..The Intuitive Times
Healing the Heart


Help Yourself

by Sandra Church, M.E.(Psychology)

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An ancient Greek philosopher said, ‘Some remedies are worse than the disease.’ This is still true today, though our remedies are hopefully far more advanced (and less painful) than those of the ancients. However, sometimes it does seem as though the treatments we face are worse than the diseases they are designed to cure. Depression, for example, can be one of those diseases. Health Canada has identified depression as an extremely common problem, and is encouraging people through advertisements to seek help. There are many marvelous drugs available to lift depression or anxiety, but the medication is not the cure. A cure can only come from the individual. When medication starts to work and lifts the depression or relieves the anxiety, then it is the responsibility of the individual to find the reasons for the problems. Once found, the source of the depression must be addressed.

Too often, it is life situations that are the cause of depression or anxiety. Perhaps the issue is a bad relationship, money worries, or a job situation. Sometimes it is easier to ignore the source of the problem and treat just the symptoms. This often leads to drug dependency or having to increase the drug dose to mask the bad feelings. A drug therapy should be viewed as a way to give the person the energy to make some changes so that the source of the problem is addressed. A bad job may have to be changed, or you may have to deal with a bad boss. A poor marriage may need to be addressed, which may be very difficult.

We have many good drugs that do their jobs well. Antibiotics treat infections, insulin keeps diabetes in control, thyroid hormones treat hormone deficiency. Medical research is always looking for a cure for uncountable diseases, and the medications that control or cure are invaluable. But, it’s still up to the individual to look for the source not the problem, and to help themselves by living in the most healthy way they can manage. As an example, the insulin-dependent diabetic who does not eat a good, healthy diet will not obtain the optimal benefits of the drug treatment.

Our personal responsibility is to behave in a healthy manner especially if there is a disease involved. The arthritic person who may benefit from medication also needs to include healthy and continuing behaviour, maybe exercise or regular walking. ‘I can’t do that! I have arthritis!’ can be the excuse for an unhealthy lifestyle, which may include things such as overeating. We can help ourselves even when there is disease, and we can do more than just treat the symptoms.

We can learn as much as possible about the challenges we have. For example, if someone has diabetes, there are often clinics with nurses and nutritionists to help the individual make decisions about diet and other behaviour. If the challenges are depression or anxiety, professional therapists may help the individual make decisions about what to do, whether it’s about work, relationship, or family issues, or addictions.

There are many people who are diagnosed with a disease which may be the result of an addiction (i.e. tobacco use, alcohol use, food misuse). Their doctors may prescribe drugs to help mood, digestion, or mental problems, but these drugs usually focus only on the symptoms. In addition to medication, the doctors need the individuals to help them and help themselves by addressing the source of the problem.. What’s the point of a breathing medication if the patient continues to smoke?

Unfortunately, we can’t lay the blame for medication not working well on the medication if we don’t address the source of the problem. It may be what we do or don’t do which makes the problem worse. People often like to blame the doctor for not giving them the right combination of medication, yet the person continues to overeat, smoke or drink. Take charge and help manage your own by utilizing not only medication, but also information and recommendations of professionals and support from family and friends.


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