October 2017           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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Clinical and Spiritual DEPRESSION

Many people are not even aware of it, but they suffer from a low grade mental depression. Many researchers are convinced that one of the causes of alcoholism is an underlying state of depression. Many people take drugs to relieve this depression. In my pastoral work over the years as well as in my clinical practice, I have seen people try to mask the symptoms of depression by using other substances. 

Some use prescription drugs and others use alcohol or street drugs. By the way, the number one cause of depression in America is over use of alcohol. Even food is taken to relieve depression. Many overeaters eat to relieve feelings of low self-esteem and the depression that accompanies them. 

Marriages are adversely affected by depression in one or both of the spouses. Imagine the irritability that exists when one or the other partner in a marriage is depressed. There is usually negative, pessimistic thinking employed as well. 

What effect does depression of a parent have on the children? One can only imagine what it is like to live in a home where one or both parents suffer from depression. And, sadly, depression seems to run in families as well. So, it is possible that one of the children will suffer from it.

TWO FORMS:

Clinical depression usually comes in two forms:

a) reactive depression

Reactive depression may range from an emotional sadness that comes from a relatively minor event all the way to intense sadness from grief over the death of a loved one.

b) endogenous depression.

Endogenous depression is characterized by depression when one would look at the circumstances in one's life and say there is no reason to be depressed. Yet depression is there. The source is usually a disease or a chemical imbalance.

Common Symptoms to All Depressions:

There are symptoms common to all depressions.

They are: sadness, emptiness, the inability to experience pleasure (called anhedonia), low self-esteem, withdrawal, low motivation, irritability, excessive emotional sensitivity and even thoughts of suicide.

Many diseases can cause depression.

Here are some of the most common ones: asthma, anemia, cancer, malnutrition, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, congestive heart failure, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, infectious hepatitis, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, chronic infections.

Many psychologists believe that one of the causes or at least an exacerbation of the depression is negative, pessimistic thinking, which creates low self-esteem. When depressions are pronounced a person may experience decreased sex drive, appetite disturbance, impaired concentration and forgetfulness, restlessness, agitation, extreme fatigue and sleep disturbance. There is also an intense anhedonia (inability to experience any pleasure).

In a recently recorded sermon on depression, I talk about how often low thyroid function is a cause of depression. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism (lower functioning): weakness, dry skin, coarse skin, lethargy, slow speech, sensitivity to cold temperature, thick tongue, impaired memory, constipation, gain in weight, hard to lose weight, loss or thinning of hair, muscle pain, joint pain, slowing of mental activity, choking sensations. 

Not all of these symptoms have to be experienced to have hypothyroidism. There are several tests that can detect thyroid malfunction. In the message on depression, you will learn about a non-invasive test that can be done in your own home free of charge. There is a great deal of reasonable certainty determining whether you may be hypothyroid. The test was discovered by one of the foremost experts on hypothyroidism, Dr. Broda O. Barnes, M.D.

SPIRITUAL DEPRESSION:

There is another kind of depression -- spiritual depression.

It is a malaise that seems to be upon many people from time to time when they feel "cut off" or "far away" from God. While in it they have no enthusiasm for God's Word. They seem "weary in well doing." They seem ready to collapse under persecution. They sound like the Psalmist when he states,

"Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me" (Psa. 42:5).

He repeats this refrain over and over. He says his soul thirsts for God (42:2) like a deer longs for water (v.1). He acknowledges that he is in mourning (v.9) and that "deep calls to deep at the sound of thy waterfalls; All thy breakers and thy waves have rolled over me."(v.7). It is almost as though things are too hard to bear.

What is the solution to this depression? It is self-talk.

Psychologists have known for some time now that negative, irrational self-talk in the form of simple declarative sentences often leads to depression. And therefore, appropriate self-talk can lift us out of depression -- unless depression comes from an endogenous source like hypothyroidism.

If you would like to hear The Causes and Cures of Depression, a tape-recorded message on this subject will be sent to you free of charge.

Just write to: GUARDIAN MINISTRIES,
P.O. Box 50734,
Pasadena, CA. 91115
and request the message on DEPRESSION.

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