Last year I started to think a bit deeper about the topic of psychiatric medication. At the time, I had been working at a specific mental health clinic for a little over six months. About 95% of my clients were taking some form of psychiatric medication, and I was struck by a few stories that highlighted how helpful medication can be for some people and how harmful it can be for others.
At that time, I decided to pay more attention. Not surprisingly, I heard a lot of opinions. I saw articles written by people I knew about the dangers of not taking medication. I heard the opinions of fellow counselors who cautioned against the use of psychiatric medications, even in instances of significant mental illness that (in my opinion) had clear underlying physical causes. As I looked around, I found constant reminders of how controversial this topic is and how widely people disagree on even the seemingly basics of how to make decisions about medication.
So, I started to observe more closely how my clients responded to their medications. I saw clients prescribed the wrong medication and become much worse and one client stop taking their medication against doctor’s orders and almost die by suicide. I saw serious side effects and people who simply didn’t respond in any way to their medications. I saw clients grow leaps and bounds when they were finally given the correct prescription and several children transform overnight when their parents decided to try a prescription to treat ADHD.
Miracle stories and horror stories. Good stories and bad stories. So many stories spanning a wide range of success. I was reminded of how fickle psychiatric medication can be and how imprecise psychiatry is as a science in diagnosing the correct disorder and matching this with the correct medication.
I started to bring this topic up with a few friends and heard their personal experiences and opinions. I did some online research to find Christian perspectives that, not surprisingly, spanned a wide spectrum. Then, one day I delved into the secular research to see what empirical studies have to say and if they would bring any clarity. Once again, I found a wide range of dissenting conclusions.
This is a confusing topic. Actually, in one sense, the more I look into it, the more unclear it becomes. So, I decided to try and make sense of it all by writing a short booklet. Should I Take Psychiatric Medication? I think it will just be a few short chapters, and the goal will be to bring some clarity out of all confusing and dissenting opinions. In the end, I want to help people who are trying to make this decision.
I’m not quite sure when it will be ready. I’m hoping sometime this summer. So far, I am really enjoying the writing process. It feels good to write outside of the normal topics I typically focus on. As I work on this project, I’m curious to hear from you. What questions do you have about this? What are your concerns in this area? Is there anything in particular you would want me to hit on or address? Feel free to comment here or send me a private email/message.