Depression and anxiety medications are now the most prescribed drugs by medical practitioners.
I know people who have been greatly helped by some of these medicines.
Yet the number of people requesting and recieving medication for depression has understandably alarmed sociologists and counselors.
No room for sadness
One of the more important questions is whether or not we have room in our lives for normal sadness. Do we have unrealistic expectations for gregariousness?
These are questions explored in the helpful book, “The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sadness Into Depressive Disorder,” by Alan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakelfield.
The authors suggest that a 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 helpful 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.
But along with the work of sociologists, one should consider the emotional aspect of depression in a spiritual context.
Humans were created as physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual beings. Although doctors are primarily charged with caring for physical health, they should advocate for treatments that respect the multi-dimensional reality of what it means to be human.
I realize that they face both time and professional constraints, but medicinal aid must never be approached on a one-dimensional perspective. Do you agree?
We are more the bodies with physical needs. Other dimensions of our being (emotional, psychological, social and spiritual) must considered in the battle for health.
This holistic approach will respect all dimensions of personhood created by God. There appears to be a significant need for helping people understand the role of sadness in life and in character formation.
A doctor should ever prescribe medicines for moods or behaviors without confidence that those receiving them have a helpful support system of caring people around them (see: Caring for the whole person).
For further help addressing the emotional and spiritual dimensions, see the following: