How should Christians think about taking medicine for depression?

Yesterday, I saw this article at TGC with the same title as mine above. If you don’t want to read that, I thought I’d offer my take here. Frankly, I think that article was trying to be more nuanced that it needed to be.

The short answer is this, if you’re happy taking medicine at all when you feel ill for anything else, you should be fine with taking it for depression. If it works, and it helps (and for a great many people, it does), then take it and thank God for his provision to you in medicine that works. If it doesn’t work, or it makes you worse (and for a small number of people, this is true), then don’t take it.

Some would like to call that a wisdom issue. And, to a point, I guess it is. The wisdom in question revolves around the answer to this: ‘does it help me or not?’ That is about the only wisdom involved here.

The reason I baulk at it being termed a ‘wisdom issue’ is because that suggests there is some grey area. There is a suggestion that it might not be appropriate to take medication even if it genuinely works, allays your symptoms or resolves the issue altogether for you. Just replace the word ‘depression’ with the word ‘cancer’ and see if your argument holds water with many people.

The only reason not to take medicine that works is if you either don’t believe in taking medicine at all for anything (which most people don’t consider wise) or you don’t believe depression exists (which is, to be frank, speaking against the fact). Those are not ‘grey areas’ that require wisdom; those are both beyond foolish in the order of believing in a flat earth or global conspiracy theories.

It bears saying, you cannot claim to have depression if you have self-diagnosed. Self-diagnosis is rarely a good idea. We can all label ourselves with whatever we want. Likewise, I am not talking about those who are feeling particularly down because they have indulged their sin and are bearing the consequences. We can’t sin, feel bad about the consequence and claim that is depression of itself (it isn’t). It can possibly lead to depression, that must be medically certified, but it isn’t depression of itself.

I am only talking to those who have seen a doctor and been medically diagnosed with depression. That is the only ground for claiming you have depression. If your doctor has diagnosed you with depression and told you that medication is a good idea, if it works, take it. If it doesn’t, go back and ask him to help you find ones that do work – they are many and varied and it can take a bit of trial and error before they do what they need to do.

But how should a Christian feel about taking medication for depression? If it works, they should feel brilliant. End of discussion.