Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tackling the Disease and Disorder Model

Chronic syndromes and disorders seem to be taking over our human community. We certainly have had our share of these attached to us through our extensive journey through the medical system. There are many moving, dynamic parts to the disease and disorder model that is central to our current medical system which is at least loosely-linked to the welfare of the community.

The medical system is primarily a "for profit" industry. Let's put to the side, for the moment, the amount of hospitals and clinics that have been running in the red for years. The free market insists that this "for profit" model is necessary to inject efficiency and innovation in the system. We're not going to argue here against what is largely accepted and is the reality of our current situation.

Innovation is absolutely a critical component to the medical industry. We need new medications, new procedures as the physical threats to human beings continue to adapt and new threats immerge. This is also where we see the infusion of high costs associated with innovation. Somehow, those expensive innovations become the default choice by our doctors, even for medical issues that have been around for centuries.

The new class of syndromes and disorders are not based on a single-pointed problem. There are no absolute tests for most. Look at fibromyalgia. The "test" for this includes the physical touching of over 20 spots on the body. If you have a range of sensitive spots in those areas, they diagnosis you with fibromyalgia. At least that "test" isn't expensive, but we could be mistaken.

However, what is fibromyalgia? How do you rectify a problem with no single source? It's a blanket term for something that the medical community simply has no good answer. Certainly, you can go on some super expensive new medication that somehow alleviates a great deal of the symptoms, but what's the underlying problem?

Let's peer into the psychological field of study. You have your attention-class disorders, like Attentiion Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We've all heard a great deal about how these are running rampant in our children. Oh yes, there's a test that involves answering many questions. Once again, there is not a single source to the problem. It's a blanket term for what medicine has few answers except for the application of many pills.

Let's qualify this discussion. These are real problems and real issues for many people. They are not just in their head or made up problems for most. It makes sense that anyone would look to others, especially medical professionals, for solutions to problems that seem overwhelming and that our community says to just get over it so nonchalantly and disrespectfully.

The "for profit" nature of the medical business demands innovation; patients demand immediate relief; companies want to make money. It's very logical why the system is set up in this way and why it costs so much.

A good deal of what's missing here is patience and understanding. Our bodies and our minds are dynamic systems, constantly undergoing change. We begin to experience the slightest discomfort and immediately seek to cover it up. How will we ever rectify the underlying issue if we cannot feel anything about it?

Pain and suffering are hallmarks of our human life. Even if you don't focus on pain and suffering, they still exist. If not for us, for members of our community. Cells still die; cells still divide and multiply. The key here is to focus not on the pain and suffering, but what that is trying to tell us about our bodies and our minds. Covering it up is certainly a large part of the problem. Treating something that is natural as foreign is very troubling to us, and this is what most people demand when seeking assistance from the medical community.

Discomfort is telling us something about what we're doing and what we have done. It's trying to tell us to take a closer look at our lives and how we're living it. We find this process full of joy and renewable energy. Instead of focusing on the pain and the suffering, the symptoms of ignorance, we make an attempt at understanding the true source of that pain and that suffering.

The process is what's important here. As long as we focus our minds on finding an answer or the source of what's going on right now, we have the chance and the opportunity to actually figure it out, root out the problem and move on with our lives, unencumbered. If all we do is cover up what is still there, another symptom will undoubtedly present itself in our daily life.

What I'm after are real solutions, not something you have to swallow everyday. I believe that mostly, the answers come from within because that's where the problem originates. The problem is ignorance. Covering up ignorance instead of dispelling it is a large reason why so many of us suffer incessantly everyday of our lives. I'm lucky to have left that dis-ease and dis-order model behind.

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