How Do Psych Meds Work?

Read any package literature on any psychotropic medication and you will see that it contains language that is generic about how these drugs work. They contain phrases like; “(name) may help to correct this imbalance by…” and “Scientific evidence suggests that depression and certain anxiety disorders may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.” This one says; “Scientific evidence suggests that depression and certain anxiety disorders may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.” And finally; “Scientists believe people with depression could have an imbalance of serotonin in their brain.”

That is an awful lot of uncertainty if you ask me considering they are giving you pills that alter your brain…

What IS known about these medications is they alter brain chemicals and affect the central nervous system. They increase or decrease serotonin and dopamine and a host of other chemicals in the brain. They change pathways and alter structure.

In a majority of cases, they are not treating a brain illness; they are treating (by their own admission) emotional symptoms. They are medicating emotions.

Why do we medicate emotions? This is an important question for us to address because many professing Christians find themselves in this position. They have gone to the doctor because they didn’t feel well; life’s circumstances had overwhelmed them, they could not seem to function and get through daily life and so today they find themselves on a medication.

It is possible (and due to the media manipulation) and probable that people really don’t understand what they are doing when they begin a psych med. We have been raised to believe that we can trust what we hear and read, and all of this is promoted as gospel truth. Many people really believe the disease model and when they are presented with conflicting information they simply can’t believe that all they have been told is not exactly as it has been presented.

I am convinced that if most medical professionals really knew what these drugs do to people, they would not prescribe them. I am equally convinced that if patients had full disclosure on these drugs, they would not agree to take them.

I also must remind you that if you are currently taking any psychotropic medication you cannot just stop taking it for any reason! Many of these drugs require a taper schedule, and I strongly urge you to do this under your doctor’s supervision! Please hear me- do not stop taking medication without assistance from your doctor, or unless you are following an approved withdrawal/detox program!

Many of these medications now carry an FDA Black Box Warning which is the most serious warning that we have; indicating that some people who take these pills are more likely to commit suicide or harm. By doing a little homework, you would see that those involved in school shootings at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University and many other incidents all were being “treated” with some psychotropic medication.

Admittedly, they are the extreme on the negative end of the spectrum, I realize that. Please also realize that I doubt if any of those people decided to go on the meds with the understanding they would become homicidal.

What are some of the other results of being on the medications? These medications affect the brain and central nervous system. They affect the emotions and feelings. Together they affect all aspects of a person’s being.

There are numerous unwanted side effects of many of these drugs. Weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, sleepiness, kidney problems; break though symptoms, and the cycle of needing numerous meds to offset the side effects of the primary medication.

Along with all this we must include the reality that there are some people who benefit greatly from being on these meds. We just don’t know how they benefit, except experientially. They are able to get out of bed, they are functional, and they go to work and hold down their job. Some have been on for so long they can no longer function without them.

If this describes you, the last thing I want is for you to think you are somehow less of a person or less of a Christian because these meds work for you.

My suggestion is if you are on them stay on them. While on them get some good counseling to address the heart issues that plague you, identify the root cause of the depression or anxiety and once you learn how to deal with these things biblically you may want to try getting off of them. In that case, go to your doctor and ask for a taper schedule and under his or her supervision wean off them and see how it goes. You may find that you don’t need them, or you need less or you may also learn that you can’t function without them.

If that is the case, you still have learned how to respond biblically to problems, and that is good!