause and not the symptoms, you would not have developed the side effects and would be not on seven prescriptions but may be drug-free.

If you are injured and have pain, the accepted medical protocol is to prescribe narcotic painkillers not for a few days but for years. After Purdue Pharma was forced to plead guilty to criminal charges for attempting to hide the addictive side effects of their “legal heroin” and pay $680 million in fines, no medical doctor can possibly not know that they are going to create patients that either become addicts or, at the minimum, physically dependent (have painful withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop taking the drug). No one disputes that the drugs do nothing to “heal” the underlying injury, and the injury will normally just get worse if it doesn’t heal on its own.

The right thing to do is not to dope people up to block the pain signals or attempt to mask symptoms with psychoactive drugs, but to actively seek to find a treatment for the actual cause which will result in a patient being drug-free and more ably functioning in life. These drugs have such dangerous side effects that doing anything else condemns the patient to a life more and more dependent on drugs with a decreasing quality of life.


The author James Michener said, “An age is called Dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.” The evidence is clear. The resulting medical protocols are resulting in more and more people on more and more drugs and their quality of life is worse not better.

When you see a doctor, make sure that the doctor actually spends the time to understand your problem and then is dedicated to finding and treating the cause. If all the doctor is interested in doing is spending under seven minutes, the new medical model, with you and then prescribing a dangerous drug (and all drugs are dangerous, some just more than others), then find another doctor. Often the types of doctors that you want to find are known as Integrative Medicine Doctors or Holistic Doctors.

However, even with these doctors, there are some that have adopted the title but not the philosophy. They will say that they are in favor of finding the cause, but if the cause is not readily apparent then they treat the symptoms.

Most people select their medical doctor in a way that they would never purchase a car. When they are ready to buy a car, they talk to people that have the same car they are looking to buy and they often research it on the internet. They then ask a lot of questions of the salesman.

Instead of simply seeing that the doctor has the proper initials after his or her name, ask questions of the doctor’s staff and office. See if they can let you speak to someone who had similar complaints to yours and was successfully treated by the doctor. There is no excuse to be ignorant of such an important decision as choosing a doctor who may determine if your quality of life is going to be good or one that is descending into a type of hell.

At Novus Medical Detox Center, we actively urge all of our patients to see Holistic or Integrative Medicine doctors who will ensure that they get not only a thorough physical but actual treatment if there is a physical problem. We have seen this advice pay off for many people who detoxed from opioids like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet, and benzos like Xanax and Ativan, from alcohol and from psychoactive drugs like Zyprexa, Seroquel, Paxil and Lexapro. Many of these patients had underlying untreated physical conditions producing symptoms that the drugs and alcohol were masking.

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