We are a nation lost in our own self-worship, reaching for straws to pull ourselves out of pain and despair, hoping that somehow we can find the route to self-enforced transcendence, even if it means medicating ourselves toward that goal.
Most of us refuse to accept that the void can only be filled by God, because we don’t approve of the behavior of those who carry God’s banner. We run away from Christ’s message of hope and redemption because we dislike His messengers.
But the problem persists!
Now, it is our children, and the future generations, who are at risk. Our children are the first in human history to be labelled with mental illness from their early years for their emotional and behavioral deviance from our cultural norms. Today, many children who populate our schools have been told that they have broken brains, and that neither they, nor their parents, nor anyone else in their community is responsible for their troubled little souls. They are told that all they need is a good dose of medicine, or at times a cocktail of drugs. We teach them that the solution to their problems and troubling emotions are found in their bottles of medicine, a lesson about human nature that is far different than what the kids in former generations were ever taught.
Indeed, “In America, medication is becoming almost as much a staple of childhood as Disney and McDonald’s. Kids pack their pills for school or college along with their lunch money.” We deny them the learning experience of growing up. They never learn any coping skills or how to struggle and overcome their challenges without drugs. Many parents, through peer pressure, and pharmaceutical ads, are told that it is best to medicate and succeed, than let the kids experience “failure” and be forced to learn how to overcome setbacks through natural means.
We live in a society that parents are blamed and made to feel guilty by school authorities and pediatricians, if they refuse to medicate their children for their emotional and behavioral issues. Unfortunately, in most cases, even the church sends the flock to psychiatrists instead of working with them to address family issues, divorce, death in the family, sibling rivalry, bullying, or other individual traumatic experiences. After all, in the short term, it is much easier to pop a pill than go through the difficult, and at times very painful process of healing souls. We all have been conditioned to walk away from pain and look for “quick fixes.”
The following are excerpts from an article that follows a few kids for several years to show their dependence on drugs and how they were helped or developed more severe psychiatric conditions as they went through their journey to adulthood:
“Medication for ADHD has long provoked controversy. But in recent years, the big upturn in the US has been in prescribing for depression and anxiety. It is now generally accepted, says David Healy, professor of psychiatry at Bangor University, that 20%-25% of students at most universities in the US are on medication, often on multiple prescriptions. There, he says, taking your meds is often seen as proof that a young person is dealing with their problems. “But you are not going to learn coping skills if you are taking pills,” he adds.
He believes the UK may follow where the US leads. Once, it was unusual for British children to be put on medication; mental health teams would expect to work with a family over issues such as divorce. But increasingly, Healy says, young people turning 18, who transition into the adult mental health services where he works, arrive with a diagnosis of ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder or even bipolar – and will argue that they should carry on taking the pills they have been given by the children’s services. “We used to have a world in which it was accepted that kids in their teens were confused,” he says. “It’s an extraordinary change compared with even five years ago. This is the new norm.”
The article follows six kids and portrays their struggles on why they took the drugs and how they feel looking backward. One of the boys says:
“I went from a 250-student high school to a 4,000-student college, which was a shock. And in college, everyone is doing some kind of drug. Less than 10% of it is prescribed medication, but 50-60% of kids take drugs. I’d say that for every sale of pills, there are two sales of marijuana. I never heard of people getting in trouble for selling or buying the meds, but they do for marijuana or drinking.
Blue pills [Adderall] will sell for $2-$3 a pill, and orange pills [Adderall XR] for $10-$12, because they are slower release. Marijuana helps me work on my music; meds just make me feel like cleaning everything up. I even clean my mother’s room. When I have to do just one thing, I’ll take the blue pill rather than the orange pill.
I’ve been taking Adderall on and off for nine years. I’ve kind of turned to coffee now, and that’s been working out really well – I’ve been getting just as much done. My doctor thinks it’s great. The priority of all doctors, really, should be to move their patients off medication.”
I don’t blame those who struggle to suppress their pain in the face of a high-demanding, and performance-focused culture. Life is tough and cruel! I only hope that those of us who have tasted the grace of Christ, and witnessed the healing of our own wounds and those of many around us through the power of God’s Spirit, would pause before we follow the footsteps of those who have bought into a “politically-inculcated and media-perpetuated” narrative of drugs-as-the-healer-of-our-soul-wounds.