The medication topic often comes up in my office for obvious reasons. My general stance is if medication is not necessary, then why use it. However, and I do mean however, if I assess someone to possibly need to be evaluated for medications, then indeed I believe it is necessary and this is based on how well and how urgent the client is currently coping. If there are issues that need immediate addressing medically, such as bi-polar disorder, or even the over-medicated ADHD, then so be it. On the other hand, I do not advocate medication when there are other, non-medical, options available. The key here is to ask, "what else is available?"
Let me address the ADHD thing some more. I have observed, and been told, that schools often jump on the ADHD-Medication Bandwagon when a child is not able to function appropriately in class. This could be ADHD. It could be a personality clash. It could be trouble at home, anxiety, and/or some other issue not at the tip of my tongue or typing fingers. Whatever it is, first priority is that the child suffer as little negative feedback as possible. In other words, if we can't get the issues addressed pretty fast without medication, then medication could be necessary and it is also depending on the evaluation by an appropriate medical doctor. But, let me be clear, medication is not my first focus.
The other medication issue is with adults. If bipolar is an issue, in my experience, it is rare that a person with bipolar could ever possibly do everything they would need to do to manage it without medication. In fact, off hand, I can't remember anyone doing it. However, what may look like bipolar, may not be bipolar. Just as ADHD is, so is bipolar. I explore options and then decide what is the best path to mental health, be it medication or not. One has to weigh the priorities and options and then decide how long they want to struggle without medications, if indeed they are assessed as needed, or just helpful. In any case, the ultimate decision is that of the individual's. I suggest that you be completely informed before that decision is made.
My hope is that if one chooses to see me as a therapist, he/she will indeed do so with an open mind and not be dead set against something that is actually a blessing that we do indeed have those options. I have found that it is usually those that are dead set against medications that are the ones who need it the most. Perhaps it is their fears that make this true, for what we fear the most, we do indeed bring towards us. And indeed fear can keep us from living to our best potentials.
However, since I do not prescribe medications, I certainly do attempt to provide other ways to heal such as those I have been trained for. My tools are the infamous talk method, the use of art, EFT, and encouraging other forms of therapeutic activities. Whatever ones are used, medication is only one option, never the only option, and should never be used as the total treatment.
Debbie Urban LPC