Link between faith and relief from depression?


#1

My gut tells me that a believer is less likely to suffer from depression than a non-believer. And that a person who suffers from depression might have relief when they develop a closer relationship with God. Is there any research that backs up this belief? Do you know of anyone who has suffered from depression and found relief or healing as a result of a stronger faith?


#2

My DH has a very close relationship with God and is a faithful, practicing Catholic. He is very involved in the church (always has been) and can quote scripture, papal encyclicals, and theological arguments from memory. He also suffers from chronic depression. His depression is unresponsive to medication (and he has tried just about every combination of antidepressants on the market) - no change in depression.

There is no connection between faith and depression, in my experience.


#3

Real depressive disorder is biological, and the person can’t help being depressed; therefore, only medication will help, and even than some aren’t helped at all by meds… They need our prayers of healing and counseling.


#4

Not even close to being accurate–I suffer from major depression with irregular sleep patterns and suicidal thoughts and the cause of my depression is, simply put, a broken heart which some stupid little pill is not going to fix. It may make me “feel better” until the effects wear off but that doesn’t help or aid me in any way because it’s an artificial and temporary alleviation of the symptoms that doesn’t touch the root cause.


#5

That’s depression from circumstances…I’m talking about biological depression with no known cause or circumstance. Many of these people have a chemical imbalance and meds do help.


#6

What are some ways to help someone who is suffering from depression? I am not a sufferer, so feel like I can’t be helpful because what works for me isn’t relevant. Any suggestions?


#7

Let’s see: oppression is a ‘pressing’ by external forces; suppression is a ‘pressing’ by the individual on the same individual (for whatever reasons); depression is a ‘pressing’ some say is biological, but can be morally as in guilt.

Sometimes it becomes the chicken or the egg theme, does the ‘chemical imbalance’ come first or is it caused by the ‘pressing’? Grief has similar effects on a person, especially if one is trying to suppress it and does not go through it’s phases. And, in grief, there are things that ‘cannot’ be reversed… they are final! So, they cannot be addressed either… except by accepting such facts as they are.

And yes, it is hard for an outsider to help when the person seems to be doing it to themselves… the more one tries, the more the other ‘presses’. This is where medication comes in to lighten the weight so it can be dealt with by a saner mentality. But, not all depression has the same answers… there are many causes.

Is faith the answer? Perhaps in some cases; perhaps forgiveness in others; perhaps unconditional love in others; perhaps medication in others; faith and all it’s attributes certainly can’t hurt… but it’s hard to find and believe when one is in the throws of depression.


#8

Jesus said at Gethsemane, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death.”

That doesn’t sound like He was up on the mount of feel-good, now does it? And you certainly can’t accuse Him of “lack of faith.”

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk and Hieromartyr St. Mitrophan of China both suffered from clinical depression.

“Christians don’t get depressed. They have Jesus”. This is a lie from the pits of hell that has kept many people in the bondage not only of depression, but self-condemnation.

Clinical depression is a PHYSICAL DISEASE! It’s not a moral or spiritual failing. It’s a chemical imbalance, like diabetes and gout, which in many cases can be helped by the proper medicine.

I know, because I have all three. I know, because I lived in this bondage for years. I didn’t know I was supposed to feel happy.


#9

So what can one do to help or support a person with depression? Those of you who suffer, is there anything another person (loved one) can do?


#10

It does no good to tell someone suffering from clinical depression, “Snap out of it!” or “You’re not supposed to feel this way.”’

Trust me. NOBODY likes feeling this way. And the patient has little conscious control over how he feels. Feelings just are.

A hug and saying something like, “I’m sorry you’re hurting. I hope you will feel better soon,” will do more good.

Also, if appropriate, remind the patient that while he is feeling sad now, he does have periods where he doesn’t feel this way.


#11

As a general reminder, please remember to refrain from giving medical advice in this thread.

Thank you!

Klara


#12

I have major depression. I guess it’s circumstantial. I did not receive unconditional love from my mother after being sexually abused by my father when I was a young girl. I did receive verbal abuse and name calling from my mother, but she also cared for me enough to provide shelter, food, clothing, doctor visits, and made sure I got to school. But I had a really big hole inside me for most of my life. I’m no longer angry and hateful towards my father, whom is now decease, and instead now pray for him. The one I am still angry with is my mother. I’ve been trying to fill this hole in me for the last 10 years by trying to live my catholic faith. I’m still angry with God, but he is the only one who has come close to filling that hole inside me. I pray that God fills me with love for him, and I do seek him more often now than before. I’ve been on medication and psycho therapy for 10 years now which really helped with recognizing the anger and hate I was filled with and also helped me to realize that I must change. But, in the end, it’s God that has helped me open my eyes to my needing him and how I cannot be without him. I still have more anger in me to get out of my system, and I know that with his help, I will someday be free from depression. So, in my case there is a link between my faith and relief from depression, but it’s also evident that I need to take my medicine in order to help control my behavior.


#13

I suffer from major depression but I have weak faith. However, even my weak faith is a comfort in times of depression.


#14

Clinical depression is a complicated disease. Yes it is biological, but it is just as much mental. That is why a pill isn’t going to fix the disease. The standard treatment is counseling + meds.

You can’t fix clinical depression. You manage it.

I read a book ment for teenagers called “Monocrome Days”. It really helped me understand the pathology of depression.


#15

I have heard that the chemical imbalance theory can only be proven after an MRI has shown structural differences in the brain.

Most people are diagnosed with some form of depression via a family doctor, not a psych, causing a lot of confusion on why the meds are not working.


#16

Medications help certain people tremendously and on others it has no effect. Far cry from help, but those living now with depression can at least be thankful to God they live in this century when at least some medications are available and the stigma associated with it has somewhat decreased but not much, in spite of the fact being established of chemical/biological causes for the disease, which is what it is.

The late world-famous Christian writer Malcolm Muggeridge always argued in his studies of St. Paul, that the ailment that Paul three times begged Christ to take away from him must have been severe depression. But Christ answered that Christ was strong in Paul’s weakness, so that for Paul understood that “when I am weak then I am strong.”

Do not forget the Beatitudes and Christ specifically blessing those who are poor in spirit, which many have taken to be the mentally ill. Do not be Afraid! as the Pope said and know that Christ absolutely understands what your going through and is strong in you.

Maybe at least one soul may be encouraged by this. God Bless.


#17

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