Can You Avoid the Doctor by Taking Vitamins?

avoid the doctor

Medical doctors have very strong opinions about the value of vitamins and supplements. Some of them as helpful tools for preventing illness. Others see them as a new way to practice alternative medicine. Then there are those who discourage their use entirely, except for the standard daily multivitamin.

This leaves the patient in an awkward situation because if that person is serious about finding an alternative to traditional western medicine, a doctor can’t help them. Doctors can’t prescribe vitamins and supplements like they would medication. In fact, they can’t even recommend that you take them. The vitamin and supplement industry isn’t regulated like the drug industry, so if a doctor tells you to take vitamin C for a cold, it is really just an informal suggestion; not a prescription.

Talking to a doctor about vitamins puts them in an awkward position as well. Whether they believe in the healing powers of vitamins and supplements or not, if you come to them with a medical condition they have a legal obligation to prescribe the correct medication for re\medying your situation. If not, they open themselves up to all kinds of malpractice lawsuits. Even when doctors do get creative and try to prescribe an alternative drug or treatment that they know will heal someone, the insurance companies will often refuse payment — at least until all the traditional protocol has been followed (which generally consists of drugs).

This leaves patients who want to explore alternative treatments for illnesses to fend for themselves. However, there is alternative help if you want to try options other than traditional medicine. While a doctor can’t recommend a heavy vitamin regimen, he can give you tests to monitor your progress. Treating an illness with vitamins or supplements takes a lot longer than methods using traditional medicine. For example, it can take up to two years to lower cholesterol using only vitamins and supplements. As long as you get regular tests from a doctor, you can monitor your progress periodically.

Always tell your doctor which vitamins you are using and how much you are taking. He may not like it, but unless he has a valid medical reason for why you can’t take them, he’ll have to understand and approve of your method of trying to take care of yourself. If he doesn’t, then find another doctor. Alternatively, you can talk to your pharmacist about what you are taking and what you hope to accomplish. These professionals can be very helpful in assisting you in choosing the right vitamins and supplements and checking to make sure that any vitamins you are taking don’t conflict with your current medications.

You can also go to a holistic practitioner if you are looking to remedy a minor situation or are looking for preventative medicine help. Holistic practitioners are licensed professionals who can recommend more specific vitamins and supplements and more radical forms of alternative treatments. The vitamins and supplements they will recommend will be more organic and potent, so make sure to follow their directions specifically and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any side effects or other symptoms. Holistic practitioners are caring, knowledgeable professionals, but they aren’t substitutes for medical doctors.

important vitamins and minerals

This is the right way to go about using the healing power of vitamins and supplements to help prevent or cure a serious illness. If you suspect you have a medical condition, you should never try to heal it by yourself by using vitamins and supplements. Not only is this dangerous, but it can be life threatening. Vitamins and supplements are mainly used to prevent illnesses and promote overall body strength and health. They are not to be used as a substitute for medical drugs or treatment.

Even when they are, they are best used under a doctor’s supervision, usually in addition to more traditional medicines. So, I wouldn’t recommend staying away from doctors altogether, although the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has a ring of truth for a reason. You should, however, make sure your doctor is knowledgeable about vitamins and supplements and believes in their incredible natural ability to heal. That way you know you’re both on the same page, which is important in any relationship — especially the doctor-patient relationship.

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Doctors May Not Always Be Able to Do What’s Best for You

I’m not saying don’t go to doctors. I’m not even saying all doctors are evil.

Usually, very good doctors (although there are some bad ones out there) have their hands tied by the insurance companies. The health insurance companies are the ones who are really calling the shots when it comes to medical treatment in the United States. 

dangerous medicine

We like to think that the professionals to whom we entrust our health are worthy of that trust, but that may not always be the case.

Now, let me be clear. I’m not saying don’t go to doctors. I’m not even saying all doctors are evil.

Usually, very good doctors (although there are some bad ones out there) have their hands tied by the insurance companies. The health insurance companies are the ones who are really calling the shots when it comes to medical treatment in the United States. 

Don’t believe me? Let me share my story with you.

After the birth of my second daughter (my second c-section), I was having a great deal of abdominal pain. Now, I have a high pain tolerance (I barely felt the labor contractions with my first child, and the nurses didn’t believe I was having a baby until they looked at the contractions on the monitor), so when I say I was in a great deal of pain I mean I was in PAIN.

It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand. It hurt to lie down. It just HURT — all the time, to the point my OB/GYN thought she was going to have to go back in and see if she’d hit a nerve during the procedure or something.

But first we had a treatment course we had to follow, per the insurance company’s rules. 

First up, Neurontin (gabapentin), an anti-seizure medication that’s also used to relieve nerve pain. The doctor reasoned that if she’d struck a nerve, the Neurontin should help, and it was covered by my insurance. Not really knowing any better, I agreed to take the drug.

I wish I never had.

The Neurontin took care of the pain … maybe. I was so high, I didn’t care about the pain. And I started to not care about a lot of things that I used to. I was just that high.

But there was one thing I DID still care about … my then two-year-old daughter, who I noticed was looking at me with a confused look on her face, like, Where is my mommy?

health motivation
My two biggest reasons for wanting to be my healthiest self.

I quit taking the Neurontin that day and called my doctor to tell her so.

So, THEN my OB/GYN referred me to a pain specialist (also covered by the insurance), read QUACK. He’s the guy, according to my mom’s cousin (who is also a doctor), who they all send their “crazy” patients to … the ones they just can’t seem to help any other way. Crazy patients, crazy doctor. Makes sense in a strange sort of way. Except, I wasn’t crazy; I was really in pain.

That doctor prescribed Lyrica (pregabalin) – also something that’s supposed to help with nerve pain.

You know what the Lyrica did? It put me to sleep … all the time. Fortunately, my oldest was still in daycare, and the youngest slept most of the time too, anyway. But I didn’t stay on that medicine past two days. I’d rather deal with the pain than not be able to function at all.

FINALLY (and by this time I’d lost my job AND my short-term disability benefits), the OB/GYN said the insurance company would cover physical therapy … and THAT is what helped me. No more pain. No more drugs. Just good, healthy strength-building and stretching exercises.

I was pain-free within a couple of weeks and wishing I’d been able to start the PT sooner!

I learned a valuable lesson through that experience. Doctors, even if they genuinely WANT to help you, may not be able to give you the help you really need if the insurance company says that’s not what should be done.

So now I try to avoid going to doctors at all costs — not because I distrust doctors, necessarily, but because I know who’s really in charge of my health care decisions, and I don’t trust them. I know they’re just in it for the money.

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