Feeling sick? Have pain? Go see a doctor. He’ll fix you up in no time.
That’s the way that many people have come to view illness. In our modern society, the majority of people have grown used to thinking of doctors much like they would a mechanic. If something isn’t working properly, go to these specialists. They’ll do some tests and know exactly how to fix the problem. Nothing could be simpler.
Unfortunately, these high expectations don’t always match the end result. Quite simply, doctors aren’t always able to produce a magic pill that makes everything all better. This isn’t the doctor’s fault. It’s not a lack of empathy or an unwillingness to help people in crisis. The majority of these specialists do the best they can to help people live happy, healthy, productive lives.
Cause and Effect Medicine
What people don’t often realize is that contemporary medicine works on a cause and effect basis. Essentially, treat the symptom and it will disappear. Have a headache? Take a pill. Really, it’s just common sense.
This way of thinking works extremely well with acute conditions. In such cases, the symptom experienced points directly to the cause of the discomfort. For instance, pain in the arm is found to be a broken bone. Once the fracture is located, this injury can be treated. In time, the arm will heal and likely be as good as it was before the incident.
The Complexity of Chronic Illness
Of course, this process becomes far more complex when it comes to chronic conditions. Instead of a single symptom, patients often have a variety of complaints, many of which could also be used to describe a number of potential health problems. In these cases, the doctor has the challenging job of figuring out which condition or conditions are present and then provide appropriate treatment to alleviate the problem.
More often than not, there is no single miracle pill to rid the body of disease. Instead, prescription drugs are given to reduce or eliminate specific symptoms such as pain, nausea, or sleeplessness. Sometimes, additional medications are given to reduce key factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or depression that may increase the potential of future incidents. In this way, treatment is not a cure but a way of regulating the body.
It is important to note that doctors see good health as the result of living a healthy lifestyle. In other words, if a person eats right, exercises regularly, and maintains a healthy weight, then he or she should never be in a doctor’s office except for regular check ups. In this way, the cause of all illness is seen as a result of unhealthy behaviour.