One of the most common counseling-related questions concerns the place of medicine in the treatment of emotional or psychological problems. And one of the most helpful and thought-provoking books that I’ve read on the subject is Will Medicine Stop the Pain? by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Laura Hendrickson, M.D. (also available as an E-book). Below are a few quotes to whet your appetite for more. Consider adding this book to your list of essential reading.
“Psychiatric medicines can help suppress bad thoughts and feelings, but they can also produce changes in the brain that can lead to even worse problems than the ones that led a person to take the medicines in the first place. These medicines may change an individual’s brain structure and function over time.”
“The Lord will become sweeter and more beautiful to you as He uses your troubles to strip away the scales that blind your eyes from beholding His true beauty. He’s teaching you that temporal happiness is nothing in comparison to the glory that is yet to be known to us. God allows emotional suffering to continue in this world because it glorifies Him to do so.”
“When the problems we’re facing have to do primarily with the body and its functioning, a medicine that cures or relieves physical symptoms is part of God’s common grace to our suffering world. But when the problems we’re facing have to do primarily with the heart or inner person, something different is needed. Only God can cure an ailing heart; only the Spirit can bring hope.”
“This is the freeing truth you can learn through your depression: You weren’t created to love and worship anything more than you love and worship God; and when you do, you’ll feel bad. God has made you to feel pain when you’ve got other treasures that you’ve placed above Him. He wants you to treasure Him—and when you do, you’ll experience fullness of joy and pleasures forever (Psalm 16:11).”
“Although it’s true God protects us from trials that would be too difficult for us to bear, and although He’s promised to walk through every fire with us, He hasn’t promised to shower us with grace to endure trials that exist only in our mind. No, He’s provided His Word to tell us what parameters to build around our thought life so that we aren’t terrorized by imaginary specters of impending doom. When we spend our days in needless worry and anxiety, we’re taking all the grace He’s given us for each day’s activities and wasting it on trials that aren’t even here yet or never will be.”