Have you seen the ads on TV for all of the prescription drugs that claim to heal one ailment or another? It seems that these ads are all over the TV and claim to heal everything from depression and smoking to psoriasis and migraines. They seem to have the cure for just about everything nowadays.

Now, have you ever read or listened to the side effects for these drugs? If you have, you will find that many times it seems that the side effects are much worse than the ailment that these drugs are claiming to cure.

Would someone really rather be stricken with anal leakage than migraines? How about having suicidal tendencies instead of having a nicotine habit? Or perhaps, one would rather have clear skin and a stroke than have red and flakey skin?

I don’t have any one of these ailments, so I can’t say with certainty that I wouldn’t choose the drug and the side effects over the ailment. However, I can say that I wouldn’t voluntarily choose to have most of the side effects that these prescription drugs come with.

I personally prefer to keep from taking drugs, prescription or over the counter, unless I absolutely have to just for this reason. I have known people who have been on numerous prescription drugs, only to find out that the drugs were causing most of their problems, or that half of the drugs they were on counteracted each other.

I think we all need to pay a bit more attention to exactly what we are putting in our bodies and ask ourselves: Is this really helping me? Are the risks and side effects worth it? Is there anything I can do to help besides just swallowing a pill?

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.