Many people believe you should avoid medication when dealing with various emotional and ‘mental’ disorders. Such people are found in many walks of life, ranging from 12 step recovery programs to religious believers to everyday Tom, Dick, and Harriets.
Their stance is usually based upon their own experiences, which they then try to apply to the whole of humanity! I’ve heard many judgements about the use of prescribed medication in dealing with anxiety/panic and they are usually quite disparaging. There are, of course, those at the opposite end of the spectrum who would encourage taking medication for anything at all and think nothing of it. I’m only interested here in medication for anxiety disorders.
Resisting External Pressure
Judgements about quelling fear with chemicals usually involve making statements about the moral character of the person taking the medication. In truth, these statements usually reflect the weaknesses of the person making the judgement themselves. In their eyes, people who take medication in order to reduce their anxiety are moral cowards. In taking a short cut back to ‘normal life’ by using drugs, the ‘drug takers’ have forfeited their right to be respected. They have taken the easy way out!
I know people who have stopped their medication because of external pressure from third parties. It was suggested that prescribed medication masked the real issues and retarded genuine recovery. As you can imagine, the results were bad and took a long time to recover from. There are, of course, those who stop their medication and then go from strength to strength. The question always comes down to what is best for the individual.
You Know Best
My own opinion is that medication is a valuable tool – when used wisely. Problems arise when people start to avoid responsibility for themselves and put their ‘faith’ in medication above everything else. It’s easily done, especially if you have had a lot of pain for a long time.
And this is the crucial point: I never know what is really going on inside another person. So, I must limit my judgement to what I know about, which is my own own situation. Previously, I have fobbed off responsibility for myself onto doctors and medication – and ended up getting nowhere. Conversely, at times I have needed some medication and not used it. The result was that my suffering was longer than it should have been.
Whether or not to medicate is a tricky question that needs wise counsel and support. Above all, we must always try to avoid couching the debate in terms of moral fibre!