It is easy for people to be medicalized by definitions, and then pharmaceuticalized through treatments. For better and for worse, those definitions and choices can go on to shape how caregivers and health systems will interact with people for the rest of their lives.
There are undoubtedly cases where these interventions are wise and worthwhile. But unless cases and the effects are extreme, we are often better to start off with the internal interventions that are naturally built into our biological, chemical and physical systems.
We all have our own chemical factory in our minds, and science is also learning that our microbiome may play a major role, which can mean that even the chemistry of our diets can play a big part in how we feel emotionally.
Where possible, when tackling emotional issues, we are often best to start with diet, exercise and thought-based interventions before proceeding onto more externalized responses through drugs.
However, if those other routes do not allow people to maximize their potential, then no one should feel badly about taking whatever course of action leads them to their best health outcomes.
I have worked with people who took more control over their thinking and eventually went off their medications by choice and were fine. At the same time, no one is ‘failing’ if a drug intervention is the only thing that gets them the relief and healthy life they seek.
Many of those interventions involve things like SSRI-classed prescription drugs, but brain science and behaviour labs are increasingly investigating newer, more experienced-based therapies based on formerly illegal drugs. Especially in extreme cases, many people are finding these methods can lead to life-changing epiphanies.
If you would like to know more, below are several links to a series of programs on new approaches to therapy that are gaining increasingly wider acceptance. What works for one person may not work for another, but if we’re looking at all potential directions to approach our health from, these may prove helpful where all else has failed.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.