Friday, 18 April 2008

Depression and medication

A story today about a man who suffers from bipolar disorder and has decided to go off his medication. He says "The question of medication is a really tricky one. It makes you normal, and while that shouldn't be seen as a bad thing, I have an issue with just being normal."

I suffer from periods of depression and might even benefit from medication, but have never felt I wanted to do it for just this reason. The decision to take medication is understandable and no doubt wise for many people, but in my case I feel that the highs and lows of my own mood are part of my human-ness, and I would be sad to lose that, hard as it is to bear at times.


Anonymous said...

As someone who also suffers depression, I can undertstand the desire to move from medication. But, as someone who still pops the pills, I will say it does not stop the highs and lows -- believe you me. At least the one I am on. I have my lows, but they are not as low as they could be.

But I do agree with the general point that the highs and lows of life are, as hard as they are to bear, part of what we are called to suffer through in this life. Jesus did not promise us an easy ride through this life: the ups and downs of brains and moods due to our fallen nature is part of this. To my mind.

marion said...

Thanks for this post Gordon. I took anti-depress for a year (while seeing a shrink) about 20 yrs ago. The "black dog" still comes snooping around but its just part of life & God gives me the strength to hang in there. (& a husband who loves me)

Laura said...

Part of the problem is, I think, that people take their meds but don't complain to their doctors if there are frustrating side effects. This happened to my grandmother -- when she struggled with depression after the death of her husband, she was so overmedicated that she couldn't cry! But when she moved in with my parents and started going to their doc, he looked at the dosage and reduced it by something like 75%!

That doc prescribed just 5mg of an anti-depressant for my dad, which is far less than the "therapeutic" dosage. If a doctor won't work with someone to get the dosage right so he feels regulated but still like himself, he ought to switch doctors! It helps that our GP was a believer, and his stated goal for my dad's and grandmother's treatment was to get them to the place where they could see the Lord's hand.

Gordon Cheng said...

Thank you for the comments, Ian, Marion and Laura. Yes Ian, I have a close family member who suffers depression from time to time and the highs and lows are not wiped out completely, that's true. This family member does also report what a number of others have reported, which is that if the dosage is too high it is can feel to them that they are in a fog and completely sapped of energy.

This person has a good doctor and feels that the medication is, on balance, worth it. But it requires attention from not only the person but those close to them.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I agree entirely Gordon: family and friends And Laura's comment is worth its weight in gold. The first drugs I were on turned me into a zombie: I had no emotion. I ran to the doctor urging a change.

That said, my depression is linked to anxiety so I may be in a different boat to others. If I weren't on the meds I'd be too anxious [at times] to get out the door -- so it does help. But that doesn't mean drugs are the only answer: you need to look at the causes as much as anything else.