Western medicine has created a strange dichotomy between the doctor and the patient. The doctor, of course, is the expert in this dichotomy, ready to give the patient the knowledge that they lack in order to improve their health. This knowledge usually lies in how to use diagnostic tools and prescribe treatments for the illnesses that are diagnosed. This method can be incredibly effective; there’s a reason our lifespans have increased substantially since the advent of modern medicine. The problem with the dynamic, however, is the perverse power structure it can create; a patient will look to the doctor for answers, and take what they say as law.
The problem is when the patient too rigidly complies with doctoral doctrine; imagine you’re in pain, and you’re prescribed a painkiller. This painkiller relieves the physical distress you’ve been having, but suddenly, it’s much harder to concentrate. You may just dismiss this as a side effect of the medication; after all, the doctor knows best, and that’s what they’ve prescribed. The trick is, the doctor doesn’t know best; how we feel is subjective, and if the fatigue from a medication is having a deleterious effect on your happiness or success, that’s something only you can tell the doctor about.
Our problem, then, is twofold: first, patients who go to the doctor may be under the belief that the doctor’s remedies will simply solve their problems, because the doctor knows best. Second, that patient may experience detrimental side-effects from treatment, but not have the time, energy, money or will to try other treatments or medications. This creates a loop; non-participation in one’s own health grows because whenever a patient lacks the resources or will to change a routine prescribed by a doctor, they simply justify their inaction with the mantra doctor knows best and keep bad routines.
The solution, then, is to re-evaluate your participation in your own health. Your doctor knows best how to diagnose you and what medications treat the symptoms of that diagnosis best, but they can’t know all of the mental, spiritual and social consequences of a particular treatment. They can guess and try to mitigate those consequences, but in the end if a medication leaves you feeling drained, something will need to change.
Holistic medicine addresses this by making spiritual and mental health as important as physical health; by prioritizing all three pillars of health equally, patients are automatically more involved in their own treatment. Talking about your subjective experience is essential do a holistic diagnosis, so you must be involved in talking about the solutions: what works for you, what doesn’t, what you’re willing to try, and why.
You want the best clinic for functional medicine in San Antonio; get in touch with us, and we’ll discuss how we can help you feel better.