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June 24, 2021

Why we Shouldn’t Medicate for Emotional Distress.

*Elephant is not your doctor or hospital. Our lawyers would say “this website is not designed to, and should not be construed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment. Always consult a health professional before trying out new home therapies or changing your diet.” But we can’t afford lawyers, and you knew all that. ~ Ed.

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After years of psychotherapy and studying developmental psychology myself in a PhD program, I’ve come to have a vastly different opinion than most about how we work with mental health.

For starters, I believe medicating emotional distress is rarely the answer.

I also don’t believe in someone having a chemical imbalance. I have yet to find evidence of such (*that it is the sole cause).

I feel diagnosing mental distress is harmful, especially to our children and adolescents.

Nothing bothers me more than to hear those under the age of 18 say, “I have Bipolar.”

I believe how we approach mental distress in many countries to truly be nonsense.

Too often, young (mainly) white women who have survived terrible childhood trauma are given the label, “Borderline Personality Disorder.”

Judged as abnormal and needing to learn to regulate their emotions, these individuals who did not develop a secure internal working model of attachment during infancy are seen as “troubled” by those who were privileged enough to not know this pain.

We don’t help this population.

Instead, we often medicate them.

We judge them as the problem.

Mental health professionals are quick to set “boundaries” and instead hurt them by applying walls. There is a difference.

We encourage those who cry to “learn to love themselves” as if not having a secure working model of attachment in their minds is fixed by just “loving oneself.”

We don’t encourage attachment for those who are deemed “mentally ill” when this is exactly what they need.

We attempt to “fix” what we can’t understand with labels, treatments designed for these labels, medications, “boundaries,” emotional regulation classes, and so forth.

We see the problem within the individual and rarely look beyond them to question what happened.

Nobody is born struggling with mental health.

Nobody is born, “Borderline.”

Nobody simply has a “chemical imbalance.”

Yes, we have biological differences.

Yes, we have differences in temperaments.

This is true.

But nobody is born with a mental illness.

We hyper-focus on biology and not enough on ecology.

 

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We overmedicate what we deem as “problems” because we look at those who were not privileged in some way as abnormal.

What if instead of asking, “What’s wrong with you?” we asked, “What happened to you?”

What if we started looking at how context shapes an individual rather than looking at them as having something fundamentally wrong with them?

What if therapy were a place you worked on attachment and the mind, body, soul connection rather than medicating people?

What if instead of taking Prozac, you were encouraged to meditate as Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests, every day?

What if we helped people find purpose in their lives instead of sending them to learn to have a wise mind?

What if we cultivated more experiences of flow—the optimal experience, through activities, one deeply enjoys?

What if we burned the DSM and started sitting more with people and helping them find their path not to healing anything but toward a life of purpose extended beyond themselves?

I think if we did all this, we may just do away with the biomedical model once and for all and help people.

This is just my mindful opinion.

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