I wonder how many marriages have kept from blowing apart due the miracle of modern psychotropic medications. I also wonder how many people have been able to stay out of inpatient facilities because they have been stabilized by good diagnoses and treatment with therapy and medications.
Earlier in the last century none of these interventions were available and choices were limited to some very basic and sometimes harsh methods. Or untreated, a lot of people suffered and the people around them suffered as well.
But that is not the case today. Although some people would claim that medications are over-prescribed, especially for children, the truth is that there are many who would benefit from them, at least for a season. Depression and anxiety are rampant within our complex and stressful lives.
Perhaps because of the illegal drug culture or because of sensational news reporting which has maligned legitimate psychotropic medications, there is still reluctance by some people to embrace these drugs when they would clearly be of benefit. At the core of this reluctance there may be fear or shame, especially for those who have been raised in a very conservative church environment. Fortunately attitudes in most churches have been changing as they see how this mind-set has been victimizing the wounded in their midst.
I am delighted to report that in the many years that Nan and I have been counseling we have seen very few adverse reactions, mostly just some temporary side effects. I believe this high success rate has been due in great measure to our clients getting evaluated and treated by highly competent medical professionals. They do their best to stay on top of their clients’ progress and make changes when necessary to optimize the treatment.
The most likely failure of treatment comes when a client makes decisions on their own without input from their doctors. Too common is the client who decides to discontinue medication because they are “feeling better” or “don’t like the way it feels”. Also, some are inconsistent with their doses and becomes erratic in their behavior and claim that it isn’t working. There can be some very negative outcomes when medications are discontinued improperly. Your psychiatrist/doctor is your friend and advocate – it’s important to stay connected to him or her.
Of course it is essential to give a full disclosure to your doctor and counselor of anything that you are taking, including alcohol, over-the-counter medications, prescribed medications, self administered herbs and supplements or illegal drugs. It is possible that there could be complications or negative interactions from the wrong mix.
If you are in doubt about whether medications are appropriate for you or someone you care about, we suggest you keep an open mind, investigate well, and remember that the decision is always yours.