Do you really have to treat everything?

Not only since the health care reform, the question arises whether in fact always everything must be treated, whether the "feasibility craze" of medicine does not shoot often enough beyond the target. Unlike the ongoing discussion about the benefits and associated costs of medical treatment, the question of the extent and extent of treatment is best addressed to the critical patient.

With treatment seven days, without treatment one week

A good example of the fatal consequences of a true "over-treatment" are the resistance of certain bacteria to antibiotics. Especially in the 80s was often prescribed for colds and virus-related infections antibiotics. To prevent so-called secondary infections, namely bacterial infections as a result of virus infections. Together with an inconsistent intake practice, the antibiotic gluteal causes certain germs to stop responding to antibiotic drugs.

In the worst case, this can lead to the death of seriously ill people. Meanwhile, the treatment regimen for the "banal infections" has changed a bit. Today, the treatment of symptoms is often in the foreground - an approach that can often be carried out with simple means.

The disease "give time"

In contrast, the attitude of many patients has not changed. The visit to the doctor is often equated with the desire for immediate healing or at least improvement. It is often forgotten that even "simple" colds and the associated self-healing process are subject to a rhythm that is controlled by biological and physiological factors.

For example, the body reacts to the attack of a virus by mobilizing the body's defenses. For the body to meet the attacker properly, it must be clearly identified and the "right" defenses produced. And for that the immune system needs a certain amount of time. This temporal sequence and the physiological processes can only be influenced to a limited extent.

For colds, it is better to give your body the appropriate rest period and not to ignore the feeling of tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion. Who ends his doctor's visit with decongestant nose drops, cough syrup and possibly fever-reducing agents, then goes to bed with a rest period and not in the preparation for the next marathon or in the plane overseas.

Advice or stumbling blocks?

Many patients are certainly not overwhelmed to judge the meaning, extent and scope of their therapy. However, they often rely on instructions and advice without expressing their own concerns and considerations and discussing it with their doctor. Treatment instructions and their adherence can only be successful if they are adapted to the patients' circumstances - which, in turn, also requires the cooperation of the patient.

However, anyone who already knows in the consulting room that certain medicines are out of the question for him or that it is not possible to carry out a treatment in the prescribed form should be open about this.

The open communication between doctor and patient is the basis for a successful cooperation between the two - and this may also include that the doctor discourages treatment or the patient refuses treatment or asks for alternatives (including conventional medicine).

Patients are vulnerable

The question as to whether and how much treatment a patient needs is often difficult for physicians to decide as well - if they do not want to expose themselves to not having offered everything to the patient. For example, pregnant women are often told that they are over-burdened with preventive check-ups or diagnostics in a form that is difficult to refuse.

Despite the fact that pregnancy is not a disease, modern medicine is both a curse and a blessing at the same time: it can heal many things and even more, but the ethical burden is immense. Pregnant women who are aware of the well-being of their unborn child do not want to expose themselves to the responsibility and the reproach of not having done everything for their child when in doubt.

So they may take on tests and examinations whose consequences they can not really estimate. The results of such examinations (eg child malformations, hereditary diseases) can make them serious decisions (abortion yes or no), to which they are hardly able to cope mentally.

Anyone who chooses amniocentesis or the triple test must first be fully informed about the consequences that the results may have and what they may mean for the father, mother and child. This is a task for society as a whole: it is the task of research and medicine that investigations and tests are possible. How their results are judged is a challenge for the whole society.

Drug abuse and weighing the funds

Patience and common sense are needed when people deal with themselves and their health. The quick grasp on the painkiller instead of root cause research and treatment is an example of this. It is not uncommon for one pill to become a drug addict that aggravates the cause of the condition.

Certain diseases and their treatments are also "fads" that change over the years. The drug "Ritalin", for example, is prescribed for patients with attention deficit disorders. The phenomenon mainly affects children. Within the last few years therapy with Ritalin was used significantly more often.

The question must be whether we may live in a society that is becoming increasingly intolerant of such disruptions and seeking a quick solution to the "problem". Alternatively, one should consider whether one must "treat" (in the sense of change) the society in which such disturbances suddenly accumulate. In fact, there is no evidence that the number of sick children has risen so dramatically.

Also, the long-term effects of the drug have not been explored and the opinions of the experts about it are far apart. Parents and physicians are therefore well advised to rethink all treatment alternatives thoroughly and to decide together for a path.


Should one leave diseases untreated? No of course not. After all, people are being cured with modern medicines and therapies, or lead a significantly better life. Do you have to treat everything? Not even. But illness does not make you under-age - patience and common sense should not be ignored in case of illness.

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