Is It Wrong for Christians to Take Psychiatric Medications?

bunch of white oval medication tablets and white medication capsules
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In some Christian circles, especially among fundamentalist Christians, there is an antipathy towards psychiatrists and, especially, taking psychiatric medications, which, at best, is regarded as unspiritual, and, at worst, is of the devil. I could not disagree more with those kinds of views toward medicine. I agree with Paul Meier’s (M.D.) approach to taking psychiatric medications. Since he is a Christian psychiatrist, his comments are worth quoting:

“[W]hen medication is needed — it’s needed. If our bodies aren’t producing the right chemicals in proper balance, we need to add medicines to restore order. Taking medical preparations is not a defeat of your faith or willpower. Remember: when the right drug is prescribed in the proper manner, consumption can be extremely valuable to your health. Medication is one of several God-given methods for coping with fear. If a medicine corrects a genetic chemical imbalance and helps you become a happier, more relaxed, more effective servant of God, not taking it would be a sin and a real shame. Pride makes us either want to do everything in our own strength or do nothing at all. Humility enables us to ask for the help of God, friends, Christians counselors, and sometimes even correctional medications.”1

There are many Christians who subscribe to Meier’s view about medicine and have profited from taking it. After all, God is not only concerned about bodily health but also mental health, including a healthy brain. For example, Frank Minirth (M.D.) writes,”Just as we are not critical of the individual on heart medication, neither should we be of individuals on antidepressants. Stress can damage not only the heart but also the brain, and not treating it would be cruel. God is not against medication or the physician who administers it appropriately.”2 Therefore, since it is reasonable to take medicine to aid in the healing of the organs of the body, then why is it not equally reasonable to heal one of the most vital organs in the body, namely, the human brain?

God, in the Christian world view, created the whole person and surely the proper functioning of the human brain matters to him. It should also matter to Christians.

Endnotes

  1. Stephen Arterburn, Paul Meier and Robert L. Wise, Fearless for Life: Break Free to Living with Hope and Confidence (Nashville, TN.: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2002), pp. 132-133.
  2. Frank B. Minirth, In Pursuit of Happiness: Choices That Can Change Your Life (Grand Rapids, MI.: Fleming H. Revell/ Baker Book House Company, 2004), p. 45.

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