W6 Reflection: Clinical Medical Anthropology

I picked the intersection between clinical medicine and medical anthropology because I think if the biomedical culture embraced anthropological views it would be beneficial to everyone involved. Having grown up on a lot of pharmaceuticals, this peaks my interest in terms of finding alternate ways to treat ailment that would not involve an automatic prescription. For example, while I do have high blood pressure and understand that taking at least one medication for it is inevitable, I do feel if I my doctors would have taken a more holistic approach I could have reduced the number of pills I took daily. Having alternative strategies like control in diet, exercise, and maybe even meditation would have a positive complimentary effect along with medication.

If a doctor were to take an anthropological viewpoint I think it would help them to hold true to a motto I like to reiterate. That is ,” A doctor should not be measured by how many patients he puts in medication, but rather how many patients he gets off medication”. Examples from the course that I noticed were when some students touched on depression. In Western medicine, anti-depressants are over prescribed and easy to obtain. If the doctor took an anthropological approach he could reduce giving out medications in some circumstances by encouraging the patient to change their lifestyle. Whether that be their job, diet, or social interaction, I think you would only see positive results. This not only works for depression but for another main problem within our culture which is pain medication addiction. It is easy to get pain medication and even abuse it if you complain of something as simple as your shoulder hurting. In my opinion and probably along the lines of an anthropologist, pain medication would be a last resort. First lets try physical therapy, or massages, an overall more holistic approach that uses forms of healing found all over the world outside of western medicine.

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