A friend of mine asked the following question:
“What is your opinion on mood and behavior altering medications? Since I was a young child I was diagnosed with ADD, and then this year I was also diagnosed with depression and anxiety. So everyday I have to take 4 pills to function normally. “
I have a few of opinions. First, I have to say that I am not a medical doctor. This is simply my opinion based on my observance and studies as pastor.
I believe that they are sometimes overprescribed, especially and primarily to children. I often ponder how much of the symptoms of depression and anxiety are due to an actual physical condition, and how much is due to life circumstances (which includes past and present circumstances, results of our own decisions, etc.)
My opinion is that most anxiety and depression is caused by life circumstances and that it is better to deal with those circumstances and resolve them….maybe while using these medications to help cope through the resolution. Also though, I do feel that they are helpful for many people. The biggest problem I see in people that take these medications, that I work with as a pastor, is that they stop taking them and start to spiral out of control. They almost always tell me that they quit taking them because “they were feeling better”. I always point out that these medications are not “healing” medications….they are “maintaining” medications, meaning that they are not designed to “heal” the condition, but are designed to add a sense of normalcy to the condition so that one can cope well. My advice….if prescribed, do not stop taking your medication because you feel that you are getting better.
Additionally, it is my understanding that “stopping” these medications ‘cold turkey” can be dangerous and counterproductive, one must “wean” themselves off under a doctors supervision. I would also note that I am speaking of a breadth of conditions that range from anxiety and depression, to bi-polar and Schizophrenia, in people who I often come in contact with as a Pastor.
You also asked:
“But in the word it says ‘even as I was in my mothers womb God was designing me to be unique.’ and it also says that ‘We are made in His holy image’. So if God designed me before I even entered this earth, is taking these medications to “fix” me sort of correcting what God had made? This had been on my heart for awhile and I could use some insight. Thanks and God Bless”
I can see your quandry here. However, I belive that while we are made in God’s image, which we can take many ways, we are in a condition that was brought about by the rebellion and fall of man–what we call “sin”. I believe that one of the biggest attributes of being made in God’s image that we share with God is free-will. According to my understanding of Scripture, we are certainly moving toward a redeemed and restored condition that we may not realize in our lifetime, but will certainly realize in eternity. However, by living in true relatioship with God, with Jesus, I believe that we move closer to this restored condition. I am not speaking about anything physical her, but spiritual.
I belive that you, that each of us, were designed unique by God. I cannot adequately articulate why some people are born with physical problems while others seemingly are not. However, I see nowhere in Scripture where we were promised perfection. I believe that Adam and Eve were created into this world on a heavenly plain. I believe that the biggest part of being created in “God’s image” is spiritual, meaning that we were created to have the capacity to truely love and experience emotion. With this, we were created with choices to make in life. Adam and Eve broke the mold on choices and in their own way ushered in the results of sin.
Remember that sin is not defined as breaking a rule as much as it is defined as “not living in a way that God designed us to live”. The roots of the Hebrew word translated as “sin” (“chata”, pronounced “khaw-taw”) all point to “missing the mark”, “missing the way”, “missing the goal or path”. Some sin results in only our payment of a price for that sin. Some sin by us results in far reaching implications for others down the road (the Bible explains this often in simpler terms of “the sins of the father”). i.e, we are affected by the sins of others….presently as well as the sins of those in past generations. However…we are given the possibility of restoration through Jesus Christ. Essentially…in the rebellion….sin changed the path of our human experience.
I do not believe that by taking these medication that we are “correcting” something flawed that God has made. I DO believe that God gave us the knowledge and possibility of these things and these substances that, if used wisely under a doctors care, can be helpful to our fallen condition.
Again, my opinion is that most anxiety and depression is caused by life circumstances, and that it is best to deal with those circumstances and resolve them….maybe while using these medications to help cope through the resolution. I believe that resolution comes through forgiviness, faith, and in general, the APPLICATION and UNDERSTANDING of the attitudes that Jesus shares with us in Matthew 5:3-12. Here is maybe how this restoration looks through the lens of the healthy attitudes that God designed us to have in life…in doing this we are living out the Beatitudes:
Matthew 5:3-12 (TNIV) [This is Jesus speaking]
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
[As we seek God’s help (spiritual poverty) instead of rationalizing that all is okay…..and we will see the kingdom of heaven…because God, indeed Jesus, is king in our lives]
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
[As we are mourning our sin and the sin of others….we will begin to heal, change and will be comforted.]
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
[As we humbly face our temptations and struggles through the meekness of our heart before God and others…….we will inherit the earth–we will find fullfillment in this world.]
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
[As we now hunger and thirst for righteousness, for doing what is right in the eys of God….we will be filled….we will be proud of our strength through Jesus.]
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
[As we show mercy to others and help them through their trials………we will be shown mercy.]
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
[As we turn away from these sins in our lives and surgically deal with them…….we will see a transformation of purity in our hearts…….and we will be able to start to see God clearly in our lives.]
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
[as we come to a place where we can actually be at peace with ourselves….we come to a place where we can help others heal and be at peace with themselves and God………and we can feel like children of God in a real sense.]
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
[And yes……for all those that don’t even think that our struggles and temptations are wrong or valid…….we can……….through strength of character……. and through the peace and fullfillment that we have seen in Jesus Christ…. endure criticism and persecution for doing what is right….. and we will see the kingdom of heaven….…because God has given us the key to hope, fullfillment and happiness.]