Other Pages On

health, law, culture, psychology

Last updated: May 10th, 2011


Overmedication is the misuse or prescription of medication in situations where less medication would be more beneficial to the patient.

Root causes of overmedication:

Overmedication is not a mechanical problem that can be easily corrected by new guidelines or procedures alone. It is a chronic problem which exists within both a cultural and economic framework. The cultural framework for overmedication is that in American society, people often want a "quick fix". The economic cause of overmedication is that prescription drugs generate huge profits, whereas most non-drug approaches (such as diet, exercise, rest, and some "alternative therapies") either generate no profit or very low ones. The profit motive introduces a huge incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to shape the culture surrounding medicine as much as possible, mainly through advertising.

Doctors and other healthcare professionals are inundated with promotional materials for various prescription medications. Even when doctors think they are doing a good job of sorting through or filtering out this material, the fact is that they are exposed to a lot of material about the latest prescription medications, whereas they are exposed to much less about nutrition, movement-based therapies, herbal therapies, lifestyle-change treatments, or alternative therapies.

Patients also become part of the problem to the degree to which they become sucked into the culture that looks to drugs for the answers. Patients can often pressure their doctor to prescribe something, which can result in a doctor reluctantly prescribing a medication when in that gray area where they are waffling between prescribing or not prescribing a drug, even in cases where they may be leaning against the choice of prescribing drugs.

Common conditions that are overmedicated or improperly medicated:

Preventing and stopping overmedication:

There are numerous ways in which one can combat the problem of overmedication, both in terms of your own personal choices, and policy decisions.

Personal approaches to preventing overmedication:

Policy approaches to preventing overmedication:

Comments are moderated. Follow Cazort.net's comment policy for your comment to be approved.

blog comments powered by Disqus