Depression: The Common Cold of Mental Illness
“I not only thought about it,” said Peter, “I planned it; I rehearsed it!”
Peter, the Sunday school class president, rose to close the meeting after I taught on Job’s wanting to die (Job, Chapter 3). He revealed to his class that the same year his wife left, he had also lost his job. As a result, Peter rehearsed how he would take his life. Peter tells his story in Chapter 4 of Tragedy Transformed: How Job’s Recovery Can Provide Hope For Yours (2015).
According to Healthline.com, over 30% of the US population experiences some for of a major depressive experience (MDE). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that 7 million adults over age 65 experience depression–not simply aging, but a diagnosable and treatable mental illness. In 2015, we lost 265 active duty service men and women by their own hand. In order to prevent suicides, the Pentagon has developed an algorithm to identify service personnel likely to take their own life.
Depression symptoms include: prolonged sadness, loss of pleasure in life, eating or sleeping too much or not enough, lack of concentration, agitation/slowing of movement, feelings of low worth/guilt, low energy, and thoughts of death. Any 5 of these symptoms may be diagnosed as a Major Depressive Disorder.
According to epidemiologist Heidi May, who reported to the American College of Cardiology, leaving depression untreated can create serious cardio-vascular complications. How, then, do we treat depression?
Medicine should be your front line of defense against depression. Depressed people usually cannot control the downward spiral toward desperation. You need medical attention, from their primary care physician, nurse practitioner, or psychiatrist. Breaking Through Depression by Donald Hall, MD (2009), outlines a clear plan to help people recover from depression using a medical foundation.
Beyond medicine, counseling also enables the depressed person to recover. Finding a competent, caring person committed to your welfare is very important in your health. You need a person you can trust, with whom you can strategize to work through your difficulties.
Medicine and Counseling Combined
It’s the combined strengths of medication and counseling, however, that provides the best results for recovery. Repeated studies have shown that the combined approach performs better than either medications or counseling alone.
[Next week: God’s Depression Treatment. Sources: Images: telesurtv.net; vimeo.com]