The first thing I must say is that if you are taking medication of any kind for anything do not change your treatment plan or dose without consulting with your physician. Doing so can have serious problems. Reading this blog is not like an apple and is not intended to keep your doctor or his advice away!
The second thing I need to tell you is that Bible has very little to say about taking medicine. Christ said “The sick need a physician,” even though He knew that most of what doctors did at the time was worthless and even harmful. I suppose He knew we would do better eventually. The silence of the Bible on the subject of taking medicine leaves it in the realm of Christian Liberty.
I think Paul defined Christian liberty best in Romans 14 when he told the readers that they were not better Christians if they ate meat offered to idols or refrained and only ate vegetables. The idols were nothing, so Christians had a choice that was limited by the rest of the bible and by not harming other believers with their freedom. I have always said that taking medication or not taking it is a Romans 14 issue. The thing that Paul blistered the believers at Rome for was judging one another. So taking medicine is matter of Christian Liberty.
So, if we are free to choose, then how should we make that choice? I always liked what Ed Welch said in his Book “Blame it on the Brain.” Welch said that taking medicine was not a matter of right or wrong, it was a choice between wise and unwise. And, that gets us to the point of this blog. If taking medicine is a choice between wise
and unwise, then it really comes down to whether or not it works and if the side effects are worth it. I recently heard a speaker say that medicine approved by the FDA must be effective. The problem with the statement is that “effective”
covers a wide range from works every time, to works in one of 4 patients. It can also mean that the medication moves a Hamilton rating scale 2 points out of 50 when a good night’s sleep will move it six.
Dr. Alan Roses said the following about all the medication that we take in the UK Independent. "The vast majority of drugs - more than 90 per cent - only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people," Dr. Roses said. "I wouldn't say that most drugs don't work. I would say that most drugs work in 30 to 50 per cent of people. Drugs out there on the market work, but they don't work in everybody." A January 2010 article in JAMA went further and said that most of the medications that we use for depression may only work better than placebo in 10% of the people who take them.
When we think about medication for mood disorders, we need to realize that there is a significant potential for them to simply not work. This is particularly true if we are trying to “treat” normal sadness over loss with a pill. When I prescribe medication at a patients request for depression that has an obvious loss as the cause, I will always tell the
patient that the medicine will not change your life or how you look at it.
And that is the heart of the matter. We can choose to see our sadness over loss as something that God intends to use in our lives like Hanna or Nehemiah in the Old Testament or Paul in the New Testament, there is hope for a different result. And, hope is a very good thing.