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Risk vs Benefit
With every form of treatment there is always a possible risk as well as a possible benefit. Evaluating this can be easy or it may be difficult. With the help of your practitioner you can identify a number of obvious possibilities. Try not to make assumptions. If there are research studies ask who funded them. Was it a one time study? Remember to factor in common sense. Use your intuition as well. Most of all take time and ask lots of questions. Get second opinions or seek the advice of those you trust. This applies to self treating, western, eastern or any integrative modality.
When considering cost be careful not to fall into the, "I don't care my insurance is coving it" trap. This can make you less diligent. In fact, this is one reason why our insurance costs are so high. When people are considering paying out of pocket for treatment they are much more cautious.
Trends come and go. Stick with the tried and true. We recommend that you do not self treat with herbs or supplements. The assumption that these are harmless substances is incorrect. You can waste time, money and energy on them and cause more problems than you had before. Work with experienced professionals. Tell your practitioner everything you are taking or doing so that you can maximize the benefit and minimize the risks.
Here is a tool that you can use:
Ask About Your Care
by Linda Inch
Asking the following questions about your care will help you participate responsibly and discover what to expect.
If a test is proposed, you may ask:
- What problem are we looking for?
- Why this test?
- How precise and dependable are the results?
- What will happen next if a problem is detected?
- What will happen next if a problem is not detected?
When an intervention or treatment is proposed:
- Diagnosis: What is it? Why is it a problem? How serious is it? It treatment urgent?
- Treatment: Describe how it is done.
- Will it detect or solve the problem?
- If not, what will happen next?
- If I need treatment, what are the risks and side effects vs possible benefits?
- What may happen if I wait or do nothing?
- Are there any alternative treatments? Either medical or holistic?
(Ask again 2, 3, 4, & 5)
An emergency situation may make it difficult to ask these questions. You may request your caregiver tell you how urgent and serious the situation is.