Zapped by zolpidem: part 2 of 2
When we have a physical problem in the West, our first choice is to take a pill to fix it.
Not all people in the West, but most.
Pills are a quick fix.
Alternative medicine, also called integrative medicine, is getting more popular, though a long way from supplanting the predominant medical model.
Pills aren’t the only way to resolve a health problem. Most health problems are caused by a confluence of factors. If you can change one or more of the factors, you can often get rid of the problem.
Pills aren’t always the best solution. Pills have side effects, they’re expensive, and often they require special monitoring.
When you have a problem like insomnia with many contributing factors, you can change the outcome when you change one or two of those causes.
Medication isn’t going to decrease in popularity any time soon. It fits our scientific mindset to a “T.” We can test the results easily.
Before and after is clearly seen.
Group A gets the pill.
Group B doesn’t; perhaps it gets a placebo.
Does Group A still have the problem?
Yes, but maybe less of the problem than before?
The pill works!
Another incentive is commercial.
Pills are something to sell. It’s a nice clean, relatively uncomplicated business, as compared to going and massaging someone or advising someone.
After all the research is completed, pills are simple.
They can work wonderfully. The life extension and life-saving that go along with pills are truly one of the wonders of modern life. Curing, mitigating some horrific medical conditions should be a badge of pride for society that goes right up there with walking on the Moon.
Pills, in general, work almost too well sometimes. They work so well we don’t consider other methods, other formats for cures. We want to cure everything with pills when sometimes, we’d be better off if we considered other methods like behavior modification, nutrition, exercise.
We go and compare the body to a machine. It’s not. It’s a poor analogy. If you’ve got to use an analogy like that, you need to consider how it’s a damned complicated machine and while you might have a general owner’s manual, you don’t have one that applies exactly to your body. You’re unique, an individual. That’s both good and bad.
A lot of problems bedevil solutions with pills
For individuals, the problem of sleeplessness often has a lot of causes. Remove some of the causes, and you could have a solution.
Despite the preponderance of stories like last week’s, Zolpidem is the 60th most popular prescription in the United States. Almost 10.9 million prescriptions were written in 2020.
The stories should give anyone pause.
It’s important to note that not all the stories are bad. Often, when someone takes their medicine, they wake up as expected. They get the rest they were hoping to get and feel refreshed.
That’s a good thing, isn’t it?
The problem is when it creates other problems like addiction and being unable to sleep without taking it.
One can get dependent on it fast. Some people are very prone to this. They can go into withdrawal. They’ll shake, have various aches and pains, throw up, get scared without any reason, and feel like their heart is beating out of their chest.
For most people, that’s not anything they ever want to experience.
Others look at withdrawal symptoms like these are some adventure.
Zolpidem is legal. It has a medical use. Yet, people can take it and experience an altered state of consciousness.
Some of its reputation is due to abuse. You can snort zolpidem, inject it, or take it and purposefully try to stay awake.
Some people like to do these things because they’re bored and they find it fun.
Personal responsibility plays a role in life. Stupid is as stupid does, as they say.
What that means is that stupidity is evident in someone’s actions. When you’re stupid, you’re going to do foolish things.
Remove people behaving idiotically, and the number of stories of zolpidem fails improves.
Yet, as we saw in last week’s post, there are still many of these stories.
That this drug is still available when there are so many other things that we can do to make sure we get a full night’s sleep demonstrates that we, as a society, really like taking pills. Changing other behaviors are seen as being much harder or inconvenient.
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