Understanding Depression

Written by M. Ashley Evans

June 5, 2020

What is Depression?


Depression is a multifaceted issue. Psychology has given us a handy label for these particular set of emotions. However, a label does not tell us the cause or the treatment. It is used to describe a particular set of emotions without any differentiation between whether it is caused by actual brain malfunction, such as the result of post-traumatic stress, or whether it is caused by having a faulty worldview. This particular word describes more than just feeling “down” occasionally. 


The DSM IV says that a major depressive disorder (of which there are several varieties,) has to have at least five symptoms, including the following:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities every day
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day
  • Insomnia (inability to get to sleep or difficulty staying asleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping more than usual) nearly every day
  • Psychomotor agitation (for example, inability to sit still, pacing, pulling at clothes) or retardation (for example, slowed speech and movements, quiet talking) nearly every day
  • Fatigue, tiredness, or loss of energy nearly every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideas with or without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt
  • Feelings of hopelessness


When depression has an organic cause, as in the case of postpartum depression, or thyroid disorder, or diabetes, even causes such as exhaustion, abuse/trauma, disease, there can be tremendous benefit from seeing a medical dr, or a naturopath, or a homeopath or a neurofeedback therapist. 



Dichotomy of Man

But that alone is not usually sufficient. Since we are created with both a body and a mind/soul – it is unwise to separate the two when it comes to emotional health. Some forms of depression indeed are rooted specifically in a spiritual cause. These people tend to not notice much of a change when they are given medication.


 But regardless of the cause, depression can be helped tremendously through Biblical Counseling. Since our soul is imbedded within our body, it is the core of who we are, our mind we cannot separate it from what happens to our physical body. If there is an impact upon the physical body there will be spiritual implications.  


“O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath!” Psalm 38:1

“A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.” Proverbs 14:30

“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22


Depression is not merely a disease. Most secular psychologists view Man as merely physical and therefore view depression as simply a chemical problem with a chemical solution. However, this view is changing even amongst the secular psychologists. An issue of Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/charting-the-depths/201007/the-serotonin-theory-depression-is-collapsing)  included an article that talked about how the ever-popular “serotonin theory” is becoming more and more disproven. But they did not have a solution to depression since they were coming from a strictly atheistic and Darwinian worldview.  Even if there is initial physical causation – such as postpartum depression – bodily weakness cannot prevent spiritual growth. Biblical counseling is still beneficial. 


“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18


Sometimes, depression can have a spiritual cause:

  • Sin and guilt = Psalm 32:3-4; 38:1; Jeremiah 2:13 
  • Overwhelming circumstances =   James 1:14-15, Psalm 42:1-7, Psalm 42:9-10, 2 Samuel 17:23.
  • Injustice = Psalm 73:3-14. 
  • Relationships = Jeremiah 17:5-6. 
  • Many times, having a faulty worldview will lead to depression. When we analyze our situation by our negative emotions, we are using a faulty worldview = Colossians 2:8 Romans 12:2



Making Disciples

So by teaching the Bible the counselee, taking them on as a disciple, and walking with them as a friend, we can help them see things rightly, through a Biblical worldview. This must be done graciously, and with much empathy. Biblical counseling can also help someone with any sin or guilt issues, or relationship issues, or how to handle overwhelming circumstances or injustices. 


“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” Proverbs 28:13

To read more about depression please go here: https://strivingforeternity.org/dichotomy-of-man-suffering-with-depression/

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