Sunday, March 13, 2016

Counseling & Medications

Psychiatric drugs are widespread, take into account when helping someone

Our culture is awash in medications and these medications have a big impact moods, emotions and relationships.  I'm not a counselor or even play one on TV, so take this for what it's worth.  If someone is struggling personally or in relationships, asking if they are on any medications is a good idea.

The article: Astounding Increase in Antidepressant Use by Americans has some sobering statistics:
  • One in every 10 people are on antidepressants.  Have 200 friends on facebook?  Chances are 20 of them may be on antidepressants.
  • 23% of women in their 40's and 50's take antidepressants - higher than other groups
  • Usage doesn't seem to be that different across income levels
Other articles suggest that 2/3 of the people on antidepressants haven't been diagnosed with depression.  All of this suggests a very big problem: the behavior we see may be chemically induced.

Please understand I'm not saying these medications are good or bad.  Are we over medicated as Americans?  Probably, yes.  Are there legitimate uses for these medications?  Absolutely.  I know there's a some stigma associated with these medications, so we need to be careful.  But we also need to understand that these medications impact us personally and our relationships.

I know one person who said that they were indifferent to God and people in their life.  This response initiated many emotions from those around them.  Panic.  Fear.  Anger.  Are you a Christian?  They don't love me.  You're a bad person.  The conclusions roll out and impact the people around us.  Turns out, this person was on an antidepressant medications that had the wrong dosages.  Thank God someone important in their life wanted them to see a doctor.

I think other things can impact us too: coffee, alcohol, etc.  Questions that tease out the impact of diet and medication are important.  We can't be afraid to ask.  We can't be afraid to be asked.

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