The Language of Disease
The predominant conventional medical system in the United States has evolved into a system of labels and categories. Diagnosis and treatment is based upon fitting individuals into categories and protocols. In 2013, 7 out of 10 Americans were taking at least one prescription medication. This means that 70% of Americans have been given at least one label of disease. The result is a population that believes they are sick or dysfunctional. When discussing a patients’ medical history, they often say things like “I AM a diabetic” or “I AM an asthmatic”. “I have had diarrhea my whole life”, or “This is just how I am” is often followed by “I can’t go a day without my medication”.
What is your belief system?
When a patient is given a medication and kept on that medication for life, there is a belief system that is learned and reinforced. According to this model, once you have a diagnosis, a symptom or a label, it is unchangeable, permanent and you will have to rely on an external support in order to manage this condition. This has led to war vocabulary in the pharmaceutical industry, social media campaigns and a multitude of fundraising campaigns that will battle for a cure on our behalf. A battle implies an opposition, an invader that we need to take down, annihilate or suppress. This is consistent with a medical model that provides a string of medication categories that begin with “anti”: anti-depressants, anti-biotics, anti-coagulants, and immune-suppressives to name a few. If only that non-profit can find something smarter and more powerful than the human body and mother nature before it’s too late! Unfortunately we have created a system where patients are either doomed to chronic disease maintenance or somehow need to gear up for war and the fight of their life. People live in fear of getting a simple fever or common cold or virus.
What if we looked at things differently?
What if patients did not become their illness and identified their bodies as smart and effective rather than sick and dysfunctional? What if rather than being “anti” our bodies, we work with them to heal?
The human body, like all things in the natural universe, functions intelligently by design. The symptoms we develop, the diseases we have identified, are the body’s reaction to something that isn’t right. Naturopathic medicine is based entirely on the belief that the body is intelligent and that if given the right circumstances, it will always move in the direction of healing. If you cut your finger, does the blood not clot and the wound not heal on its own without provocation? This is not a novel idea. It has been a practice of medicine that was adopted long before many of our contemporary ways. When looking at our diseases, rather than fighting against our own body, we need to identify the cause of these symptoms and respect the healing power of nature.
Naturopathic medicine encourages the patient to trust their body. If a patient believes that they are their disease, if they ARE diabetic, healing can never occur and hope is nonexistent. Naturopathic Doctors give patients the tools for healing rather than weapons for battle against their own body. If you are one of these 7 out of 10 individuals who take a prescription medication, the first step to healing is to challenge your inner dialogue and your beliefs about your own health. Belief in the healing power of nature, this vital force, imbues the patient with strength and hope.
Dr. Katy Firisin is the medical director of Coastal Natural Medicine in Southport, CT. With over 20 years of experience in healthcare her practice focuses on gastrointestinal conditions, food intolerance evaluation, autoimmune conditions, cardiovascular health, and chronic disease. Don’t forget to vote for Dr. Firisin for Best Naturopathic Physician! Call 475-999-2032 or visit: www.coastalnaturalmedicine.com to learn more or to schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation.