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Depression: Offer Help, Not Hurt

John Collins5/1/2012 2:56:00 PMDepression is one of the most common diseases of today. More than 20 million Americans suffer with it, about 10 percent of the population.

It is not God's plan for his children to be depressed, yet many pastors today cause depression in their congregations. Rather than teaching Divine Love as Jesus commanded, they teach legalism and oppression as though they are stuck in the old covenant. They pick-and-choose portions of the old Mosaic law to fit their own purpose, completely missing the fact that Jesus fulfilled that law.

Newer churches have gone back to the way of the days of Paul, meeting in small groups in houses to fellowship and discuss God. While these churches offer healing through fellowship there are still many that offer no method for healing. Even worse, many preach that the medication itself is "of the devil."

Depression is caused by the body's failure to produce serotonin. Lack of serotonin leads to lack of sleep, which causes the body to produce even less serotonin. This cycle leads to brain damage and a myriad of other diseases and disorders both mental and physical.

Like an insulin-dependent diabetic, individuals suffering depression are serotonin-dependent. Without serotonin, their bodies will do anything possible to either replace the serotonin or use some other chemical as a replacement.

If you are a person suffering depression or you have a child who shows signs of the symptoms, do not think that God has abandoned them or that they have became a backslider. They may not have the ability to conquer these problems themselves.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) -- or the deaf hotline at 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889).

Warning signs of suicide with depression include:

  • A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
  • Always talking or thinking about death
  • Clinical depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse
  • Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, like driving through red lights
  • Losing interest in things one used to care about
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
  • Saying things like "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
  • Talking about suicide (killing one's self)
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about