Medicating the Soul: Why Medication Needs Stories

John Swinton* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper explores and develops a theological perspective on taking and receiving medication. It argues that the task of prescribing and administering psychopharmaceutical drugs is a thoroughly theological enterprise and should be looked at and practiced accordingly. The paper presents a theological anthropology that opens up space for rethinking the role of medication not only in relation to therapeutic intervention, but in relation to the chief end of human beings: to glorify God and live with God forever Drawing on theology and the narratives of people living with mental health challenges, the paper seeks to facilitate a movement from neurons to souls: a movement that realigns the goals of prescribing and opens up space to rethink the nature of "symptoms" and the ultimate intentions of the psychopharmacological enterprise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-318
Number of pages17
JournalChristian bioethics
Issue number3
Early online date26 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • pharmacological healing
  • pharmacomania
  • psychotropic medication
  • severe mental health challenges
  • soul
  • symptoms
  • theological anthropology


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