Christians And Antidepressants?

I have thought about this question much more than I would like to admit. It’s a big deal that needs solid clarity.

Recently, Russell Moore wrote a response concerning this as an answer to this question:

“Not long ago, my doctor prescribed me as having a (relatively) mild form of depression. He put me on an anti-depressant. I hate the side effects, and I don’t like the way it makes me feel, but maybe I’ll get used to it. My biggest struggle is whether it is right to be on these at all. If I have the Holy Spirit, why do I need this drug? Is it ethical for a Christian to take drugs like this?”

I wonder how many Christians have wondered the EXACT same thing?

Dr. Moore’s response, in my opinion, is right on and a MUCH needed and balanced answer for the church today.

Here are a few highlights from his article:

“God created us as whole persons, with body and psyche together. The body affects the psyche. Going without food, for example, or sleep will change the way one thinks or feels dramatically. And the psyche affects the body. We don’t “have” bodies or “have” psyches. We are psychosomatic whole persons, made in the image of God.”

“Often, even when depression or anxiety is rooted in non-physiological reasons, the person is so far gone that medication is necessary to start working on the root issues.”

“It could be that your depression and anxiety is caused by something physiological. If so, continue your medical treatment and have that looked at. But it could be that there’s a reason for the sadness or the anxiety. Maybe you’ve recently lost a spouse or a job or a friend. If so, grieve over that loss. Maybe you’re anxious about a guilty conscience or about an uncertain future. Don’t just medicalize that anxiety. Rehearse the gospel you’ve embraced, and pray, alone and with others, and seek the kind of counsel that can bring about the necessary life-change to cope with whatever seems so hopeless right now.”

“There are some Christians who believe any psychiatric drug is a spiritual rejection of the Bible’s authority. I’m not one of them. But there are other Christians who seem to think, with the culture around us, that everything is material and can be solved by material means. I don’t think that’s right either…

“Keep working with your doctors to treat your depression. If you’re not happy with the treatment or with the side-effects, seek some additional medical opinion, and listen for wisdom in a multitude of counselors. As you note in your question, sometimes the side-effects of these drugs are awful. Communicate with your doctor, and read up to ask the right kinds of questions…

“But spend time too with those who know you and love you, and ask if there’s more behind this than simply serotonin reception. God doesn’t want you to be simply, in the words of one observer of the current pharmacological utopianism, ‘comfortably numb.’ He wants you to be whole.”

If you have ever wondered this, I strongly encourage you to click over and read Dr. Moore’s entire response. Think carefully about what he says and the balance he brings to the table. His words are extremely helpful and wise.

I would also love to hear any of your thoughts on the issue. Any opinions out there?


About pastormpearson

Follower of Jesus. Husband to Katie. Father to Luke, Seth, and Birtukan. Pastor of the First Baptist Church in El Dorado, Arkansas.

Posted on March 2, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great post and a question I have asked my self many times as several family members have struggled with mental illness in various forms, including depression. I was once very judgemental, and the Lord has changed that, but I still questioned. Thanks for addressing what is frankly a sensitive issue. I agree, Dr. Moore is spot on.

  2. Bryanna McClanahan

    I love this! These have always been my thoughts on this topic but couldn’t quite convey them into words like he has. Especially being a psychology major, this is an especially common topic. Thanks for sharing!

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