One of the most common questions I get asked has to do with taking an antidepressant for depression. People wonder if it is wrong for a person of faith to rely on medication.
First, we need to be careful not to judge people as to why they take medication. There are many reasons people may need an antidepressant. For example, depression can be a secondary effect of a disease like cancer, heart disease, or other syndromes and disorders. When depression is medically induced, it often takes a medical solution to correct the biological changes that result from the disease. Also, depression can be a side effect of certain medications. 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. Their use is usually determined by the cause of the depression and the response of using other approaches. For example, people with bipolar medications need to be on a mood stabilizer. This type of depression is treated with medication. Other types of depression, like major depressive disorders, persistent depression, etc. need a focus on the root of the depression and what it takes to keep a person safe and functioning. Medication is often necessary.
The choice isn’t between medication or faith. Both can work together. We know God is our ultimate healer and pray for healing. Taking an antidepressant is not a lack of faith any more than taking insulin is a lack of faith for the healing of diabetes. God works through modern medicine as well as the miraculous.
One of the benefits of using a medication is that it sometimes improves mood enough for people to revitalize their spiritual lives. Antidepressants don’t replace spirituality but can be an agent to get you functioning again. And because medications treat symptoms, you still have to work on the causes of clinical depression.
An important step in healing is to build faith through the Word of God. Claim God’s promises for a sound mind and peace. Stand on the Word no matter how you feel. Continue to renew your mind. If you find you need medication along the way, you haven’t let God down. Use what you need.
Finally, be willing to explore all aspects of the depression. For example, are you 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.
Mental health and medications