Issues in Treatment and Response to Treatment

Sharing of medicines (Indian and biomedical) is common within clan groups and extended families. Pharmaceuticals may be stopped by the American Indian when s/he feels better, and “saved” to self-medicate if the problem recurs.

There is also some anecdotal indication that benzodiazepines and anti-depressants (SSRI’s) may have a stronger effect at lower doses in the American Indian population in general.

Many American Indians will take Indian “medicine” concurrently with Western pharmaceutical medicines, as Western health care tends to focus on body parts and disease systems rather than on the person in need of healing.

Indian medicine considers the individual’s: spiritual, emotional, mental, physical, and relationship state, and may consist of ritual, ceremony, special songs, fasting, sweating, herbal and /or animal medicines, avoidance or inclusion of specific foods, natural elements, or situations, usually prescribed by a medicine person, spiritual advisor, or diagnostician, depending on Tribal tradition and availability.