Physical depression is the kind of depression that relates to or affects a body organ—it affects the physical body. Depression can result from a reaction to prescription medications, poor eating and sleeping habits, chronic fatigue, a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise, or too much caffeine.
More than 70 scientifically proven illnesses or diseases (organic causes) can contribute to or cause depression, emotional disturbances, or bizarre behavior. A careful medical exam is always in order whenever a physical cause (including chemical dependency) is suspected. If a physical problem is discovered, the elimination or medical management of the illness should be the first goal.
In the Christian Counselor’s Medical Desk Reference, Dr. Robert Smith makes an important statement: “In order for something to be considered a true illness, science says that there must be objective, measurable, reproducible testing. To qualify as an illness there must be tissue damage … demonstrated by abnormal function It is a provable, knowable fact based on objective testing.”
In the majority of depression cases, there is no objective evidence to prove that the body is functioning abnormally. No tests exist that will produce definable and measurable data; therefore, no basis exists to conclude an organic illness is present. Here’s the question of the hour: If we cannot prove a medical/biological issue exists in depression, is it wise to treat a person medicinally?
Therein is the major area of controversy in helping people with feelings of depression. Do we treat the feelings with medication and artificially cause the person to feel better, or do we address the root cause of depression itself? Instead of trying to decide whether using antidepressant medication is “right or wrong,” questions might be asked: Which is the better option: dealing with the root cause or covering up the depressive feelings with medication? Which will offer the you hope and real solutions to your feelings of depression?
I believe that if there is no basis to prove a medical cause, a wise counselor will go forward with the understanding that the a person does not have an organic brain disorder, but rather, a spiritual issue.
If you are depressed, your problem may not necessarily be the difficult situation in which you find yourself. Rather, your problems may be caused by a wrong or unbiblical response to that situation. God has provided the means to live in the midst of the trial, but you must avail yourself of His grace.
It is important to understand that rarely does a person go from “problem” to “immobilized.” Depression is a process or a result of continued wrong responses to various situations and repeated wrong thinking.
The (non-organic) depression process can be halted at any point in the progression by correcting unbiblical thinking and replacing it with biblical thinking that honors and glorifies God and restores hope to the one who suffers.
Depression that is non organic can be resolved by examining key spiritual reasons why people experience sorrow without hope. We will look at that next time.