The AMA just redefined obesity as a disease and now new research asserts that almost three-fourths of all Americans are on some sort of prescription drug. I could understand if the bulk of the prescriptions were for, say, kidney stones — but they’re not. It seems that the freest country in the world is also the most depressed.
Researchers find that nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half receive at least two prescriptions.
Mayo Clinic researchers report that antibiotics, antidepressants and painkiller opioids are the most common prescriptions given to Americans. Twenty percent of U.S. patients were also found to be on five or more prescription medications.
The study is uncovering valuable information to the researchers about U.S. prescription practices.
“Often when people talk about health conditions they’re talking about chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes,” Dr. St. Sauver stated in a Mayo Clinic press release. “However, the second most common prescription was for antidepressants — that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on.
How many millions of Americans suffer a legitimate chemical imbalance that requires anti-depressants and how many are merely taking anti-depressants because they’re desperately trying to mask underlying problems? It’s a good question. As I’ve attested in the past, it was often speculated that I had ADD as a child (turned out I just needed an attitude adjustment), and as an adult I had good friends try and get me to seek anti-anxiety pills (turned out I just needed a job more in tune with my long-term goals). I’m very familiar with the push to get someone to turn to prescription drugs. I empathize with those who take them for a number of reasons, but I think they should think long and hard about the root causes of their grief before going that route.
Let it be known: I am not disputing that there are cases where drugs prescribed by a medical professional for cognitive disorders are necessary. I am not saying that someone who takes prescription drugs is a bad person. What I am saying is that the sheer enormity of the numbers suggest that America as a whole has much deeper cultural issues that need to be addressed. Perhaps we spend so much time blaming Democrats and Republicans, rich people and poor people, gay people and straight people, white people and black people, etc. for the sad state of affairs we’re in because it’s a lot easier than looking in the mirror and addressing our own shortcomings.
The United States has more gadgets and gizmos than at any point in human history. We live like kings, even if we don’t realize it. And yet, almost 70 percent of us need at least one prescription drug? It gets mighty hard to worry about things like radical Islamic terrorism abroad when hundreds of millions of Americans here at home are hurting themselves in ways extremists could only dream of.
And with that, I will end with a quote from Rivers Cuomo: ‘We Are All on Drugs’