Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Co-Dependency Conundrum

My previous post on self-efficacy was a bit of story-telling, perhaps enjoyable for some, but without the direct parallels with which some may prefer.  So let's mix it up a bit and start with a question.

What's the difference between buying a frozen "nutrisystem program" delivered to your door for weight loss and learning to eat real, whole foods yourself?

Option #1 - Nutrisystem.  I think it would be way more fun for you to spend a minute pondering why this is a bad idea than for me to lecture you.

How much processed garbage can we sell to people?

Option #2 - Real Food.  In this case, you would be learning a sustainable way to live healthfully.  This is the journey my friend and while it's certainly more effort than having perfectly portioned frozen food arrive at your door for consumption, it's also a healthier way to live.

This may take a little more preparation, but dang, look at that yummy fish!

It's been said there are two kinds of people.  There are the people who delineate everyone into two groups and those that don't.  But really, there are people who live their lives becoming increasingly dependent (perhaps closed-minded and entitled as well) and those who live their lives always working towards growth and learning (perhaps well-versed in learning from failures).  We all know there is such a thing as a healthy dependency and a very unhealthy dependency.  We all depend on food, it's just part of being a biological organism.  But Nutrisystem is actually answering a different problem, it's not really a food problem.

Underlying the so-called food problem is a misconstrued perception about health.  Nutrisystem is really treating your lack of self-action.  That's a fact.

Getting off the food discussion, we have the same problem in healthcare.  Big Medicine isn't that all different than Big Food.  Big Medicine has done an excellent job of creating unnecessary and unhealthy dependency in our culture and it's not just with pharmaceuticals or surgery.  Being that I am a physical therapist, I want to relate this to the world of injury, chronic pain, and even athletic performance.

How many athletes rely on treatments to get through their training?  How many non-athletes rely on treatments to get through their life?  Some athletes use their treatment sessions with their massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor, etc as help them keep going.  So they go often, pay often, and they receive some sort of temporary relief.  Anyone see a huge-ass hole in this theory of healthcare utilization?  Where in this madness is the personal growth and learning supposed to occur?  At some point you should be learning enough that you no longer require treatments for preventable issues.  In other words, over time you make mistakes and you learn to do better.  You understand how to train smarter, how to warm up and recovery properly, how to listen to your body and adjust, and how to improve or maintain your own body.  Maybe you even learn a thing or two you can do in your lifestyle to make your training or other goals easier to attain.

Underlying the so-called treatment problem is a misconstrued perception about health.  The treatments you rely on are really treating your lack of self-action.  That's a fact.  Aside from major trauma or a genetic disorder, there are few reasons why you would need to keep seeing someone for the same issue indefinitely.  The problem is that Big Medicine thrives on this dependency.  It happens with medications, it happens in relationships, it happens in your therapist or chiropractor's office, and it happens with every bit of advertising to which we are exposed.

My job is to teach you, not treat you.  If we have come to treatment and we do not progress to teaching as soon as possible, we are wrong.  If you don't leave your healthcare provider with more knowledge, understanding, empowerment, and a plan of action for becoming healthier and more independent in the long run, folks we are doing it all wrong.

Said another way, in most cases you don't need us, you need to learn the lessons, learn from your mistakes, learn how to make it better, and move on already.

Yeah Big Medicine is kind of like that...

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