Are CAM Treatments Effective?

As someone who wasted tens of thousands of dollars on ineffective CAM treatments over the years, I admire the work that you and your colleagues do here to educate people about the importance of science-based medicine. This blog has been very helpful for me as I continue to disentangle myself from the web of CAM beliefs that held me captive for two decades.

With regards to the topic of fake diseases, however, I feel compelled to point out that part of the reason I was so susceptible to diagnosis of fake diseases is because I had real symptoms that conventional medicine ignored because my tests were all “normal.”

There are few things more frustrating as a patient than being told there is nothing wrong with you when you can barely function. While CAM practitioners ultimately failed to help me, they never denied that my condition was real. Ultimately, it was a CAM practitioner who referred me to an MD open-minded enough to acknowledge that, while technically in range, my labs were low enough to indicate borderline dysfunction that might benefit from treatment.

My story is ultimately a happy one in that this treatment has literally turned my life around. Yet doctors like mine are apparently rare; every day I read anguished stories in web forums from patients in similar condition who can’t get their doctors to acknowledge that so-called normal lab ranges do not tell the whole story.

You wrote that “establishing that a set of signs and symptoms is a specific syndrome or disease is an extremely important function of scientific medicine.” This seems reasonable, yet in my case, those criteria were far too rigid. Doctors who strictly followed those criteria and ignored my symptoms fed my belief that conventional medicine was useless and sent me straight into the waiting arms of sympathetic CAM practitioners.

I would love to see more scientific research done on my condition that looks at why there is such a disconnect between “normal labs” and patient function. Unfortunately, since the drugs used to treat my condition are all cheap and off-patent, I don’t expect this will happen anytime soon. In the meantime, patients are using the Internet to share experience and information they can’t get from MD’s. Knowing what I do about the questionable value of anecdotes, I rely on these boards with some hesitation. But there is nothing like having a specialist ignore everything you say, imply it’s all in your head and suggest anti-depressants to make a person feel like they have few options.

I really wish that my own medical condition was cut and dried enough that I could rely entirely on the principles of science-based medicine for its treatment. Unfortunately, that level of science does not exist for me and millions of other patients with genuine symptoms that fall through the cracks of conventional diagnosis.

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About CareMan
I am the CareMan, have been for 7 years now. I really do care about YOU and getting YOU back to great, natural health, so long as you have an open mind.

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