Doing Life Together

fearOften, I get asked if taking an antidepressant for depression is wrong for a person of faith. We need to be careful to judge people as to why they take medication. Depression can be a secondary effect of a disease like cancer, heart disease and other syndromes and disorders. When depression is medically induced, it often takes a medical solution to correct the biological changes. Also depression can be a side effect of certain medications as well. And there are people more genetically prone to depression. This doesn’t mean depression is automatic, but it may mean that as life circumstances pile up, depression can result.

Antidepressants can be useful for depression treatment. In my opinion, their use should be determined by the cause of the depression and the response of other approaches. So for example, people with bipolar medications need to be on a mood stabilizer. This type of depression is treated with medication. Other types of what we call unipolar depression, like major depressive disorders, persistent depression, etc. need to look at the root of the depression and what it takes to keep a person safe and functioning. If medication is a part of that plan, I have no issue with using it.

The choice isn’t medication or faith. Both can be at work. As Christians however, we believe that God is our ultimate healer. We pray and believe for healing. Taking an antidepressant is not a lack of faith anymore than taking insulin is a lack of faith for the healing of diabetes. Does a Christian diabetic pray to be healed? Yes. But until he sees evidence of the healing, he doesn’t throw away the insulin.

Medication sometimes improves mood enough for people to revitalize their spiritual lives. Antidepressants don’t replace spirituality. We are not dependent on anything but God. Medications are simply agents to get you functioning again. And medications are not cures so we still must work on the causes of clinical depression.

An important step in your healing is to build your faith through the Word of God. The more you fill yourself with the Word, the more you can stand in faith for healing. Speak the Word of God over the depression. Claim His promise for a sound mind and peace. Stand on the Word no matter how you feel and you see improvement because so much of depression treatment is renewing the mind. If you find you need medication along the way, you haven’t let God down. Use what you need.

Be willing to explore all aspects of the depression. For example, explore if you are holding on to anger and hurt, are you  getting sleep or running yourself  in the ground, do you think negatively about most situations, do you need to change your behavior and thinking? Lifestyle changes and talk therapy are powerful in terms of depression treatment.

Medications should not be used to avoid parts of life in need of change. But they are an aid that is sometimes necessary given the multiple causes of depression.

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