Heart Patients Not Taking Free Medicine?

A study recently showed that a large percentage of heart attack survivors did not take the medication prescribed for them, even if it was free! This shocked the doctors involved and “the study did not examine why people didn’t take their medications”. Some do forget, and some worry about side effects but that’s not the whole story.

In my experience, people are reluctant to take medication because they equate it with dependency.  Americans value a sense of independence so highly, without thinking it through – they want to be independent of medications. Also, many people equate mediations with “drugs”. I have frequently tried to point out the difference without success. Another factor not mentioned in the article I saw (AP, Marilynn Marchione, week of 11/14/11) is that many are fearful of addiction and don’t understand the physical mechanisms involved. One more factor is the high level of distrust of pharmaceutical companies, which is well-founded now; the distrust used to be left over from grandparents’ experiences with doctors trained before there were many good medications (snake oil days), but now we have many good reasons to be distrustful which I won’t go into. These factors are highly interwoven and largely subconscious.

Independence is highly valued for good reasons. However, we also need to be dependent in some ways. Many people understand this when it comes to family relationships, (healthier ones that is) but don’t get it when it has to do with medications.

This is another aspect of the importance of balance, not only in our emotional lives, our physical lives too. One thing I have found helpful for people to recall is that we didn’t have these medication choices in the past. It is vital to become highly informed about our medication choices and this is often helpful when it comes to making a good decision. We are very fortunate to be living in a time when we have so many choices, even though it is often overwhelming.

Try to think more positively about yourself, remind yourself that you deserve to treat your body well. I recommend putting premium gas in your tank!

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