Should a Christian Take Psychotropic Medications?
This article addresses the perceived contradiction many Christians feel exists between the Bible and the use of psychiatric medications. First, all the most recent research has repeatedly shown that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is most effective in treating many of the most common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and PTSD. This only makes sense because research in the field of neurobiology is also showing that the chemical nature of the physical brain changes when people suffer from disorders like depression and anxiety, so it would logically follow that treatments leveraging medication could be helpful.
From a Christian perspective, the Bible from the beginning has always portrayed the nature of man as holistic and does not tend to divide the individual into the separate parts of body, mind, and spirit. Of course emotional problems often impact the physical body, and vice-versa, because it is all so interconnected. There is also a “chicken or the egg” question of what comes first, the emotional or physical problem, but I am not sure it necessarily matters. It can be either, or both, depending on the complexities of the person and situation. Another important Biblical concept that applies to the use of psychiatric medications is the idea of fully leveraging the tools and technology God has given us. The Apostles themselves worked in professions like fishing, medicine, farming, academia, and tent-making, and they almost certainly used the most advanced tools, knowledge, and technology available to them, which all ultimately comes from God to be used to help people.
I opened up by stating that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is often the most effective in helping people with mental disorders. There are mental health professionals that exclusively use medication-based treatments, and others that believe only psychotherapy can get to the root of the problem. The point is how to best help the client, and either or both forms of treatment may end up being the most effective. It appears that a willingness to consider a coordinated treatment plan using medication and psychotherapy is the way to go, and it would therefore seem advisable to perhaps avoid practitioners that are overly committed to one approach or the other. It is of course up to the individual Christian's conscience and conviction. This is of course is an opinion matter and must be treated as such using passages like 1 Corinthians 10:23-33.
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