Physiology Phriday: Side Effects of Meds

In a perfect world, our medicines would fix our problems and not create additional ones. Sadly, we don’t live in that world. Antidepressants may induce weight gain, foggy-headedness, flatness, impotence–things that wouldn’t necessarily make one feel better. Stimulants create problems with weight loss, rebound agitation, even tics in some individuals. Pain meds may create dependency.

Some encounter the side effects of psychotropic drugs and decide to tough it out. Others play around with dosages (on their own). Still others keep trying to find that right compound. All of it creates work. As a counselor, it is wise to monitor med compliance, dosage changes (doctor approved or otherwise) and side effects. Given that most clients see their medical doctor or psychiatrist only once every 6-8 weeks, do not assume they’ve talked to anyone or are still on their medications. Make sure to also ask how they feel about the meds as this may change. Even though the counselor isn’t in charge of medications, counseling issues related to the medication and the feelings about it surely are our domain. One clear benefit to our “med checks” is that we can help them get the most out of their 15 minutes with the psychiatrist by zeroing in on what they should talk to the doc about.


Filed under christian counseling, christian psychology, counseling, counseling skills, Psychiatric Medications

5 responses to “Physiology Phriday: Side Effects of Meds

  1. thestateofit

    Hello, I have just found your blog. I am Vanessa Campbell, I am writing because I am trying to decide whether to do my bachelor of Psychology, and trying to figure out if the teachings and the practice of psychology would come against my walk with God, as I am a committed Christian. I was saved when I was 18 (I am now 24) and my first church which I attended for many years was dead against psychology and any form of counseling and though i have differing views, I am nervous as to whether studying Psychology would offend my Lord.
    My mothers best friend is a Christian Psychologist. In fact, she is remarkable and has helped many people, including myself, n very difficult life situations. she is gifted and I can only describe her dealings and insight with me as being a true blessing and gift from God. so as I have such a desire to help other people and be a difference in the lives of others and be compassionate and helpful in my line of work, I reasoned that I should study psychology. however, I hear all the time that you simply cannot be a christian psychologist, as to be one, means you cannot be the other, and that psychology flies directly in the face of our Lord. HELP ME! What are your views, did you get the same opinions from others?

  2. D Stevenson

    This is part of an answer to an essay on my final this semester. Too bad I didn’t have this to memorize. 😉

  3. Doug

    good post, Phil. I take 3 meds which can have some fairly intense side effects now. My counselor plays a pivotal role in processing these as the 15 min. with the psychiatrist is not much time at all.

  4. Vanessa, thanks for your comment and questions. Yes, I have heard that you cannot be a Christian and a psychologist comments before. I must say that I disagree and if I did agree, this site couldn’t exist. Now, lest we brush off concerns too quickly consider the following.
    1. Psychology and every other science is a human activity. As such, it attempts to describe in greater and greater detail its particular subject. And yet, all human activity is subject to error. Add to that a propensity to reject or deny God and you have some problems. Psychology may have more of these problems because of it’s theoretical nature in thinking about behaviors and meaning of life. So, one must recognize the “faith” behind the science–the belief systems
    2. There are many unthinking psychologists who are Christian who have written popular treatises merely baptizing popular psychology views and adding christianese to baptise them. Rightly this has made many conservatives wary of Christian psychology

    But, lest we throw out the baby with the bath water, there is NOTHING wrong in wanting to study how people growth and change. And we all know that the world has benefited from the descriptive discoveries by secular scientists.

    Further, remember that we define psychology as the study of humanity. We don’t have to define it beginning with atheistic models. The folks at beg to differ and start from biblical concepts of people.

    So, go study psychology if you want to. Don’t forget to bring your brain with you and ask two questions:
    1. What is this scientist’s starting point?
    2. Even if it is not my own, what do they see about life that I have failed to see completely (common grace).

    Thanks for stopping by.

    • Vanessa Campbell

      well said!
      Thank you, you have helped me a lot. I have found this blog so fascinating, informative and thought provoking, you are officially in my bookmarks bar and I will continue to drop by. Thank you very much for your time.

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