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Psychotropic medication is a critical issue in mental health. I've talked to hundreds of clients who were on psych meds. I'm going to share with you what I have seen.
To be sure, there are some 'success' stories. I'll list a few.
With stories like these, you might think that I'm an unabashed advocate of psychotropic medication. I'm not. I've seen too many other things. Some examples.
Psychotropic drugs always have side effects. They tend to stop working over time. Doses have to be increased. Medications need to be added. Medications need to be changed. It's a never-ending hassle.
Medications make it impossible to learn self-control. You instead learn to rely on the medication. Medications can eliminate the consequences of negative thinking and maladaptive behavior. They often reduce mental acuity and produce lethargy—especially with long-term use. So clients usually make no progress whatsoever.
I would like to tell you that your doctor is the best person to evaluate whether or not you should be on psychotropic medications. I can't. I think these drugs are over-prescribed. Way over-prescribed. When doctors tell their Christian patients that they should be taking psychotropic drugs, they are usually wrong.
In fairness to doctors, three facts should be noted: 1) Doctors are aware of the limitations of secular therapy. 2) They generally know little or nothing about the Bible. 3) They know that if they don't prescribe drugs—and something happens—they may be sued. And they will probably have to pay damages.
I'm not saying you shouldn't listen to what your doctor has to say. You should certainly give serious consideration to your doctor's advice. You should also do your own research. And you should also seek counsel from others—especially others who have a reputation for sound judgement.
In terms of obtaining counsel, recognize that the Standard of Care for just about any mental condition is psychotherapy and medication. Anyone with a license who says not to take the drugs is taking a risk in regard to licensure and litigation. So they can't really be objective.
When evaluating whether or not you should take psychotropic medication, consider the following:
Pharmacists are a good source of information for all medications as well as drug interactions.
I think parents should be especially cautious in allowing their children to be prescribed psych drugs. These drugs are much more damaging to children and adolescents than they are to adults. Psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz stated: "Giving a child a psychiatric drug is poisoning, not treatment." Home schooling is a much better alternative for serious behavioral disorders. Most of these will go away with time anyway.
If you are currently taking psychotropic medication, do not abruptly discontinue or reduce your medication without first consulting with your doctor. Reductions in the dosage of many medications should only be made slowly. Doing otherwise is dangerous.
One key question to ask a doctor is this: "If you were going to take your patient of of the medication(s), how would you do it?. And how fast?"
Also, if you are making any changes in your medication, you really don't know how you will be affected until after you make the change. It's a good idea to have someone nearby who knows what is going on. This way, that person will be in a position to help, if needed.
If you're thinking about discontinuing medication, contrary to your doctor's advice—but are not emotionally strong enough to say 'no' to your doctor—take a family member or friend with you to the doctor.
Some psychotropic drugs are even more difficult to get off of than street drugs. If you attempt to get off these drugs, you can expect your mental health symptoms to get worse before they get better.
If you decide to stop taking your psychotropic drugs—contrary to your doctor's advice—it is highly unlikely you will be able to find a licensed medical facility that will be willing to supervise the process. This is because they will view the medication you are taking as 'medically necessary' to treat an incurable chronic medical condition.
Even if a psychotropic drug is effective in reducing symptoms, it is still usually a bad idea. Psychotropic drugs make it impossible to learn to rely on the Bible to regulate one's emotions. And, when the medication stops working, you are very much out of control.
Psychotropic drugs can reduce the risk of death or injury, for periods of time, while they are working. Depression, for example, can be extremely painful—and suicide risk is a serious concern for anyone who is experiencing depression.
I would make the argument, however, that, over time, psychotropic drugs increase the risk of patient suicide. This is true for three primary reasons: 1) The drugs usually result in the person having to live in an unnatural, uncomfortable medicated state. The drugs deaden emotions, take away joy and may make the person feel consistently bad. Under such circumstances, life itself can become a burden. 2) When the medications stop working—which usually happens from time to time—the person faces the dual onslaught of painful emotions and no way to control them. This is a very scary predicament. And it's a dangerous predicament. 3) Taking the medications daily, over extended periods of time, usually results in physical health problems. Your body is trying to get the drugs out of your system for a reason.
Psychotropic drugs should normally be viewed as highly suspect in light of Scripture. That is because the Bible says: "By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life (2 Peter 1:3 NLT)." One thing I've noticed in therapy is that Christians on psych drugs usually don't make much progress.
Psychotropic drugs are commonly prescribed because secular therapy usually doesn't work very well.
So, should you use psychotropic drugs? I cannot provide a definite answer—there are too many variables. But I will provide some guidelines.
These guidelines assume that you know and have tried biblical interventions. And that you recognize that biblical interventions usually take time to work. Some problems, like anxiety and depression, may require years of effort.
I believe that psychotropic drugs should only be considered under the following circumstances:
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Discuss your individual situation with your physician before making any changes.