More to consider regarding antidepressants and depression

Bereans:

This week, I'll follow-up on last week's post regarding the newly published evidence on anti-depressants. Another article was published this past week in the New York Post on studies linking antidepressants to suicide among teens and young adults. Below it, I've linked an article from 2014 warning of these same dangers. This second article is by Dr. Charles Hodges, who is a prominent biblical counselor who has been a practicing physician for several decades. I've heard Dr. Hodges speak many times and he is well-respected for his biblical insights into the practice of medicine and counseling.
Additionally, more studies are being conducted on the number of mass shooters who were on antidepressants.  A couple (out of dozens) of those articles are below.
Scripture says that every man is accountable for his own sin, which comes from within his heart (Mark 7:21-23).  We cannot blame sinful behavior on other people, on circumstances, on the devil, or on medications.  However, we must acknowledge where these medications are influencing a sinful person's mind to the point that the restraints that the Lord puts in the conscience are lowered, weakened, and compromised (Romans 2:14-15).

As I noted last week, the problem is usually that people do not know how to deal with and process normal sadness apart from God (Psalm 42:5).* Unless they take their sadness to their Creator they will not find happiness, but will continue to wallow in despair.  Antidepressants do alter the brain and numb a person to the sadness, but they do not change the underlying facts that precipitated the sadness.

 As one person recently said on a podcast, "I was on antidepressants for fifteen years. When I came off them, I was still depressed.  The only difference was that I couldn't feel it for those fifteen years.  Antidepressants only made me numb to my sadness."  Antidepressants can be useful to help a person who is in extreme despair to take their mind off the sadness, but they do not change the person's ability to process despair and grief in a meaningful way.  A common saying in the biblical counseling world goes like this: "Giving antidepressants to a depressed person can be compared to moving a person on the Titanic up one deck.  It may buy them some time, but it doesn't solve the problem."

I am not anti-medication, and would rather have someone "move up a deck" than spiral out of control.  However, we should seriously consider that even the secular experts have now admitted that medications do not solve depression, but simply mask the problem by numbing the person's feelings.  The only way to solve the problem is to take our sadness, sorrows, and grief to the Lord, who can sympathize with all our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-16).

May we be Bereans who do not look to quick fixes to the trials and tests of life, but be those who cry out to the Lord and turn to the church body for help in our sorrows, especially when they run deep and long.
* There are genuine medical conditions that cause a person to feel lethargic, sad, and foggy (such as hypothyroidism, lupus, and diabetes), but these diseases are not the issue we are considering here.  We are only addressing depression/sadness/despair as a reaction to the circumstances of life.

Grace and peace to you,

J.W.
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