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Why Feedback Loops are so Important for Medications and Supplements

When you give your pup a piece of cheese for fetching a stick, you're using B.F. Skinner's Operant Conditioning, or what is more commonly known as positive reinforcement. And of course, humans are animals that are also motivated by reward. So why is this "feedback loop" so important in being compliant with medications and supplements?

Certain medications relieve symptoms, and so they have obvious feedback to the person taking them. Examples include sleeping pills, medications for Parkinsonism and pain relievers. You can feel the effects after taking them. But others have no obvious feedback, including medications for blood pressure, diabetes and eyedrops for glaucoma. Because you can't feel those, you need the doctor to tell you whether what you're taking is working.

Supplements, such as VisiVite AREDS 2 eye vitamins, are even more challenging. Because AREDS 2 supplements are not by definition drugs and are prohibited from claiming that they treat a condition, you have to rely on the research by the National Eye Institute and others to trust that they have benefit. And there is only one way to know whether your macular degeneration is remaining stable or not - see your eye doctor regularly. Only then will you get the feedback loop and the positive reward that you need to help you remain compliant taking your eye vitamins. 

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