At the risk of blogging too often or too much about this experience, I thought I might offer some key resources the Lord has helped me with through this time. Never did I imagine a few years ago I would spend so much time in psychiatric hospitals or be confronted with decisions about medications and ECT. Yet apparently these decisions are before more and more Americans.
According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, adult use of antidepressants almost tripled between the periods of 1988-1994 and 1999-2000, with ten percent of women 18 and older and four percent of men taking them. Americans spend 86 billion dollars annually on antidepressants alone. So it is likely you know someone who is taking common antidepressants such as Prozac or Lexapro, or antipsychotics such as Zyprexa. I am aware of several people who have even had their family doctor, during fairly routine appointments, offer to write a prescription for antidepressants after making some expression regarding their emotional state. Despite the rise in medications and treatments, the number of Americans reported as suffering from depression is also on the rise, with nearly 19 million Americans estimated to have it. So I imagine you are dealing with it in one place or another.
If the only ones you listen to are doctors (particularly psychiatrists), the media, or the patients themselves speaking about medications and treatments, you can begin to think that the use of antidepressants is an exact science. However, that is far from the case. Why not check out the following resources to approach it from a more Biblical perspective?
- Psychobabble - This book by Dr. Richard Ganz, former clinical psychiatrist turned pastor, addresses the modern practice of psychology from both his experience (which is fascinating) and more importantly from the Scriptures.
- Spiritual Depression - Though nearly forty years old, this book by Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, a former medical doctor turned pastor, is a wonderful treatise on dealing with the soul. Since I have blogged on this before, you can go here if you want more of a review.
- Blame It on the Brain? - Dr. Edward Welch, whose doctoral work was on brain physiology, in his books addresses many social ills from the Scriptures while exposing the underlying worldview of secular approaches to counseling. He is always clear and practical.
- St. Anne's Public House, an audio/internet magazine addressing cultural issues from a Christian perspective, did an issue on psychiatric drugs that you can listen to here. The interviews with experts are extremely informative and, without being completely "anti-medication," point out the problems with the modern approach to treating mental illness.
- One of the psychiatrists interviewed is Dr. Peter Breggin. Though not a Christian, Dr. Breggin has practiced for over forty years and does not prescribe common medications. His website has many helpful resources and shows the harmful impact of these medications on both the physiology and psychological well-being of people.
However, be warned that I reserve the right to delete. Sadly, many in the pit of depression have fallen even further, with the cure becoming worse than the original problem. When dealing with issues of the soul of deeply troubled people, we must take special care not to put stumbling blocks before people.