The Psychology of Alternative Medicine: An Interesting Observation – Guest Blogger Dr. Pragnesh Vachharajani

I am sure we all see this day in and day out as doctors. The society is full of socio-medical advisors; I at times will call them Super doctors.

For any chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, obesity etc. whenever you prescribe something the patients and relatives read it with eyes wide open and throw series of questions about:

  • Effects
  • Side effects
  • Do we have options?
  • What if we do not take this?
  • Can we postpone the treatment and wait? The list at times is endless.

The same patient or relative when they receive friendly advice about some food/food supplement natural remedy or something miraculous which claim to cure the aliment, they take it without even blinking eyes. [s2If !is_user_logged_in()]…

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This could be an advertisement advocating something impressive in newspaper, experienced patients sharing their secret etc. They even do not apply simple logic and ask some basic questions, they just take it.

This is really surprising. I do not understand why only allopathic medicines are always thought to have side effects or harmful for body.

For a patient, their knowledge is almost same in all pathies, then how come they are making judgments, is an interesting thing for research.

They fail to understand that by consuming without knowing about content of the product, or the creditability of manufacturer, they can be in deep trouble. Either it can lead to complications or a worsening control of disease.

Anything that looks fancy, making tall claims about its result, endorsed by celebrities, who do not know anything about the product, has to be seen with caution and you should consult with a doctor before taking the miraculous option.

They never ask questions and just take it. I have seen that if they are dissatisfied, surprisingly they will not tell others.

On the other hand, if they feel that they have benefited with this, they become a brand ambassador of the product.

In social media, we see lots of bogus posts which absolutely lack any scientific evidence, but they forward it diligently in the name of social service.

I always explain to my patients that, whenever they come across such advice or product, to be aware of :

  • Anything that claims too much
  • That promises a fortune-cure of disease which is never heard of
  • Repeated big advertisements with celebrities
  • Claim that current treatment is bogus and this option is best
  • Claim to give results without doing anything: like formulas or pills or drinks promising weight loss without diet control etc.

Your feedback, suggestions, observations are welcome.

Dr. Vachharajani is an experienced practicing family physician in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, with a special interest in obesity and lifestyle-related disorders. With a genuine passion and enthusiasm for healthcare information technology (HIT), he has championed the cause of using HIT in day-to-day clinical practice. In addition to his, MBBS, he holds a post-graduate certificate in environmental and occupational health (PGDMCH).

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3 Comments

  1. dr suresh chhatwani
    Posted Jul 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    true,well said.people think that allopathic antibiotics are heavy/costly have more side effects.pain killers are harmful for kidney.,but same person/patient take medicine OTC-which are much harmful than suggested by qualified doctors.
    Ayurvedic and HOMEOPATHIC medicine patient consider safe BUT THEY do have side effects-SOME TIMES more serious[like heavymetals in ayurvedic formula//or homeopathic dose/potency not properly taken].
    patient education is required.

  2. Dr. Valluri Ramarao
    Posted Sep 2018 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    i agree, but many patients believe Ayurveda( other alternative medicines) have no side effects unlike modern medicine. In contrast many studies proved these medicines contain many heavy metals causing membranous glomerolus nephritis and brain tumors. we have to break the false belief about alternative medicine . My congratulations to you for bringing this topic.
    Thanks.
    Dr Valluri Ramarao,DNB

  3. Boney Cheriyan
    Posted Apr 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    The topic you have just blogged on is also a pet peeve of mine as well. All medications in allopathy are tested rigorously before introduction into the market and they additionally undergo scrutiny to find out any long term side effects of the medicine which was not initially evident. I don’t see any such safeguards for so called homeopathic and Ayurveda medicine.
    So putting your faith in alternative medicine instead of allopathic medicine is like shooting an arrow in the dark as opposed to shooting in a lighted room.

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