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Psychiatric Medication and Spirituality

An Unforeseen Relationship
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Challenging an exclusively medical approach to mental health and illness, this book considers the impact psychiatric drugs can have on spirituality.

In the last thirty years, a dramatic rise in medication as a treatment for mental illness has occurred in tandem with increasing numbers of people entering treatment with a spiritually-oriented understanding of their suffering. The unforeseen result is that some people taking psychiatric drugs are engaging with them in ways that can have a profound impact on the course and outcome of treatment. Based on interviews with people on psychiatric medication who regard spirituality as significant in their lives, this book reveals how medication can be perceived as both helpful and harmful to spirituality.

The author argues that spirituality must be considered in debates around psychopharmacology.
  • Published: Jul 05 2017
  • Pages: 240
  • 230 x 161mm
  • ISBN: 9781785921261
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Press Reviews

  • Robert Whitaker, journalist and author of 'Anatomy of an Epidemic'

    Societal debate about psychiatric drugs usually focuses on whether the drugs are "effective" or do more "good than harm". In this well-written, thoughtful book, Lynne Vanderpot explores the effects of psychiatric medications through a different lens: how do the medications affect one's subjective experience of being alive, and more particularly, one's internal experience of a spiritual life? Hers is a thoughtful, clear exploration of an important subject, and on every page her respect for the users of these medications and the diversity of their experiences shines through.
  • David A. Karp, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Boston College and author of 'Is It Me or My Meds? Living with Antidepressants'

    Drawing on twenty compelling personal stories, Vanderpot attends to a fundamental, yet neglected problem - how and why psychiatric medications either enhance or inhibit healing spiritual responses to profound emotional suffering. The data highlight the troubling myopia of exclusively biological explanations and treatments of mental illness. Here you will learn just how a range of life contingencies differently shape our perceptions and experiences of pain, pills and personhood. Many readers, grabbed by its numerous striking insights, will themselves be transformed by this innovative volume.
  • Katherine Sharpe, author of Coming of Age on Zoloft (Harper Perennial, 2012)

    Unlike doctors, people who take psychiatric medication measure the success of their treatment not just on clinical outcomes, but on how the drugs affect the totality of their lives. That includes spirituality-the search for meaning and purpose, as well as the feeling of connectedness to self, others, and the divine. Vanderpot's book is sensitively written and uniquely focused, a valuable addition to the conversation about the use of medication in the real world.
  • Nancy Kehoe RSCJ, PhD, author of 'Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness and the Journey to Wholeness'

    In exploring the relationship between spirituality and medication, Vanderpot invites both the prescribers of medication and the recipients of the medication to reflect more deeply on the person's life as a whole, a body-mind-spirit individual. To truly know a person in this way requires time. Unfortunately in the current limits of 15' medication sessions, a significant relationship cannot be established and the person suffers. All that is of value to them is not explored. Hopefully, this book can help us challenge the problems and dangers inherent in such limited encounters.
  • Professor William West, University of Chester

    Anyone interested in psychiatric medication and spirituality and how they interact in people's lives should read this excellent book. It is well researched and an easy and engaging read. It raises some truly important questions about how we view and treat human suffering including the impact of psychiatric medicine on the whole person.
  • Paris Williams, PhD., Clinical Psychologist and author of 'Rethinking Madness'

    In this thought-provoking book, Vanderpot makes the compelling case that the question of whether or not to use psychiatric drugs is more than simply a routine 'treatment' decision, but rather entails a sacred process of deep self-exploration. Drawing keen insights from the stories of those who have grappled deeply with this issue, Vanderpot invites us to consider the profound impact that psychiatric drug treatment has on the deepest levels of one's being, a question that becomes increasingly important as psychiatric drug use continues to escalate in the world today.