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What better way to address the rise in prescription drug use than finding a practical alternative and looking through a higher, more spiritual lens at health?

Spirituality and Health: Deprescribing to be Healthy

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Have you heard of deprescribing? It means re-evaluating the medications you are taking and discontinuing those that are inappropriate or ineffective.

Health professionals have become increasingly aware of the over-reliance on drugs for health improvements, and deprescribing is a step in reducing this over-reliance. Alan Cassels, who evaluates medicine marketing by pharmaceutical companies, says he is seeing physician groups, medical directors in senior centers, and individual doctors getting serious about the problem of too much medicine. Concern about this issue has initiated a review of medical procedures and is prompting deprescribing programs, especially among the elderly where overuse of drugs is now a serious problem.

When I heard about this review, I thought of the work of Dr. Rita McCracken, who feels one of her major tasks is to discover her patients’ goals and to take a “scalpel” to any unneeded medication regimens. Her strategy calls for plans that involve the patient and a broad group of healthcare professionals who can address the goals of the individual – mind, body, and Spirit. The goal is to meet the healthcare needs of the individual, while acknowledging that many of these issues are not being successfully met with drugs. Thus she also endorses the need for deprescribing.

But what can take the place of the medication?

One possibility is prayer. In the late 1800s, Mary Baker Eddy found how influential a factor prayer could be in healing disease, and she wrote of her findings in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In it, Eddy explained the power of prayer and how healing was brought about by an understanding and demonstration of man’s profound spiritual identity, as taught in the Bible. This method, which she found in Jesus’ acts of healing, allowed her to heal herself and others who came to her for help.

Perhaps this healing approach could be likened to a spiritual “deprescribing.” That is, letting go of ideas and habits that keep us from truly expressing our spiritual identity as the very expression of divine Spirit, God. It can also mean taking the general physical approach to health we routinely use and exchanging it for a spiritual equivalent.

For example, if we are very concerned about nutrition and exercise, could we view these needs through a spiritual lens? I have found it very helpful to understand that as God’s child I am a spiritual idea, and all the good I need actually flows to me directly from divine Spirit.

For example, instead of taking advice on calcium intake or overindulgence of sugars and fats at face value, we could focus instead on the idea that we are truly nourished by the love of God. Instead of worrying about whether we’ve exercised enough, we can remember that we are walking with divine Love every step of the way. Each time there is a new physical prescription for how to be healthy, we could question whether it might be more effective to deprescribe that idea and turn instead to God’s spiritual prescription of divine qualities. Understanding this has certainly helped keep me healthy through a long career as an educator, and also brought me healing when I needed it.

There are many health researchers today finding evidence of links between spiritual aspects of life and the health of the individual. In particular, many, like me, have found that gaining an understanding of the Divine not only helps with physical health, but also has a major effect on controlling stress and tension and promoting happiness.

What better way to address the rise in prescription drug use than finding a practical alternative and looking through a higher, more spiritual lens at health?

photo © GLOW IMAGES

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About Don Ingwerson

Previously in the education sector as Superintendent of Schools, Don Ingwerson now serves as the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in Southern California and corrects misconceptions about Christian Science. Don is a frequent blogger about health and spirituality.

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