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    Is job satisfaction too much to ask? Part 2

    Dennis MillerDennis MillerIn Part 1, I wrote about the disillusionment some pharmacists feel about their jobs — the ones who feel starved of creative opportunities and professional satisfaction, and feel devalued by the mechanistic point of view that defines them as pill-processing machines. Now I want to look at another source of disillusionment: the faulty premises of modern medicine, with its focus on quick fixes rather than on basic disease prevention.

    See also: Is job satisfaction too much to ask?

    Reason and usefulness

    If you are the type of person who carries on a continuing conversation in your brain about whether people need so many pills and whether they wouldn’t be better off with major changes in lifestyles, you might not be too happy as a chain-store pharmacist. On the other hand, if you like being slammed for your entire shift so that you day goes by more quickly, you just might be able to tolerate working for a chain.

    A district supervisor once told me that I think too much about what I’m doing. He implied that I should just function on autopilot from the time my shift began until the time it ended. I guess my frustration showed.

    In my opinion, there is a wide variation in the rationality and usefulness of the prescriptions we fill, and it spans the entire spectrum from the best and most useful drugs in the pharmacy to those that seem to be no more than pure marketing hype.

    To my way of thinking, modern medicine at its best is exemplified by the use of insulin to treat type 1 diabetes and by the proper use of antibiotics to treat serious infections (not the common cold). Insulin is a life-saving drug. People with type 1 diabetes would die without access to this drug. Antibiotics, when properly used, can be truly miraculous drugs. Insulin and antibiotics are the drugs that initially gave modern medicine its exalted status.

    In contrast to dispensing insulin and antibiotics, how do you feel about filling a raging river of prescriptions for anxiety, depression, psychosis, insomnia, constipation, excess acid, obesity, menopausal symptoms, and erectile dysfunction?

    See also: Are pharmacists pill-happy?

    A disorder for every drug

    Have you noticed that a lot of new medical “disorders” appear to be springing up lately?

    Its critics believe that the pharmaceutical/medical establishment is engaged in a massive effort to label common life experiences as “disorders” in order to sell more pills.Could some interested parties be uneasy about the legitimacy of these diagnoses? Is that why the term “disorder” is used so freely — to justify attempts to win public acceptance for certain products?

    This is medicalization and pathologization of normal human experience.

    Dennis Miller, RPh
    Dennis Miller is a retired chain-store pharmacist living in Delray Beach, Fla. He welcomes feedback at [email protected] His books ...

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    • BrittanyRadomski
      Mr. Miller, While I mostly agree with your sentiments regarding the onslaught of "lifestyle" drugs, you must be careful not to suggest that mental illness is something that patients can think their way out of. For me and many others, an SSRI IS a lifesaving medication. Despite a healthy lifestyle, I still need to take medication every day. I've often comforted my patients by explaining to them that their disease is no different than diabetes; we don't stigmatize diabetics for needing insulin, so we shouldn't view the need for depression meds as a personal weakness.