Clarification: Taking Your Meds is NOT a Sin!!

Last week, someone e-mailed me claiming that I had said taking medication if you have an eating disorder is a sin.

To clear that misconception up, let me be clear: I NEVER said that, nor is that a conviction I hold.

What I HAVE said, both online and in my book, is that neither psychotropic drugs nor SSSI inhibitors have any proven effects in treating anorexia or bulimia. However, both forms of anti-depressants are routinely prescribed for both.

This is nothing new: the late eighties saw a boon in the prescription of anti-depressants for various types of psycho-somatic conditions, and the presupposed connection between depression and bulimia made Prozac the medication of choice. Even today, psychiatrists continue to treat EDs with antidepressants, despite numerous studies and much anecdotal evidence proving the chemical treatment ineffective. (This is not my opinion - it is medical fact. Please e-mail me if you would like me to cite specific sources). At least one ADA study has shown that psychotropics actually worsen symptoms in patients under 18.

They don't know what else to do, so they dispense the world's answer: chemicals.

Furthermore, I have studied and written extensively about the spiritual causes and, more importantly, solutions, to anorexia and bulimia - which are sins. I have not gotten into the various types of depression, nor do I intend to. I do not claim to be some kind of an expert on clinical depression, and while it is my opinion that depression usually has spiritual roots, I am well aware that organic conditions (such as PPD) can cause severe depression. Although I have never experienced this myself, I know several very godly, conservative Christian women who have. Taking medication, at least for a short period of time to get yourself "over the hump", sometimes seems to help (although I am not necessarily advocating this, either. I am not knowledgeable enough about how hormonal levels effect the emotions to have an informed opinion, and I am therefore neutral).

Getting back to the question of whether I "would say a woman is in sin for taking meds", (that's a direct quote, by the way), not only is it NOT sin to take physician prescribed-medication, any biblical counselor worth her salt would NEVER tell a counselee to stop taking her meds. To do so would be a very serious ethics violation, and now the counselor would be the one "in sin". In fairness, even the Word-Faith "Healing Room" individuals I have known are careful to tell the people they pray over to continue taking their prescriptions until a physician tells them otherwise.

By way of information, suddenly quitting antidepressants "cold turkey" is dangerous. A good friend of mine, who is an RN, has been trying to wean herself off antidepressants for over a year. In order to counteract the severe migraines and other physical symptoms she experiences, she must take a slew of herbal supplements because of the dependency her peripheral nervous system has built up. The myelin sheath that covers her neurons is, in a word, shot. It will take some time to get her body back up to speed, but she rues the day she started taking meds. (This year's NANC conference featured an excellent workshop on the effects of psychotropic drugs on the body).

If you want to help women have hope in Christ and turn away (repent) from their eating disorders and other addictions, it helps to do your homework.

To re-cap:

1) I never said taking doctor-prescribed medication puts you "in sin";
2) People practicing eating disordered behaviors are, in fact, sinning;
3) Anti-depressants, both psychotropics and SSSI inhibitors, are utterly ineffectual at curing eating disorders;
4) Any counselor, nouthetic or non, who tells a counselee to stop taking her medication is the one sinning - no matter how useless said medication may be.

Hope that clears things up.

"Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." -- James 3:1


  1. I agree with what you said 100%.I think that it is a shame that so many young girls follow the pack.The problem is that we treat everything in today's society as a mental disorder.I agree with you that medications are not the cure for what ails us.My mother took anti-psychotic medication for 35 years and she would still hear voices and become dellustional.They had to keep changing her medication.In 1989,she became so lithium toxic she lost control of her legs.Keep up the good work,you are an instrument of God,and he is using you.

  2. Thank you, Michael. I've been attacked online quite a bit this month and it's wearing me down. That is encouraging to hear.


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