Friday, December 01, 2006

medication: crutch or life line

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Is it a sign of spiritual weakness if one uses medication to treat a mood disorder? I recently happened upon a thought provoking article on the beliefnet website examining this question. I am not sure that I have ever viewed this stigma through the lens of spirituality, but I have often wondered why the stigma exists and what we can do to combat it.

Perhaps this judgment has its roots in our strict puritanical past. I also suspect that it stems from the lingering view that psychological disorders are completely different than physical disorders and that they can be overcome through sheer willpower. Yet those of us who suffer from mood disorders or who are intimately acquainted with those who do know that it is not that simple. Treatment often requires a multi-pronged approach, incorporating talk therapy, medication

The article's author says:
I don't consider using such medicine a sign of weakness or spiritual failure, but a willingness to admit to a problem and take legitimate means to solve it. Putting down people who use such medications shows a spiritual arrogance and self-righteousness.

I absolutely agree. I try very hard to be open about my depression and how I am treating it. I think the more we do so, the greater understanding general society will develop about mood disorders and the benefits medication holds for many people. I do not and will not accept the idea that facing a condition issue head on and treating it is a failure or sign of weakness. So take that, Tom Cruise.

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