46: The Overmedication of America

The Overmedication of America

In this episode, pharmacist Mary Lee Snodgrass talks about how and why the trend of overmedication has become so prevalent in America. As a second generation pharmacist, Mary Lee has a first hand account of how prescriptions have doubled and tripled over the last few decades.

After arthritis spread through her body, her sisters (who were also pharmacists and getting into nutrition and alternative methods) suggested that the deeper issue could be caused by a leaky gut. She ignored their diagnosis for a while but when Mary Lee started to examine her diet she couldn’t help but realize that this actually could be the issue. She switched up the food she was eating, began taking supplements and probiotics, and overtime she was off her medications and the arthritis was gone. This is when her journey with natural wellness began.

The Overmedication of America

Since then she has studied the two-fold problem of how doctors prescribe medications for every condition and illness (the drug cascade) and patients who do not want to take responsibility for their health.

Being on both sides of traditional and natural medicine, Mary Lee gives us great insight on the problems prescriptions cause by adding to and triggering additional medical issues. From her presentation “The History of Pharmacy According to Bag Size” to her explanation of how symptoms we experience are actually affected by deeper problems that need to be fixed, we’re uncovering the roots of our health issues.

The history of pharmacy according to bag size

We do have choices, but it’s going to take both the doctors and the patients taking responsibility and not just one side or the other.

Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Get Mary Lee’s informational PDF!

To help you discover your own health answers, Mary Lee has offered a free PDF download which shows the cascade effect that can occur from taking just one medication. To get this along with other past bonuses, click her to join the Wellness Mama Content Library of free ebooks and resources.

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Reader Comments

  1. Mary Lee,
    Thanks for advocating healthy lifestyles and providing scientific dats to reinforce your claims. Thus, we are what we ingest.
    Warmest Regards,
    David

  2. Hi there, I’m having trouble downloading any of your podcast episodes on iTunes, even though it shows that I’ve subscribed. I’ve tried contacting iTunes/Apple support, but they say they only give podcast support to the owners of the podcasts…. I hope the problem can be fixed, I’d love to be subscribed!

    • I’m not sure why you’re having the issue, as it’s working fine on my end and have tested it with multiple devices and accounts. I would recommend updating your software, unsubscribing, then resubscribing to see if that fixes it.

    • Cindy, you might also try deleting your cache & cookies (it annoys me when someone tells me that but they can actually be the issue). If your OS is Windows, iTunes for Windows requires Windows 7 or later – make sure your system is up to date. Check to see if you have a partial download that failed to complete, that might need to be deleted before continuing, it could potentially stop any further downloads. If you are accessing the podcasts through a browser add-on try disabling/enabling it, or even uninstall.reinstall. If none of that works, if you have access to a different browser use it, that should do the trick.

  3. Thanks for this podcast. On a weekly basis we see this “diagnosis” in our office. Conventional medicine keeps adding medications until it has covered all the side effects the last medication produced. Often, my best “new” therapy is to remove a few meds and back off.

    Having practiced conventional medicine for years, I know all too well the problems associated with this approach not to mention the costs of so many meds. That is one of the things I love about functional medicine. Functional medicine aims at root causes, with the hope of resolution, not just ongoing band-aids.

    Keep raising people’s attention to this issue.

    Blessings,
    Dr. Eric Potter

  4. My favourite food is (was) meat. I hated (still do) cooked vegetables. At 17 I started with back problems. By the time I was 24 (when the hospital finally came up with a diagnosis of arthritis) I could hardly move my foot from the accelerator to the brake for the pain in my hip and knee. In all this time the only help I received from the medical profession was stronger and stronger medications that were more debilitating than helpful.

    I took the personal decision to look at diet as a means of pain management and, for various reason more accident than design, ended up ‘going vegetarian’. It took a while but one day it dawned on me that I had been pain free for months. I stayed vegetarian.

    Around the same time I reconnected with a friend whose arthritis, despite medical interference, had become so crippling she had been confined to a wheelchair, curled into a near enough foetal position and needing 24/7 care. She had also followed the diet route but, controlled through a specialist private diet clinic, hers included organically reared meats with lots of mineral and vitamin supplements.

    Astounded by each other’s regained mobility we arranged to meet at the local sports centre for a game of squash. Neither of us has looked back since.

    Whilst I have great sympathy for the over-whelming nature of the task taken up by its well-intentioned members, the biggest obstacle that we had both faced was/is the medical profession’s blinkered over-reliance on pharmaceuticals. All the years of training it puts its practitioners through is focused upon treating ailment not cause. Pharmacopoeia as become ‘big business’ where profits rule rather than the patient. Until that power is taken away real people are going to continue to suffer.

  5. Hmmm…I don’t do podcasts. I would have loved to read an article, but podcasts take too much of my time. I can read the whole thing in less than 26 minutes. That’s 26 minutes of my life I can’t get back but could gleen the info in more like 10 mins reading it.

    • You can download the transcript (along with the audio) at the top of the post. I recommend listening to podcasts while doing mundane tasks such as cleaning, folding laundry, or while driving. That way I’m able to learn something new while also getting work done! 🙂

  6. Hi! Wondering if there is a way to share the pharmacy bags image on my facebook account? It’s a pretty powerful way to communicate this issue and I’d love to share it. Thanks!!

    • Hi Donique, feel free to share the image on your page as long as you link back to this original article. Thanks for asking!

  7. Where is the written format of this ? You usually have a readable format to your podcasts for those of us who prefer to read, not watch or listen to newer media options. I am one of THOSE! This sounds very much like something my 84 year old mom desperately needs to hear, in written form, from me. We have been having conversations regarding doctors, medical procedures and prescription drugs: she feels that doctors are all ‘god like” and that the medical profession actually heals and is therefore to be heeded to the ultimate: even to excluding vitamins, minerals and supplements that her doctor says “NO” to!!! (vitamin K2 for absorption of vitamin D3!!! and a magnesium/calcium powder to be taken for helping her sleep!!!) She won’t listen to anything I say regarding this, and believes that her doctors will never lead her astray, or worse yet, that they are ALWAYS right and have all the answers for her ills.

    • Click the button at the top of the post that says “Download Transcript” and you can download a pdf of the written transcript of the podcast.

  8. I came to this same conclusion over a year ago and have started to eat healthier. However, I do object to the idea that over-medication is a result of patients just wanting a “magic pill” or not wanting to take responsibility for their health. I have been practically begging for a way to reduce my medications, but instead, the GP clinic to which I am assigned (NHS) insists they want to give me more! I am already taking a whole drawer full of meds and supplements (to reduce the side effects of the meds) and just before Christmas, they were insisting that I needed to start on statins, due to border-line cholesterol levels. That was it for me, I simply said no. You should have seen the doctor’s face! You are refusing this medication? she asked incredulously? Yes, I am refusing it. I have no desire to live with the side effects of cholesterol medication. She dutifully informed me of all the ill effects of not taking her well-intentioned advice. When I persisted, she noted on my file “patient refused medication” — well, I suppose that lets her “off the hook” and makes it all my responsibility, which is how it should be. However, she and her colleagues have been steadfastly and consistently insisting I take more and more medications to resolve my chronic cellulitis (edemic infections), arthritis, pain, and now high blood pressure and diabetes while I have been asking, begging, for help to get well, not just medicated. But how can I take responsibility not knowing when or whether I can stop taking the prophylactic antibiotics and other meds? I’m not a pharmacist or a doctor. Now that I am on these medications, how do I get off of them without some medical assistance? But where I live (Derbyshire, UK) I have been totally unable to find anyone to give me that guidance. So, all I can do at the moment is to try to get my diet right, take as many supplements as are required to balance out the meds, and save up some money to pay for private treatment (at £250 per hour) so that someday, I might be able to jump off this merry-go-round. Don’t tell me about patients taking responsibility! Tell me about doctors who don’t know you, your medical history and only give you 10 minutes every three months to discuss which meds they will put you on next! And it doesn’t sound like it’s any better back home in the States these days, except perhaps for more availability of holistic medical help (bet it’s just as expensive, though).

    • As someone living in Leicestershire, I can totally relate to the problems you’re having with medication. There is a huge difference between ‘treating’ a patient (which should take the whole person into account) and just prescribing more and more medication (my drs prefer the medication method). Many of the side effects of my medications are dangerous and then I need more meds to the correct the side effects and then so on…it seems that it is far easier for my drs to dish out more and more meds, than refer me for the physiotherapy/hydrotherapy I’ve been told (after my rheumatologist suggested that my GP refer me) would reduce the need for some of my meds etc. While I accept that two of the meds I’m on are life-saving (more dangerous for me to be without them as I have lupus, vasculitis, myositis) and I’ll happily take these, I feel that the rest of the meds I’m on could be reduced with other means. The drs don’t understand when I say that I feel overmedicated. They just think we’re being difficult patients. Grrr!!!

  9. Thank you Katie and Mary Lee!

    I’m all the more grateful that I’ve chosen food as my medicine and if need be turn to herbal medicine or the like and that I have done my best to avoid the pharmaceutical products for over the past two and a half decades! Taking responsibility for one’s health and well-being can be a long learning process, especially if one was raised to believe that the wisdom for health resides outside of the individual.

    Although I don’t personally have a problem with over-medication I have known individuals who have suffered from this problem. It appears to me that these people do not really think for themselves and instead assume that the doctor knows what’s best for them. That kind of behavior is risky business!

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