Conversation with my medical doctor

(Biologically-disordered depression)

Comment from my doctor

Sometimes I diagnose what I believe to be biologically-based depression and I give a patient a prescription for antidepressants, only to have the patient go to a spiritual advisor who then counsels them with a “five-Bible-verses-and-you’ll-be-better” prescription.

My response

I get it, doc. It’s wrong for these spiritual advisors to reduce people to purely spiritual beings who simply need more Bible verses. However, I am sure that you agree that we equally should not reduce people to merely physical beings with only neurological needs. The primary prescriber of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are you and your fellow family practitioners.

I understand that you have a list of nine characteristics for assessing depression, but my concern is how quickly a diagnosis is possible and how misleading it could be to think of the medicine as the remedy.

By the way, how much time do you spend with each patient? If I get ten minutes of your time, it seems like a lot. You have patients waiting in other rooms. How adequately can a diagnosis be made in such a short amount of time? And how often do we misdiagnose normal sadness as disordered sadness?

Don’t misunderstand. I sympathize with the pressures on doctors ever since the unseating of therapeutic psychology by bio-psychology. I realize that the convergence of medicine with pharmacology, insurance, lawyers, and big business has made work complicated for doctors. I am also grateful for the benefits of drugs for neurologically related needs.

My concern is how often a patient assumes that medicine is the whole answer for her needs. Is consideration given to her social circumstances? We are also social beings with relationship needs. Perhaps we also have unrealistic expectations for happiness. Do we have an adequate understanding of the anatomy of normal sadness and how it differs from disordered depression?

Steve Cornell

(From my book – “The 18-Year Factor: How our upbringing affects our lives and relationships”

About Wisdomforlife

Just another worker in God's field.
This entry was posted in Depression, Despair, discouraged, Discouragement, Wisdom and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Conversation with my medical doctor

  1. Sandra says:

    I have suffered from persistent depression since I was a child. I believe that the stresses of my early life, which were considerable, altered the chemistry of my brain. I have spent my life battling suicidal thoughts and low moods. It is not sadness, it is an abyss. It has been incredibly difficult for me to step outside of myself and admit at times my thoughts and feelings betray me, because we all like to believe we are in control. But we are not. I have given myself over to the will of my God, I know that through Christ I am completely understood, yet safe and acceped, warts and all. Simply by living I am somehow a part of Gods plan. I may have served some incredibly important service without even knowing it. The medication helps to even things out, but greater still is prayer and scripture. Dont be so certain that those seeking help for depression are merely experiencing a bit of a downer, even as Christians we are still oppressed by demons. They will continue to pester us to the last trump. Christ said pick up your cross, and follow me. Many uninvited things crucify us on our way home, including mental illness. Of course, I could try juggling snakes, but that is really nuts!


  2. Reblogged this on Wisdomforlife and commented:

    My concern is how often a patient assumes that medicine is the whole answer for her needs. Is consideration given to her social circumstances?


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