I am an evangelical Christian and have been told by pastors in my denomination that it is wrong to give my almost 9 year old son medication for his ADHD. These are not medical doctors however. I am put in a very bad position as a parent and church member knowing that this is what is best for my son.
Is it sinful to give medication to my... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...
I'm not qualified to answer this question specifically but I wanted to welcome you to the group and say that you are not alone. Many people here are conflicted or confused for a variety of reasons - it takes a while to figure out the right path for your family. You might also want to do a search to see if other people have had similar issues regarding faith. You will find that, in general, being in conflict with community or family over ADHD treatment is very common. At the beginning of our diagnosis, I had a lot of people trying to talk me out of what I felt or could see with my own eyes. This group really helped me be ok with trusting my gut.
There is so much judgment around ADHD, especially in making the decision to put your child on medication. If this were any other chronic illness would you be told the same thing? You know your child & your circumstances best and are the only one who can make that decision. I hope that whatever you decide you & your family feel confident and supported. 💗
As a Christian, I don't believe that my 8 year old son would be able to live a godly life at this time if it weren't for his ADHD medication. It does not change his heart or makes him behave - it just gives him that 1/2 second to think about his actions and listen to the Lord.
Though I am protestant, I have friends in a variety of Christian faiths (protestant, evangelical, Catholic, etc) who have used ADHD medication under the guidance of a medical professional. One of them even is my pastor. Unless your church rejects all medical treatments for any medical condition, I do not believe ADHD should be singled out. It is a real neurodevelopmental disorder.
You have to do what is best for your child at the end of the day. It was a very hard decision for me to have my 7 year old on meds. I think giving him meds for his ADHD was the best thing for him. My son was struggling in so many things. Many people that are not going through this situation will not understand. Your child happiness and well being is more important than any religion. I believe GOD would agree. I am catholic and there are many things I disagree within my religion but when it comes to my children nothing matters!
I’m not religious at all. But I do have a question that might assist... If God created us, he also gave us the ability to learn, create and love. Over the course of hundreds of years we have evolved science to a point where we can treat illnesses with scientific methods that are repeatable, tested and created with the intent to better lives. If he didn’t want us to think, act, grow, learn on our own, then why give us higher thinking brains? I don’t know, maybe I’m coo coo, and I certainly don’t want to offend anyone. I think you have love for your child, and that makes you intelligent and loving. It’s what He wants you to be... how could any decision you make from that point of view be wrong?
Dear sweet mama... I am a Pastors wife and we have been to Hell and back dealing with ADHD. We have tried 15 different meds for Anxiety, depression and now ADHD. I would try 15 more if I thought it might possibly give our daughter a better quality of life. I see nothing in scripture that says medicine is a sin. Please don’t put that burden of guilt on your shoulders too. I’m sure your Pastor is trying to be helpful but good Lord... NO ONE knows the grief and pain of watching your child struggle and suffer with this illness unless they have walked in your shoes. I think it’s cruel to even suggest such a thing to you. God is good and kind and merciful even in everything we don’t understand. If meds help your child thank God... but please don’t for a second think that is a sin. I’m sad that you have even had to carry that on top of everything else.
My dear friend. I feel for you. Please know that medicating your child for ADHD is similar to medicating your child for diabetes. We are judged by others, but mostly because they do not understand. My child cannot learn without medicating her ADHD. We saw her learning results without medication and then tested her learning results with medication. Her progress with medication was amazing. If you’ve tried everything else, medication can be worth a try. I wish you well. You are your child’s strongest advocate - surround yourself with people who want your child to succeed.
The key is to understand that doctors and scientists have lots of data on ADHD and know that it is in fact a medical condition that involves a lack of neurotransmitters in the brain. The ADHD brain cannot function properly, learn well, or practice self-control without help. Show your pastor some articles about the science of this condition. I just took a 10-week course with a top doctor in developmental pediatrics and he believes based on science and data and his long experience working with ADHD kids that not medicating borders on negligent medical behavior. In the end, you are the one who knows what is best for your child--not relatives, not neighbors, and not even pastors. If you have take a hit for your kid, I say do it. But maybe you can open your pastor's mind and heart to understand this very real medical condition. Good luck!!
That’s such a hard place to be in as a Christian parent!
I am an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, and my oldest daughter has inattentive ADHD. She has been on medication since the end of first grade and it had made a huge difference in her school experience.
There is no biblical reason to avoid medication. The main caution in the Bible against using substances is related to drunkenness - the abuse of a substance that puts someone out of their their right senses, so that they are silly at best and a hazard to themselves or others at worst.
God has given humanity creativity, natural resources and the wisdom/insight to develop things to make life better. Eyeglasses, antibiotics, and ADHD medications are some of those inventions that help people in their daily lives. As long as a medication is not being abused, there is no biblical reason to avoid it.
As was mentioned by others, each family has the right to weigh the pros/cons of ADHD treatment options and choose the one they think fits best. I just want to let you know that I do not see any Scriptural prohibition of such medication .
It is absolutely not sinful. In my opinion if God created us and made us intelligent he also gave us the tools to solve some of our own issues here on earth so He can deal with the big stuff. Medication, when warranted, is one of those tools. You and your son are at a turning point and you have an opportunity to set him up for success in life. I say take it. By the way you and your son are the ones who have to face constant challenges with misbehaving - which may be out of his control! - inability to complete simple tasks, constantly running late.... inability to SHINE and show off all his wonderful and special God given talents - all the things that go along with ADHD and which by the way are as hard on the kid as they are on us. Do not feel guilty. There is a reason the law recognizes and protects the privacy of medical information. It’s personal as is how you choose to handle it, treat it and disclose or discuss those treatments. Mom, only you will know what is right for you and your family but I feel by reaching out here you may have already made that decision. Wishing you, your doctor and your wonderful son all the best.
I am a member of a church that certainly doesn't say anything above ADHD medication. But no one in my church knows what decisions I've made for my daughter or grandchildren unless I have confided in a friend.
God gave scientists and doctors the gift of being able to create medications that cure ills and help people lead better lives. I hope you are able to make the decisions you are comfortable with for your child.
I have been an evangelical Christian my entire life. I also minored in biblical languages (I’m rusty, but could read the entire Bible in its original Greek and Hebrew). I also hold a Seminary degree where my study focused on how people learn and grow throughout the life stages. And I spent 10 years as a pastor’s wife and 16 years ministering to pastors and people who have been hurt by churches. That’s a lot of background, but all that is to say this:
It is not simply a matter of having enough faith, or praying the right way (I’ve heard them all). You would not tell a diabetic that. Or feed someone something they’re allergic to and pray for the best. The places where Jesus healed someone and commended them for their faith were in a world where the gifts of creative discovery and science had not yet progressed. And it was Jesus providing the immediate healing and telling them to have faith. Jesus equipped his disciples to cast out demons...and they did until they came across one they couldn’t. And in every situation, Jesus loved them an took pity on them (or was moved to act; depending on your translation). Are the people and pastors telling you medicating your child is sinful or lacking in faith loving you and your kiddo like Jesus did?
I believe (as all of you do) that accessing medicine to help restore us to how He would have us does not mean our faith is misguided. In fact, it is biblical. One passage is: 2 Kings 20:7, "Then Isaiah said, "Prepare a poultice of figs." and they did so and applied it to a boil and he recovered." I read a devotion this morning dealing with this, and the author said it best, "Let us not limit God to only work in one way, but acknowledge His presence in all things that bring us to greater wholeness." Our beautiful 11 year-old son Christopher takes his medicines everyday, seven days a week. When we are sitting as a family in church each Sunday, he can better understand the teachings of the Lord because of it. Ilovebelle, I have prayed for you and your pastor. VolcanoMom, after reading your post, I believe you are on the right path, and your day is coming. God bless you all.
Thank you for sharing your story. I am also a Christian, Southern Baptist. First let me say that it isn't anywhere in the Bible stating any sin in helping a child with medication. If your child had cancer, would it be sinful to give chemo? I think not. Often people say these things out of ignorance, without understanding the cost of NOT giving medication. Untreated kids are 60% more likely to misuse drugs and alcohol in attempts to self-medicate. I have a seven year old son who just started medication this week. It was painful to see him struggle on a daily basis. I honestly believe it would have been a sin to ignore his needs, just because of my own discomfort. Our family has "chimed in" about meds, but this isn't their fight, its ours. And I will fight for my son before I let anyone bully us into doing what they think. That being said, there are a lot of natural things to give your son that has really helped mine (technically not medication): Magnesium 150mg/day (gummies from Amazon) for emotional regulation, chia (spoonful mixed with a little Nutella) every day for omega 3 (helps emotional regulation), and saffron 30mg/day from Amazon (two 15mg capsules) for focus. Plus a good multivitamin and probiotic. Be strong momma. This life we live with our kiddos isn't for the faint of heart. You are your son's best advocate. Arm yourself with facts and educate yourself on positive parenting as well. There are tons of podcasts and on-line resources/supports. Also some great books from Amazon for ADHD parents. It has made a huge difference for us. Lastly, it isn't anyone's business whether or not your child takes meds. It IS ok to tell them that.
Much love and support!!
I’ll be blunt. You’re responsible for your child’s health, not your pastor or even your doctor. If your child is struggling to function due to MEDICALLY diagnosed ADHD so much so that you see a risk to his wellbeing, you need to address it. Untreated ADHD can lead to other behavior disorders like anxiety & depression, which can drive oppositional defiance as the child tries to cope unsuccessfully. As he ages without treatment, this can worsen into conduct disorders & aggression. Trouble at school, with relationships, and finally with laws may progress. I suspect many young people caught in our penal system may have avoided the situation with early intervention of the underlying brain chemical disorders, like ADHD. ADHD is a genetic, biological disorder, NOT from poor parenting, however, the progressing behavior & mood disorders can be mitigated by the right parenting tactics or worsened by the wrong ones. Medication makes the right parenting tactics work better. Do your own research on treatments, including medication, micronutrients, parenting methods, and family therapy. Some combination of all these things may be the answer. Then follow your mother’s intuition on what to do. Pray for the strength to endure. It’s a long road.
Find another church. Jesus expmplifies empathy and love. There are many, many Christian scientists that Jesus directs in making medications, medical research, treatments, etc. Look at all of the posts below. People who are in your shoes very rarely lecture against medication therapy. I was anti-medication until I had a child with ADHD. Only those in your shoes truly understand. God Bless.
Hello, I was also raised evangelical and my advice would be to pray and use your own relationship with God and not be guided by human pastors who are in no way experts in ADHD. God entrusted YOU with the care of your son and that means doing right by your son. Would our God deny glasses to those who can’t see or medication to stop tremors for those who have Parkinson’s or insulin to regulate blood sugar in those who are diabetic? Search your heart, educate yourself and work with a team of professionals who are experts in ADHD. Let your pastors guide you on spiritual matters and let your own education, knowledge that your God is a God of love and wants the best for you and your son, and your team of medical experts guide you on your sons ADHD treatment. My son (and I, as I have adhd too - diagnosed as an adult) have benefitted greatly from medication as a part of our treatment. My prayers are with you momma.
I'm not qualified to comment for many reasons, including the fact I am a "nice Jewish boy". That being said, the general philosophy in Judaism is that your health is more important than any particular religious observance. For example, if fasting would put your health at risk, eating or drinking on a fast day would be allowed. Presumably the same principles would apply to medication. (Not that I am aware of any limitations, even among Orthodox Jews.)
I just wanted to reach out as a Bible believing christian and also as someone who was diagnosed with ADHD by 2 and medicated by 4. There is no where in the bible that says that is sinful to go to a doctor (only sorcerers and relying on witchcraft, they had doctors in their time as well) for treatment of anything. So if you are talking to your DOCTOR about the needs of your child and not the local Shaman, you are perfectly within the guidelines the bible is talking about. God created all the things on this earth and so many are used to treat many ailments. It says in the Bible that we were given these plants specifically to treat and heal our bodies. So as science has progressed and they have been able to find the exact properties of plants and how to pinpoint ailments and there causes, why would that be condemned to use that knowledge. He gave us both the plants to use and our brains. The verse they are talking about is being taken out of context. In the old Testament when it says to use "poison from sorcerers" to treat ailments was wrong, but rather to use the herbs it has to do with the culture of the time. In that time period there were shops up and down their cities of "mystics,sorcerers, witches" that would give people healing potions. It was crockery at it's finest. However desperate people who are looking for anything to help, and science not in a place that they could pinpoint the cause so it could be treated, were also willing to try anything. At the time many of those potions were as likely to kill you as they were to "heal" you. Hence the strong warning. In this day and age it is not quite the same thing. Comparative to modern times it would be like you going to the local palm readers shop only to have her give you a concoction of things that may, yes, help in one way but done wrong, or in the wrong dose, or with a lack of true understanding could do the opposite and make things incredibly worse, or just plain swindle you.
My adderall has never affected my salvation in any way. My mother was not a sinner for finding help for me in the form of medication on coping skills. In fact she did what a good, loving mother would and did her best armed with as much research, advice, and love that she could muster. If you believe that God knit your child together in your womb and knew his name before he was placed there, even the numbers of hairs on his head, then know that he knows your sons struggles and hurts in this fallen world. He knows that he needs the help of medication, that life will always just be a little bit harder, that sin created death on this planet but he loves YOUR child and gave him to YOU to raise for a reason. My ADHD has been a blessing and a curse in many ways but I am not ashamed of it, but I do need the medication to meet the expectations that are placed on me in this day and age. That is not wrong, no more then an asthmatic needing an inhaler. My brain does not handle dopamine levels correctly, so there are things that help that, finding them is not sinful. P.S. It is not something I normally encourage but I would maybe look for more supportive churches. People are people no matter their role and a lack of understanding can color their thoughts. I guarantee if they had to watch their own child struggle with depression, anxiety, social encounters, school and ever other aspect of daily living they would want the support of those around them. There is a huge stigma with ADHD that it does not exist and is rather a self-control, environment, or discipline problem. People with that mentality are the ones you need to remove from your life for the time being because this is a hard road for your child and for you and you need a support system that will try and love and support you both, even if that means medication.
Mini-Rant over, hoped it helped
I’m so sorry you’re being made to feel torn like this. With all due respect, I personally don’t believe that it’s my church’s place to tell me how to medically treat my child. And I say that as a Christian. This is only my opinion, though, you will have to do whatever you think is right for your child and within your belief system. IMO, God gives us medical interventions to help us with our health challenges. Taking ADHD meds is no different from taking blood pressure medicine or thyroid meds for other health issues. Unless you’re a Christian Scientist or something, no one would tell you it is sinful to medicate in those circumstances.
LloveBelle, ADHD is a biological condition. It can’t be changed by willpower or trying harder. Our kids brains don’t have enough neurotransmitters to allow their brain to function optimally. Medication increases the amount of neurotransmitters available to their brain. Statistics show that kids who do not get medication are at high risk for drug and alcohol abuse, unintended pregnancies, accidents and poor school performance. Some of these effects are because the kids develop low self esteem because they do poorly in school. Unmedicated, they will most likely drop out of college, if they go at all. Eighty percent of this condition is attributable to genetics. We are so lucky to be living in a time where the condition is understood so much better and when they are so many types of medication to choose from - unlike when my poor brothers grew up. Before I put my son on medication I had him take a year of educational therapy. He continued to lose ground in school. Things didn’t change around until I put him on medication. And now that I know more, of course it didn’t change, because without medication his brain could not focus enough to take in the needed information.
Please watch this video from a widely respected ADHD expert to learn more. I wish I had seen this early on in my sons diagnosis. I’ll send it in another message. Also, join your local CHADD group to learn more and commune with other parents/adults dealing with this diagnosis. I recently joined and I’m so glad I did.
Hugs to you and your family.