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Medication as tool

My patients  know I often use metaphors to communicate ideas and one useful way of thinking about medication is as a tool.  Tools are not inherently useful.  Their utility has a lot to do with the context in which they are used and the skill of the worker.  In the hands of a skilled worker, a hammer can be use to construct a safe and effective shelter.  A careless worker can cause damage with the same hammer.  A hammer is not always the best tool for the job.  Not every nail needs to be pounded into place.  Understanding what is needed to construct an outcome means at times leaving some nails unused.  When considering an addition or change of medication, it is important to understand how medications fit into the larger picture of a person’s life.  It is also important to remember that there are often many ways to construct a dwelling and that not all dwellings require the same tools.