Some people actually need these medications, and have no quality of life without them. The most common family of drugs used for anxiety are called benzodiazepines (i.e. Xanax, Valium, and others). Some people can learn to manage their anxiety without them, but many just simply can’t.
They gave Jacobsen nutritional supplements and told him to participate in Bible study. Some people can become dependent on these anxiety medicines.
The Reverend Hanges said that Jacobsen could make his own decisions and be trusted to make the right choice involving his medicine. However, he was certified online to be a counselor. No one should be taking any medical advice from him. Real counselors have to go to school, get trained, and get a real license.
If the patients believe that Bible study will help, that’s wonderful, but using the Bible as a substitute for medicine is dangerous and unacceptable. After being off the medicine, Jacobsen told Hanges that he wasn’t “feeling right” and was suicidal. The pastor just told him the feelings would pass.
When he was finally under the care of real medical professionals, the doctors said that Jacobsen could’ve died from stopping the medications suddenly.
The Society for the Study of Addiction says that the side effects from stopping anxiety meds suddenly can include insomnia, fatigue, psychosis, and suicidal thoughts.
Jacobsen’s father said:
“They do not have the medical or psychological training to do what they’re doing. If the state doesn’t require some sort of oversight, this will happen to other families.”