Ministerial Message: Can believing in God help with depression?

Depression is one of the most common mood disorders that affects millions of people all over the world. 

It has no cultural, social or economic barriers. It affects the rich, the poor, the famous and the not-so-famous and just about anybody from any walks of life. 

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Due to the restrictions that have been imposed on many with respects to self-isolation, cases of depression have probably increased dramatically everywhere. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers of cases of depression were already increasing.

Symptoms of major depression can range from having a deep sadness or emptiness, apathy, agitation or restlessness, sleep disturbances, weight/appetite disturbances, lack of concentration, feelings of excessive guilt or worthlessness, morbid thoughts or fatigue. A person with major depression will rarely have all these symptoms at once, but if you have had five of these symptoms for a least two weeks or more, chances are that you may be suffering from major depression.

There are many proven helpful non-medical methods of treating this mood disorder, such as avoiding negative thinking, getting regular exercise, getting restful sleep and using deep breathing exercises. However, considering that this is a ministerial article, I would like to talk about another proven method of treating depression which is spiritually related.

According to several studies that were performed by researchers at Duke University in North Carolina, it was discovered that having an inner religious experience can be very helpful when it comes to recovering from depression. Dr. Neil Nedley is a practicing physician in internal medicine with emphases in gastroenterology, mental health and lifestyle medicine. In his book Depression the Way Out, he states that researchers have discovered that after evaluating the well-being of 94 people diagnosed with depression when leaving a hospital, that 54 per cent of them who had demonstrated that they were actively practicing their faith, recovered.

With the help of Christian ministers and Jewish rabbis, these researchers used a series of tests and inquiries to ascertain the level of the patient’s inner religiosity. They also established the level of the patient’s external religious practices, such as going to church regularly, and being involved in certain church related clubs and activities. They also discovered that out of the 54 per cent that recovered, that every patient that was evaluated as having higher levels of religiosity, recovered 70 per cent sooner.

Practicing a religious faith can help when it comes to recovery from depression! Why not give it a shot? Take the time to either join a body of believers or even meditate on the words of scripture. Commit yourself to believing in God. 

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You (God) will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You (God), Because he trusts in You (God)”. 

God promises us that we can have peace if we choose to trust in Him and direct the attention of our minds towards Him. Believing in God can make a difference!

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