I take antidepressants for depression and anxiety. However, many of my Christian friends suggest I'm just "popping pills" to solve my problems. Why do believers make people feel guilty for taking medication for depression?
Such reactions often are based on ignorance or misunderstanding. Many people don't understand what clinical depression is or how utterly debilitating it can be. They mistakenly think it's a case of "the blues," and that if you just prayed more and pushed yourself more, you'd be fine.
But depression can be an unremitting darkness that affects both mind and body. It can occur without any apparent precipitant and involves intense emotional anguish as well as a rash of physiological symptoms: poor appetite, weight loss, sleep disturbances (frequent midnight and early morning awakenings), loss of energy, and/or an inability to concentrate.
People not only don't understand what depression is, but they seem to assume that medication to treat something with an emotional component is wrong, except when a clear organic cause is discovered. But the mind/body connection is so complex that such black-and-white thinking leads to gross oversimplification.
When biological signs accompany the psychological aspects of depression, research has shown the most effective treatment is a combination of psychological and medical attention. God graciously has enabled people to discover medications that alleviate much human suffering, depression included.
At the same time, it's important to note that taking medication alone usually isn't effective. Other actions can aid in recovery. Someone with arthritis takes medication and follows an exercise regimen. Someone who's depressed may not only require medication, but also a Christian counselor to help her work through any thoughts and feelings that feed the depression.1