Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thoughts on Psychology and Phsyciatric Medication

Psychology, as I understand it from my very limited study, roots its methods in the idea that man can be fixed, is basically good, and can pull himself up by the bootstraps. While there are things I learned in psychology classes about how the brain processes information that have helped me as I studied for tests or as I tried to teach different kinds of students, the majority of psychology runs counter to what the Bible says. The clearest statement of mans real problem, the fact that sin has so corrupted us that we are unable to make ourselves or anything else “right”, is in Genesis 6:5 where we’re told that God saw that the thoughts and intents of man’s heart was only evil continually. Not much has changed in less than 10,000 years.

The things that psychology calls “disorders” are, more often than not, sins. An inability to control your anger is not a problem to be medicated with psychotropic drugs. It is a sin to be repented of to the glory of God. Therefore, I would say that the use of most psychotropic meds as they are used is not in line with what scripture teaches about man and his need to repent of his sins and trust Christ to save him.

I should add that I noticed there was at least one sleep aid, Ambien, listed as a psychotropic medication. I can find nothing in scripture that would forbid using that drug for what it was intended (a diagnosed sleep problem). Cymbalta is used to treat fibromyalgia sometimes. Since I’m not a doctor, I can’t speak with any degree of authority about using that drug to treat that problem.

Finally, with regards to that class of drugs, I have observed and heard of women with post partum depression who, as I understand it, were suffering from a chemical/hormonal imbalance that caused them to feel profoundly sad. I cannot say that I know for a fact that such chemical imbalances cannot occur in women or men for that matter. Further, as far as I know the Bible is silent on that sort of thing as well. In such a case, those drugs have been used to treat those patients and I can’t see that being any different than using meds to treat a metabolic disorder such as diabetes if in fact there was some sort of chemical imbalance. Since I am not a physician, I would be completely incompetent to make any determination as to whether that is what someone was suffering from. However, I could encourage to trust God and His power to have victory over any difficulties that they encounter.

As far as psychological counseling as opposed to biblical counseling, I used to think that if you had a problem you needed to work out, you should go to a counselor. Over the past few years, I have come to the position that I realize that men and women are sinful and that what we need is not to, for instance, control our tempers but to repent of outbursts of wrath (Eph 4:31). We don’t need to learn to compromise and get along in our marriages, but husbands need to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Eph 5:25-26) and serve them. Wives need to submit to their own husbands as to the Lord (Eph 5-22-24). Therefore, what man needs is not to try to figure out how to fix their lives, but rather they need to submit to the instruction in the Bible of how to die to themselves and live as servants of God in repentance and faith. This is completely counter to what psychology teaches. As we read in II Peter, God, in the scriptures, has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness. Therefore, bringing the Bible to bear on our problems, which are often the result of sin, is the most appropriate way to handle them.

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