Pharmaceutical vs. Non-Pharmaceutical Treatment

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About Pharmaceutical vs. Non-Pharmaceutical Treatment

Treatment can broadly be divided into two types: pharma and non-pharma. As the name suggest, pharmaceutical therapy comprises of administering a number of medicines and alternate medicines on the patients whereas non-pharma therapy primarily entails the use of other forms of therapies that do not involve any medication on the patients. There are some other forms of care that are offered for the patients like Holistic, 12-Step, Non-12-Step, Inpatient, Outpatient, Halfway House etc. It is upto the patient's preferences and requirements that which option he chooses to go for.

Pharmaceutical treatment is the more “traditional” form of therapy. Most patients, doctors and caregivers are used to it and imagining to cure without medicines is very tough for most patients. However, there are a number of non pharmaceutical therapy methods that have evolved over time and taken the front seat. In some specific disorders, non-pharma therapy is actually more suited and effective as compared to pharma therapy.

Drug free therapy is mostly employed in psychotherapy, physiotherapy and in treating ailments that do not have a medical cure. Psychotherapy includes therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and learning treatment whereas physiotherapy includes alternate therapy forms like acupuncture, acupressure, and Yoga and chiropractic treatment.

How Pharmaceutical and Non-Pharmaceutical Treatment Can Help

Pharmaceutical treatment is suggested when the patient’s vital stats cannot be managed without administering medication onto the patient. Pharma therapy is best suited to regular “brick and mortar” ailments that are well documented and have a defined set of drugs for the condition. Allergies, post-surgical treatments and nursing wounds require pharmaceutical therapy. For instance, if you have had a fall and scraped off the skin from your limbs, you will need to administer oral antibiotics and apply an antiseptic on the wound. This is a simple example of a situation in which you need to administer medication onto the patients.

Pharmaceuticals have evolved over the last 3 centuries and there have been many life-saving discoveries (like penicillin and polio vaccines) that make them imperative for use in some conditions. Drugs are used not only to speed up the process of recovery, but also to prevent the patients from acquiring other conditions. Most pharmaceutical therapies are centered on curbing the progress and diseases onto subsequent stages. Pharmaceutical therapy is also used as an add-on to non-pharma therapy in order to complement non-pharma therapy and hasten the recovery process.

Non-pharma therapy especially that given to patients of psychological and behavioral disorders, is mandatory in some conditions. Behavioral disorders are treated more effectively using non pharmaceutical therapy as compared to medication. While medication may be administered to patients of behavioral disorders as an add-on, psychotherapy and CBT are the main therapy options given to these patients. Medications, especially SSRIs are administered onto patients of behavioral disorders in order to restore the balance of hormonal fluids in their brain. Apart from that, these conditions cannot be cured without non-pharma therapy.

Non-pharma therapy is also employed in cases where the patient may be allergic to one or more components of the medication used as a part of pharma therapy. Narcotics and other substances like hydrocodone and benzodiazepines may have allergic reactions on patients. In such cases, alternate non-pharma therapy may be administered on these patients.

Pros of Pharmaceutical Treatment

  • Quick and well-defined solutions
  • The behavior of medicines is mostly predictable
  • Elaborate studies have been done in this regard
  • Seasoned professionals

Pros of Non-pharmaceutical Treatment

  • Inexpensive
  • No side effects
  • May work wonders even in cases where medication doesn’t work

Cons of Pharmaceutical Treatment

  • Expensive
  • Medication is not present for a number of disorders
  • Medication may have side effects
  • Patients may experience allergic reactions

Cons of Non-pharmaceutical Treatment

  • May not always be predictable
  • Require highly skilled professionals
  • Less documented
  • Less prevalent


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