Author Topic: What is the buddhist perspective on relationships and prescription medication?  (Read 1116 times)

Offline amw1997

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Hello,

I'm looking for some help with some ethical guidance about being in a relationship with someone that relies on prescription medication - particularly with regard to the 5th precept "I undertake to abstain from substances which cloud the mind". To clarify, we have been dating for about 5 months but only see each other about once a week due to our clashing schedules, and  although I have a deep respect for the faith, I am not a buddhist adherent however my partner is and I want to support his beliefs.

 I have Narcolepsy which I have to take daily medication for in order to stabilise and regulate my condition. Our problem is that this medication is otherwise a stimulant-based drug that would break the fifth precept. I went through the proper medical channels and tests to receive my diagnosis, see my doctor every 6 months and see my specialist for further testing and review every two years so my medication usage and condition is very closely monitored by health professionals and I take my medication only as prescribed. My partner of course does not take the medication, however he has concerns that it will affect him if he comes into contact with my saliva while I have the medication in my system, and he won't allow himself to kiss me. Currently we have an agreement in place in which I abstain from my medication for 48 hours so we can spend time together but with our busy schedules and my need to have my medication daily it's very rare that I have a spare few days to stop taking my meds and our situation is getting to the point where we need more answers.

I find it very difficult to stay off my meds for 48 hours as I need them to stay awake and raise my concentration, and being without them does cause me great suffering - I get very easily confused and I live in a constant brain-fog and perpetual state of exhaustion. It's also not just 48 hours that my symptoms flare up - it takes me 1-2 more days extra to get my condition back under control. I have tried researching the actual medical implications of sharing saliva with someone on medication or drugs, and there is no evidence to suggest that any transference is possible. I have explained this to my partner, but he still has concerns. I have studied buddhism before academically, so I have an understanding of the core teachings and principles, but i've also tried researching our situation further from a buddhist perspective with very little luck. I want to be able to have a relationship with this person and live as my clear-minded, regular, normal-functioning self - and my disorder and medication is just a part of me that I can't change no matter how hard I try. I need to know the answer -  can a buddhist be in a relationship with someone who needs medication and still practice the fifth precept without any negative karmic consequences?

I've looked everywhere and I can't find a clear definitive answer. Any insight is very deeply appreciated!

Offline Pixie

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 I have Narcolepsy which I have to take daily medication for in order to stabilise and regulate my condition. Our problem is that this medication is otherwise a stimulant-based drug that would break the fifth precept. I went through the proper medical channels and tests to receive my diagnosis, see my doctor every 6 months and see my specialist for further testing and review every two years so my medication usage and condition is very closely monitored by health professionals and I take my medication only as prescribed. My partner of course does not take the medication, however he has concerns that it will affect him if he comes into contact with my saliva while I have the medication in my system, and he won't allow himself to kiss me. Currently we have an agreement in place in which I abstain from my medication for 48 hours so we can spend time together but with our busy schedules and my need to have my medication daily it's very rare that I have a spare few days to stop taking my meds and our situation is getting to the point where we need more answers.


Hi mw1997a,

The precepts are guidelines, not commandments, and the fifth precept is about avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs.  Buddhists who are receiving treatment from a doctor certainly aren't expected to go without prescription medication for a serious medical condition (including monks and nuns)..... especially one which is being very closely monitored by health professionals.

 I am absolutely astonished that your boyfriend "won't allow himself " to kiss you because of your medication!  That sounds pretty cranky to me, if you don't mind me saying so.

Quote

I find it very difficult to stay off my meds for 48 hours as I need them to stay awake and raise my concentration, and being without them does cause me great suffering - I get very easily confused and I live in a constant brain-fog and perpetual state of exhaustion. It's also not just 48 hours that my symptoms flare up - it takes me 1-2 more days extra to get my condition back under control. I have tried researching the actual medical implications of sharing saliva with someone on medication or drugs, and there is no evidence to suggest that any transference is possible. I have explained this to my partner, but he still has concerns.

Narcolepsy is a serious illnesss, please don't do this, don't let yourself be persuaded to stop taking your medication by someone you've only known for five months, your health and general wellbeing are more important.

If you want to continue having a relationship with this person, then my suggestion would be that you tell your doctor what has been happening, and then take your boyfriend to the next consultation with you, so that he can be told the details of your condition and that you need to keep taking the medication.

I hope you don't mind me saying this -  but if he refuses to accept that you need to keep taking the medication every day, then maybe you need to ask yourself some questions about the relationship itself.


Wishing you all the very best for your health and happiness,

Pixie _/|\_
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 06:08:25 am by Pixie »
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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I am not a buddhist adherent however my partner is and I want to support his beliefs.

Your partner does not sound like a Buddhist to me, particularly if engaging in heedless sex with an unsuitable partner, i.e., if sex is occurring. If you are sexually active, a practising Buddhist would have sorted out this medication matter before engaging in sex. Regardless, your partner appears to be quite undeveloped in loving-kindness and their obsessiveness about the drug thing sounds like narcissism. That he fears ingesting some of your medication and wants you to not take your medication when he wants to kiss you is extreme selfishness. This narcissistic selfishness is far worse bad kamma than ingesting harmless amounts of medication. The precept on intoxicants is to avoid heedlessness. If the amount of intoxicant does not lead to heedlessness then it does not transgress the precept.

Best wishes  :namaste:

« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 08:47:29 pm by VisuddhiRaptor »

Offline KathyLauren

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My brother has narcolepsy, and takes medication for it.  The medications do not "cloud his mind", they uncloud it.

Your partner's concern is not reasonable.  He should not be asking you to stop your medications.  You should not stop them to accommodate him.  Even if your saliva did contain traces of the medication, the quantity would be so small that his objection sounds like a phobia based on a magical interpretation of Buddhism, not anything reasonable.

I know of no Buddhist teacher who recommends avoiding treatment that is prescribed by a doctor for a medical condition.  The Four Noble Truths, the most basic of the Buddhist teachings, are written in the form of a diagnosis and a prescription.  So Buddhists in general have great respect for the medical profession.

Take your meds!

Om mani padme hum
Kathy

Offline Ecanmadi

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What to do to be successful, there is an easier way.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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In over 30 years of study of The Suttas and too many coversations with those who have studied the sutras, I have never heard of any precepts or teachings, which prevent Buddhists from taking any necessary medications from a qualified physician.

If your "partner" insists, I would suggest that  you ask him to produce the so-called teaching, which prevents use of medication to help with  your diagnosed illness.

 :hug:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Zen44

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The longer you take medicine the more better you get used to it.
Dzogchen Teachings

 


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