The video link below offers an excellent summary of the challenge of depression. Christian counselors who overly simplify matters like depression need this seasoned insight. But family practitioners also need to hear this because they are the primary prescribers of depression medications. Unfortunately, they rarely have sufficient time for thorough evaluation of their patients. When prescribing medications for depression or other neurologically based life-challenges, I encourage doctors to always attach requirements for more extensive counseling and support.
Medicinal aid must never be approached in a one-dimensional manner. We are more the bodies with physical needs. The other dimensions of our being (spiritual, emotional, social) must receive equal consideration in the battle for health. A holistic approach respects all the dimensions of personhood created by God. Reactionary and one dimensional approaches lack honesty, humility and compassion.
On the other side, in “The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sadness Into Depressive Disorder,” by Alan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakelfield, they suggest that standard criteria for diagnosing depressive disorder does not adequately distinguish intense normal sadness from biologically disordered sadness. Their aim is to offer a critique of what they view as the “over-expansive psychiatric definitions of disorder.” They offer extensive insight for distinguishing “sadness due to internal dysfunction” from “sadness that is a biologically designed response to external events.”.
The chapters exploring the anatomy of normal sadness and the failure of social sciences to distinguish this kind of sadness from depressive disorder should be required reading for all medical and psychiatric professionals as well as all counselors.
Although distinctions between normal and disordered sadness are not always easily discernable, efforts to make them should lead to more holistic care. By holistic, I mean care that respects the multi-dimensional way God made humans.