6 ways to live medication-free

6 ways to live medication-free

Prescription drug use is on the rise. According to a report published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of prescriptions filled each year increased 30 percent between 1999 and 2009. The report also says the average American fills 12 prescriptions per year.

While prescription drugs can be helpful and life-saving, a growing number of people avoid taking prescriptions whenever possible. And with the overuse of antibiotics and risks of side effects, severe allergies, and drug interactions, there are good reasons to limit prescriptions when it’s safe to do so. But what if you want to live a medication-free life? Is it possible to be healthy and live a long life without the aid of prescription drugs?

It may be—if you start young, make healthy lifestyle choices and focus on prevention.

Dr. Tony Hampton, a primary care physician with Advocate Medical Group in Chicago, recommends the following ways to live a healthy, natural life:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. When it comes to our diet, most of us know what to do, but we find doing it easier said than done. If you want to stay healthy without medications, eating well is one of the best, most important ways to do that. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods. These include fresh vegetables and fruits; nuts; eggs; lean, grass-fed meats; grains; and beans. And stay away from chemicals too. Although you can splurge on treats sometimes, avoid processed foods, including processed sugar and sugar substitutes, most of the time. Also stay away from saturated fats and transfats.
  • Exercise. A healthy diet is important, but so is a comprehensive exercise program. Ideally, you should get some form of exercise every day, especially if you have a sedentary job. Talk with your doctor about how to fit a well-rounded exercise program into your life. You will need to get aerobic exercise along with strength training and core strengthening exercises. And if you can, include high-intensity activities as well.  
  • Take steps to reduce stress. The negative effects of stress, even “good stress,” are well known throughout the medical world. Stress can lead to and exacerbate a long list of health conditions. You can eat right and exercise, but if you don’t address your mental and emotional health, you will never experience optimal health. Every one of us, even those who don’t realize it, is affected by stress. But it can be managed. Find the stress reduction techniques that work for you. Yoga, meditation, talk therapy, massage, prayer and spirituality, social support, getting outside and participating in some forms of exercise can go a long way toward combating stress.
  • Avoid toxins, pollutants and chemicals: There are toxins and pollutants all around us, so avoiding them may be nearly impossible. But if you want to treat your body the best you can, try to stay away from things like toxic household cleaners, bug sprays, pesticides, air fresheners, soaps and more. There are a number of nontoxic alternatives available on the market for household items. Also, if you can, stay away from heavily polluted areas, and have your water supply and your home checked for toxins. 
  • Get some vitamin D. There are two somewhat conflicting schools of thought about the sun. Some experts say that any sun exposure without sunscreen is dangerous and should be avoided, while others say that we should spend at least a few minutes outside in the sun without sunscreen to make sure we get the much-needed vitamin D the sun provides. If sun exposure is not an option for you, talk with your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements. 
  • Get high-quality omega-3 fatty acids: Experts say that it’s important to longevity that you consume animal-based omega-3 fats. Some believe that it’s the predominant reason Japanese people live longer than any other group. Talk with your doctor to find out whether you should take omega-3 supplements, and if so, which type and how much.

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  1. Katie Renz

    It’s nice to know there is so much we can do now so that we can avoid medication in the future. Hopefully a healthy lifestyle will keep me healthy in the future too!

  2. I agree with this, but worry that it can be taken too far. I have relatives that refuse to take the drugs they need following serious health events. I know that prevention is everything, but it’s just as important to find a doctor you trust and take the medications, if prescribed.

  3. I consistently do the first two, try to do the next two, but haven’t had any meat in more than 4 years. The research on vegetarian and vegan diets in regards to overall health seems to contradict the benefits of omega-3s from animal sources. There are a few ways to get them from plant sources: chia, flax, and algae come to mind. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-health/fish-isnt-the-only-omega-3-source-the-best-plant-based-omega-3-products/

  4. I strongly condemn the overuse of prescribed drugs especially physicians must take the notice is patient overdosing or not. On the other hand, the use of opioids in medical drug should also be limited. However, these tips are very useful to live medication free life.

    Juan Reek – PR Manager at https://www.futuresinrecovery.com/towanda-pennsylvania/

  5. I have not taken any medication in the past three years. I have good immune systems and I hardly get sick. My body fights and recover fast to common cold and infection. I am a 45 year old woman with 2 kids. I am mostly medication free since I was a toddler.

  6. I am currently, taking 2 different kinds of medications: 1) for thyroids and, 2) pain pills called “Diclofenac” for arthritis. I’m suppose to be on a 3rd one for over active bladder. However, other than over the counter cold medications, I’ve never taken any other kinds of medications. Why must we take medications, and do we need to take them for the rest of our lives? I was told, once on medications, you’ll be on it for life. I’m one, for not wanting to take medications for the rest of my life, but have not been living a healthy lifestyle. I am now, 58 years old, and am in need of taking better care of myself and my health. I have 4 adult sons, one of which, is in a group home, and the other 3, well, they live with me. They need to be on their own, but haven’t been able to because, I don’t have the necessary finances to do so. Furthermore, I can see at my age, I am in need of some assistance for myself, as I have several issues, that may possibly, requires assistance from outside the family, to assist me with. Please, if you have any form of resources, I’d greatly, appreciate it.

  7. I am 59 years old and never been on meds. Recentl” Bloodwork shows I have borderline high cholesterol. I changed my diet, lost weight and it came down in 5 months 28 points to 207. I am determined to get it down to below 200. Is should be possible for older healthy adults to not be on meds. I would like to grow old without medications. For women the problem is once our body doesn’t make estrogen health issues can manifest. Estrogen protects our heart and bones.

  8. Its great to hear that you can live life without medications. If only doctors had the same idea. I have so much stress from going to doctor for check up, so when my bloodpressor was higher than what doctor wanted, he was ready quickly prescribe bloodpress medication. Every time I go to clinic I get prescribed another medicin. I have already dropped all foods which are containing any sweeteners and go for a walk and do excersize every day. Then I went yesterday to renew the prescription and he prescriped another medication again, even I have not had any bloodtest yet. My stress levels are getting bad, even can not sleep properly, because thinking how I get out of this problem. I feel that because I am older person, doctors think that push them full medication so they die faster. I am determined that I prove them wrong with natural way. I can not trust doctors anymore.

    • With all due respect to medical doctors, the truth is that they can only recommend a prescription medication. It is up to us to research that medication and consider other (more natural) changes that can lead to a resolution. We must know our bodies and be our own advocate. If you’ve never tried it, find a Functional Medicine practitioner. While also MDs, these providers focus on underlying cause and not just on symptoms.

  9. I agree with so many of the people who have taken the time to post their thoughts/experiences. I’m 65 and take NO medications and will never take meds again unless injured, if I have a major injury I would consider Antibiotics.

    I have had so many negative reactions over the years from prescriptions. I was prescribed adderall for ADHD and ended up with cavities along my gum line from Dry Mouth which I have learned is a side effect from many drugs. Check your drug labels for Dry Mouth! …

    Studies have finally linked Thyroid issues to mental health issues. Wow, therapists and Dr are making a fortune from patients that need Thyroid support, natural supplements or teas, like lemon grass. They don’t have mental issues, they have Thyroid issues which is the gland that naturally produces your hormones (affects moods/crying/easily frustrated), melatonin (helps you sleep) which can cause major fatigue from lack of quality sleep. And your Thyroid controls your body temperature (effects hot flashes, night sweats and feeling too cold).

    I ended up with Hypothyroid and learned that Sooo Many People like me have False Thyroid test results and believe their thyroid is working properly when it’s not. Google false thyroid test results and you will see it’s true.

    Lithium supplements can affect/damage your Thyroid – Google searches support what I read and personally experienced. So sad, so many people are given Lithium for mood/mental issues which then damages/worsens their Thyroid functioning properly, which then causes them an array of additional health issues.

    Think thyroid if you are having mood swings, hot/cold flashes, sleep/fatigue issues. And please ignore false thyroid test results 🙂

    I hope this post helps others and I wish everyone a good, healthy and happy life! 🙂

  10. I am on two medicines and I tried to get the ok to go down on one of them and my doctor refused and I think that she doesn’t know that there are natural remedies for my condition.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.