Pharmacy free Counseling

Posted by on 8 August, 2007
This post was filed in Christian Living and has 10 comments

Is the bible enough to treat our psychological problems? Should Christians resort to medication or rely on the word of God?

Todays guest: Randy Patton of the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors www.nanc.org  

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10 Comments on “Pharmacy free Counseling”

  • 1.
    kandace
    8 August, 2007, 9:12 pm

    Why is the question an either or situation?

    The Word of God is paramount however clinical depression is a disease which can be treated by medication. There is a problem with the body’s level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter and a brain chemical. There is a litany of medications which stabilize this chemical. There are also other diseases which are described in the Diagnosis Style Manual (DSM)- a publication familiar within the Counseling/Psychology field.

    One does not fault the diabetic for taking insulin, nor the epileptic for staying on the appropriate medication. Why fault the Christian who has clinical depression (or any other mental illness) for staying on the appropriate dosage of needed medication?

  • 2.
    Greg Stancil
    8 August, 2007, 9:32 pm

    Greetings all,

    My name is Greg Stancil and I am on staff with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors. Stu asked our Executive Director, Randy Patten if he would join this discussion, but unfortunately he is unable to due to prior obligations over the next few days.

    Therefore I am pinch hitting for him.

    I’ll look forward to fielding any questions that might arise and check back periodically over the next few days to stay in the thread.

  • 3.
    Greg Stancil
    8 August, 2007, 9:53 pm

    Candance, thanks for your thoughtful question. This is going to require a pretty lenthy response. You wrote:

    “One does not fault the diabetic for taking insulin, nor the epileptic for staying on the appropriate medication. Why fault the Christian who has clinical depression (or any other mental illness) for staying on the appropriate dosage of needed medication?”

    If we were comparing apples to appples then your logic would be dead on. The problem is that comparing clincical depression and other mental health diagnosis with illnesses such as diabetes are not comparing apples to apples.

    Let me explain. In order for someone to be diagnosed with diabetes there are objective clinical laboratory tests that can be conducted on the patients blood and verified to determine if they have diabetes.

    There are two things about the diagnosis of clinical depression that make it an orange and not an apple.

    1. What you described regarding the serotonin level and neurotransmitter / synapse failures is only a theory. This is what research psychologists THINK causes depression. I could point you to numerous medical jounrals over the past several years that describe this as a theory and not a fact. They have also regularly changed what chemical they thought was lacking to cause the depression. The truth is that they have to admit that they don’t know for certain why someone becomes “depressed”.

    2. The way that clinical depression is diagnosed is completely different than that of diabetes. Where there are objective clinical tests to determine a diabetes diagnosis, a depression diagnosis is completely subjective. This means that the doctor simply asks you several questions about your behavior and how you feel about life (outlined in the DSMIV). If your answers to those questions line up with what they have determined that a “clincally depressed” persons would look like then you are labled clincially depressed. There is no blood test or other lab work done to determine this.

    Therefore the comparison of diabetes and depression winds up not being a fair comparison.

    A couple of concluding comments:

    Might there be something physiologically wrong with a person that could cause them to act depressed? Absolutely, for example a thyroid problem can have those kinds of results. But again there is a clinical test can be performed to determine the malfunction of the thyroid. Once the thyroid issue is treated, generally the characteristics of depression will go away.

    As Randy mentioned on the radio show, NANC doens’t want to be known as against psychotropic drugs. That makes for a good topic for a radio show, but it isn’t our mission. Our mission is to point people to Jesus Christ and to plead with them to be doers of His Word and not forgetful hearers only(James 1:22-24). We want them to fall head over heels in love with Jesus Christ and worship him above all else.

    From our perspective, since the diagnosis of clinical depression is still only a theory, we want to encourage people to run to Jesus instead of Prozac as their savior from the trial. 2 Peter 1:3 tells that God has given us all we need for life and godliness and it is in His all sufficent Word. This should give us hope and assurance that with God and through His Word, nothing is impossible, even pulling someone out of the depths of despair.

  • 4.
    10 August, 2007, 2:35 pm

    Amen, buddy!

  • 5.
    Me
    10 August, 2007, 11:58 pm

    Greg,

    I have a situation that I’d like your advice on please. My ex of 6 years now, was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Bi-Polar, Narcissism, ADD and OCD. This diagnosis was done probably 10 years ago and of course there have been no changes except through meds, which he no longer takes because he has been “delivered.” Mental Illness is a very real issue and very scary and a lifelong disease. To date there is no cure/treatment, however it can be managed by medication. He got involved with church again and they according to him he is now cured!! (This is even more scary) Do you still think no medication is necessary? I do agreee that there is no way you can possibly compare being a diabetic to a mentally ill person!!

  • 6.
    Greg Stancil
    15 August, 2007, 4:22 pm

    Me,

    Thanks for your question. Please forgive my delayed response. I think that the situation you are referring to completley depends on what is meant by “delivered”. I would disagree with your statement that mental illness is a lifelong disease. Disease is defined as something that takes place in the body that results in some sort of objective physiological change. All of the things that you described are diagnosed simply based on behavior. I would recommend that you listen to a workhsop on this issue by a medical doctor called “Disease or Not”. You can paste this link in your web browser to listen:

    http://www.knowgrace.org/famCounseling/diseaseORnot.mp3

    He does a much better job explaining this issue than I ever could.

    One consistent thing that you will notice about all of the things that your ex was diagnosed with if you look them up in the DSMIV is that they all are called disorders. They are called disorders because they can’t be classified as diseases because there is no physiological change in the body. They are simply a description of exhibited behavior.

    That being the case, I do believe that your husband can be delivered from all of those labels mentioned above. However, I don’t believe that it is through some mystical zap, which is what it sounds like he might be claiming.

    The way to be delivered from these and any other type of behaviors that don’t line up with the way that God commands is to racially live out Luke 9:23:

    Luke 9:23-24

    And He was saying to them all, ” If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

    They way we can be delivered from these type of things is first of all to deny ourselves. That means that we stop living a self-centered life like the world revolves around us. Once we have denied ourselves and cast aside the besetting pride and selfishness that keep up wrapped up in a me-first-mindset, we are free to take up our cross and follow Christ each day. It needs to be stated also that this is no dutiful marching after the orders of a barking commander. This folllowing Christ is a delight, and an overflow of affection for God that pours out of our hearts and motivates toward love and good works.

    May we pray that your ex would receive true deliverance that only comes through a thriving, vibrant relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  • 7.
    Greg Stancil
    15 August, 2007, 4:33 pm

    racially above should say “radically”

    Sorry for any confusion.

  • 8.
    Me
    15 August, 2007, 10:04 pm

    Greg,

    Your are correct that these diagnosis are disorders that can be managed with proper medication. The problem is at some point in their life they tend to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol and sexual addictions. Which these choices will effect your/his life FOREVER. There is no rational thinking like you and I have….. only irrational. His brained is just not wired like everyone else’s. Certain chemicals are not being produced and some are over produced. It makes for a very scary way to live life especially for the other/normal person. I believe that if you are mentally ill it will not go away one day!

  • 9.
    LCC
    18 August, 2007, 2:55 pm

    Greg is right on!

  • 10.
    30 August, 2007, 1:28 pm

    Good work Mr Stancil!