Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Why Do Psychiatrists Prescribe Drugs?

As I would talk with Dina, I learned that her daughter Liza has been significantly taking psychotropic drugs for over a decade now. During all this time, Liza is also frequently in and out of a mental hospital or psychological facility due to bouts of severe depression, violence, and addiction.

Today, Liza takes additional prescription drugs for her developed multiple organic diseases, including hypertension, gastrointestinal disease, and diabetes, aside from psychiatric drugs she's maintaining. Sadly, Liza's psychological and emotional states continue to deteriorate despite the psychiatric drugs she's taking.

On one side of Liza's situation, we have specific organic causes and objective laboratory results evidencing her physical condition. On the other side are clear non-organic psychological and emotional problems. In between these is this area of unproven diagnosis of "chemical imbalance" (still a theory, not a fact, up to this day), implying that psychological/emotional problems are organic. Liza has been told her mental problem is organic and thus needs pharmaceutical medication.

Since there is no conclusive scientific, objective proof that brain drugs change anything in the brain or body, why are organic drugs prescribed by psychiatrists for non-organic mental problems? Let me share three pieces of thought that could be possible reasons why psychiatrists recommend drug use. First, psychiatrists usually have only biochemical theories to guide their treatment of patients with psychological or mental health problems. Medical protocol requires and justifies their use of medication.

A second possible reason has to do with the psychiatrists' untrained competency in real-life psychotherapy and counseling. They may have been conditioned to accept the "lie" that medication is the answer to mental illness without doing any thinking themselves. They know nothing else far superior or appropriate to find answers to people's mental health problems.

A third possible reason why drugs are prescribed by psychiatrists can be the most grievous: pragmatism. Pharmaceutical drugs are a trillion-dollar industry where doctors profit too. Thus, psychiatrists may find themselves trapped in the hopelessness of naturalistic or materialistic thinking and business pressure from the pharmaceutical industry and medical community in treating mental illnesses.

1 comment:

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