In the article below, you will find:
- To Medicate or Not To Medicate, That is the Question
- Medications Cannot Heal – But They May Help
- Prescribing Medication: Knowledge, Experience, and Wisdom
- Medications? Me? No Way!
- Finding the Right Medication
To Medicate, or Not to Medicate: Should I Take Medication?
Anti-Anxiety Agents & Mood Stabilizers:
To medicate, or not to medicate: that is the question. Whether it is nobler to suffer the pain, discomfort, and dysfunction of a particular imbalance, or to take up arms against the invader and by opposing, defeat. (With apologies to the Bard)
There is quite a controversy in the medical profession these days about the value of psychotropic medications, especially in the very common mood disorders (depression, anxiety, etc.) and in ADD (attention deficit disorder). As you can learn from this website, we now know that by guiding your thoughts, images, and emotions in specific ways, you can literally rewire your brain and overcome many of the emotional, behavioral, and social dysfunctions and illnesses.
In your work to bring about these desirable changes, sometimes medication (even on a temporary basis) can help – sometimes it is indispensible. The decision to either take or not take medication is really up to you – accept this responsibility and seek counsel from those you trust and who have the right experience. Then choose wisely.
If you are having significant symptoms – insomnia, lack of energy, chronic pain, stress symptoms, depression, for example, it is important to relieve them – quickly. Doing nothing is a terrible choice, since this generally leads to a worsening of the imbalance and damage to your precious neurons.
The techniques of guided imagery, meditation, and cognitive behavior modification may be enough to treat both the symptoms and the underlying stress. Sometimes, however, when symptoms are sufficiently severe, it is important to find a coach, counselor, therapist, or other mental health professional who can help you decide upon a wise course of therapy, including medications, when they are necessary – a wise guide who can help you learn to change your mind and rewire your brain through changing your cognitive and subconscious behaviors.
Medications Cannot Heal – But They May Help
Outside of surgery and certain antibiotics, the interventions of modern medicine and psychiatry are rarely cures for the underlying condition, they merely provide symptomatic relief – whether it is lowering your cholesterol or your blood pressure, suppressing cancer with chemo, infections with antibiotics, or allergies with antihistamines.
Medications do not heal us, any more than a cast can heal a broken arm. It is our living system that must do the healing. And even our best weapons, like antibiotics, can weaken a bacterium, but it is the white cell that must engulf and destroy the infection. Again, a cast does not heal a broken leg, but it plays an essential support role in the healing.
Medications, though very helpful, treat symptoms – which permit us full use of our powers to deal with the true source of those symptoms. Used properly medications support us as we take the steps that will lead to true psychological and mind-body healing.
But medications are a two-edged sword. When they are taken at the wrong time, in the wrong dosage, or for the wrong condition, they may become another way to escape from our own responsibility for managing our bodies. What’s at risk is that with drugs numbing out awareness of the imbalance in your physical and emotional life, the underlying source of the symptoms can get worse. This is the way dependency and even addictions develop.
Sometimes, as in the case of severe depression or hypomania, this symptomatic relief may be essential to prevent the destruction of irreplaceable cortical neurons or the creation of an unstable social condition (e.g., isolation, divorce). On the other hand, when physical imbalances are less severe, working through the painful symptoms may lead you out of denial, pain and depression to a stronger physical and emotional self.
Prescribing Medication: Knowledge, Experience, and Wisdom
To medicate, or not to medicate – a question best answered from the perspective of wisdom and the vantage point of experience. This means looking first to your own experiences honestly, and seeing through those wise eyes – then consulting those whom you feel resonate with you.
From the Mind-Body aspect of the holistic approach, any medications that tend to alter an experience or cause changes in the psyche, mood, or outlook (i.e., psychoactive medications) may possibly be useful. Ideally, psychoactive medications can help you on your healing journey by providing support and the ability to focus on the changes you really need to make.
On the other hand, used incorrectly, they have the potential to mask or deaden important messages from your body and emotions, sensory information and feedback to which you should be paying careful attention.
Moreover, side effects often accompany medications – whether they are pharmaceuticals, herbs, or supplements. One must weigh the risks and benefits from the administration of a particular medication or substance.
Sometimes the decision about whether or not to use medication is based on very subtle observations, and these can be difficult decisions. Obviously, consult a trusted health care provider when you are making these types of decisions.
Medications? Me? No Way!
Often people go to extremes to avoid taking any medication, and advise others to never touch the stuff, as if taking a medication is taking a poison that will only cause toxic damage. Given the very abusive treatment many people have had from our medical system, who could blame them for this extreme reaction. But it is too extreme.
The wise use of medication requires that we recommend it only after careful consideration of many factors. This is why the prescribing health professional needs to perform an adequate history and physical exam. These factors include your life history, chemical and physiological status, emotional state, and the condition of your relationships. Recognizing that prescribing is the careful recommendation of substances your body treats as contaminants, or toxins, they should be recommended only if there is no other way to effectively deal with the current situation, or if its resolution would be rapidly sped up through their use.
Finding the Right Medication
Sometimes finding the right medication is remarkably easy, and dramatic results can be seen in days.
The usual case is not always that dramatic, and sometimes, figuring out which medication and what dosage can be a long process. Because everyone is unique and responds differently to drugs, finding the medicine that suits you requires patience, honesty and time. Once found, the right prescription can really help you live life to its fullest.
Medication is not a substitute for personal growth – when used wisely, medication may provide the relief and support that can enable you to better confront and solve the problems in your life. To refuse medication in such cases is to deny treatment to someone who could truly benefit from it.
The Medical Treatment of Depression (coming soon)
Are Antidepressants Completely Useless? (coming soon)