Depression and anxiety creep into all of our lives at some point and to different extents. For some of us, it can become crippling and prevent us from living our life to the fullest. So what can we do to find healing? Is it okay to take antidepressants as Christians? This is something I’ve been pondering myself for a while.
Can Christians take antidepressants? Christians can take antidepressants. However, you should not rely on them alone. You still need to seek the heavenly Father daily and invite Him into your mental health journey through prayer.
Instead of telling you specifically what to do, this article is to be used more as a guide to help you discover what’s best for you personally.
Can Christians Take Antidepressants?
Though the general answer to this question is yes, it is not a blanket answer. Though Christians can take antidepressants, that does not mean that every Christian experiencing symptoms of depression should take antidepressants.
For some depression can be an every once in a while thing, but for others it’s chronic. Dark thoughts and feelings of sadness/ hopelessness begin to creep in and occupy their mind daily.
Though depressing thoughts are difficult to manage even if it’s every once in a while, I believe that depression medication should only be taken when advised by your doctor.
How Do I Know If I Should Take Antidepressants Or Anxiety Medication?
Antidepressants and anxiety medication are usually grouped together as one, but they are two separate things. One focuses specifically on reducing depression and the other on anxious thoughts.
Anti-anxiety medication is used to prevent anxiety attacks and anxious thoughts. This medication was specifically created to focus on reducing the feeling of your body shaking and mind racing about everything that could go wrong.
Antidepressants balance the chemicals in your brain that are currently making you feel depressed. These medications help restore balance and reduce suicidal and depressing thoughts.
They can help your appetite, improve your sleep, and even help with your concentration.
Taking either is not an automatic fix. You don’t just take the medication one night to wake up without any anxiety or depression the next.
They usually take one to two weeks to start working, and you should still use other resources outside of medication.
When Can Christians Take Antidepressants Or Anxiety Medication?
Instead of asking yourself if you can take these medications, you need to discern whether or not you should take them based on your personal situation.
Though feelings of depression are unbearable and can steal your joy, you should not automatically get on antidepressants.
Antidepressants are medication and can sometimes be risky, so when possible you should try other coping methods before starting the medication.
I believe that Christians should only take antidepressants and anxiety medication when their feelings of depression are chronic and severe.
We all experience feelings of depression. If we got on medication the moment we feel depressed, we would all be on antidepressants by age 10.
There is no shame in taking medication, but it should only be taken when you need it.
There are two different reasons that Christians face depression. It’s either because it’s a spiritual attack or a chemical imbalance within your brain.
Spiritual Attack Or Chemical Imbalance
To help you work through whether or not your depression maybe stemming from spiritual warfare or a chemical imbalance here’s a short description of each and some questions to ask yourself.
A spiritual attack is when the enemy is using his tactics against you to prevent you from succeeding.
It usually occurs when you’re doing something great for the Kingdom. The enemy becomes afraid and wants to keep you from following what the Lord has called you to do.
An example of a spiritual attack in the Bible is when Jesus is tempted by Satan in the desert right after His baptism.
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands,Mathew 4:5-6
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’
The devil tempted Jesus by playing mind tricks on him and trying to get him to disobey the Lord.
Spiritual attacks come in many different forms. One of them is a battle of the mind. Satan wants to come in and steal your joy because it will get through even the most difficult times.
For some feelings of depression can be a spiritual attack, but sometimes it’s hard to differentiate it from a chemical imbalance.
To try to see if analyze if your feelings of depression are spiritual warfare, here are a few signs that suggest what you’re going through maybe a spiritual attack.
- You just took a big step of faith in God’s plans for you
- Lies are filling your head that is not of the Lord
- You’re facing temptation
- It comes and goes based on how much your in God’s word
- You feel a presence that is not of the Lord
Though these are signs that what you’re facing is a spiritual attack, they could also be symptoms of a chemical imbalance.
If you need prayer ideas for spiritual warfare, click here.
For some depression can be a result of their genetics or a chemical imbalance within their brain. Depression can be passed down through generations and in these cases it is chronic.
It can also be a result of you having a low level of serotonin, also known as the happy chemical, within your brain. This chemical is what helps your brain to work normally and find happiness even when bad things happen.
When you have low levels of serotonin your brain begins to focus on the negative and experience feelings of depression. In these cases is when Christians should take medication for depressants.
Though prayer will still help, you will most likely need medication to help increase your serotonin levels.
How can you discern whether it’s a chemical imbalance or a spiritual attack? The following list consists of factors that are usually connected to depression caused by a chemical imbalance.
- Depression runs in your family
- You have feelings of depression consistently
- You’ve been experience feelings of depression for longer than a week
- Your feelings of depression are random and do not increase when pursuing your faith
After reading both of these lists you should still talk to your doctor and spend time in prayer before deciding against taking antidepressants.
What If It’s Both?
Though spiritual attacks and chemical imbalances are two separate things, you can still experience both at the same time.
Your depression can derive from a chemical imbalance, yet you can still experience a spiritual attack.
It doesn’t have to be the enemy attacking you specifically, but the dark thoughts you’re experiencing can still impact your spiritual life.
Don’t lower your guard just because your depression is most likely caused by a chemical imbalance.
Romans 16:17 cautions us about this being something that we can face.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.Romans 16:17
Our depression and anxiety can be used as an obstacle in our walk with the Lord, so we must stay on guard and work against these thoughts that are taking over our mind.
Your First Priority Is Your Health
The first step to assessing whether or not you should get on medication for your depression or anxiety is talking to your doctor.
Doctors are medical professionals on anxiety and depression and they will help you discover if you’re at the point where you need medicine.
God invented doctors and the medical field to help ensure our bodies are taken care of because He knows that they will fail us. Though God is the ultimate physician, He also works through His people.
Taking medication can be scary. It takes time to kick in and is usually followed by side effects that can eventually fade.
That’s why it’s important to be in constant contact with your doctor to ensure that you are prioritizing your health.
How To Talk To Your Doctor About Antidepressants
So how do you talk to your doctor about antidepressants? Do you just go in and say, “Hey I hate my life?” No. Be open with your doctor about your situation.
Their job is to help you prioritize your health and stay healthy. They want to help you through this difficult time you’re facing and give you a sense of comfort.
Don’t hide what you’re going through. Mention all your symptoms and embrace vulnerability.
Be open with your doctor about your faith and any worries you have about taking medication. They might have some recommendations before starting you on medication.
Though there’s no shame in taking medication, it’s no your only option. Your doctor can help you find an option that works best for you and that you feel comfortable with.
What Christians Should Do While Taking Antidepressants
Though antidepressants will help reduce your depression, they are not alone the answer. Depression takes your thoughts and switches them, so you must learn how to actively combat your thoughts.
You need to learn and use these strategies so that you can fight your mental battle. Using these will allow you to thrive through your depression and anxiety and win your battle.
If you’re experiencing anxiety attacks and don’t know what to do – read this post.
Spend Time In Prayer
Though medication will help, we need to make sure that we are inviting our heavenly father into our situation. You can do this through prayer.
Prayer allows us to be vulnerable with God. It’s a conversation between you and your heavenly father. He has the power to redirect our thoughts and bring us joy even in our darkest moments.
We are supposed to make our requests known to God
Pray that when you are feeling afraid, you will turn to God.1 John 5:14“But when I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise–In God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
We turn to God because He wants to be there for us in every situation and circumstance. He’s felt deep sadness, heartbreak, and every other emotion. He understands and cares.
We also need to take time to listen to Him after we cry out for help because He will respond to us.
Though God hears our prayers, He also created counselors. Counselors are there to listen to you and help you work through your depression or anxiety.
Though depression can be caused by a chemical imbalance, it’s also situational. You might have experienced trauma that caused you to encounter this mental battle.
Your mind is a battlefield raging and you can’t decipher what’s true and what’s a lie.
Seeking professional counseling will help you walk through the trenches of your mental battle and begin to understand your depression or anxiety.
Your counselor can give you additional tools to actively combat your mental health outside of your medication. This allows you to be more in control of your own thoughts.
The thought of telling a complete stranger your deepest darkest thoughts can make you afraid of being judged. However, that’s what counselors are here for.
They have been to school to how to best help you, and it’s a part of their job to not judge you.
There’s beauty in vulnerability, so don’t hesitate to be open about what you’re going through.
Learn Coping Methods
Coping methods are strategies used to help you redirect and calm your thoughts. They have the ability to help you stop a panic attack or calm suicidal thoughts.
Coping methods are usually created by medical professionals. You can also create your own once you understand what calms you.
Though medication will help your thoughts become less aversive or reduce your panic attacks, you won’t be magically fixed.
You need to learn how to manage these feelings so that you’re capable of living your best life.
Take Your Thoughts Captive
As I said above, your mind is a war zone. You need to start fighting this battle. Taking your thoughts captive will help you do so.
Taking your thoughts captive means putting a filter on your thoughts. You have to be on guard and aware of your thought patterns.
When a thought comes in and says “I’m unworthy of living”, you need to swipe it away.
Friend, trust me when I say that I know this isn’t as easy as it sounds. A part of you is tired and it’s hard to not believe these lies.
You can do this through His strength. Your God is holding you and wants you to speak truth into your life. Not lies.
Taking our thoughts captive is a Biblical mandate.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.2 Corinthians 10:5
Our Heavenly Father knows that battles can rage in our minds, and He wants us to fight these debilitating thoughts.
Take your thoughts captive and turn them into truth. Read His word and find a verse that combats that lie. Use your spiritual sword to win this battle.
What Christians Should Remember While Taking Antidpressants
I want you to know that if you choose medication not all hope is lost. There is still so much joy in your situation.
God will provide for you in this season of your life and He has a reason for what you are enduring.
Provision From God
In every situation, the Lord is there providing for us even when we feel alone. Though what you’re currently facing is not easy and you may feel hopeless, there’s still reason to give thanks.
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.Ephesians 5:20
The Lord is our light even in the darkness, so be thankful for His sovereignty in your situation. We are to thank Him for all that He allows us to endure. Knowing that He alone is the reason we will persevere.
We can thank Him knowing that even in moments of loneliness, He is there.
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.Mathew 28:20
This wasn’t Jesus saying to only the disciples that He would always be with them, but to everyone who follows Him.
When we accept Christ into our lives the Holy Spirit dwells within us. This gives us the comfort that we are not alone in our depression and anxiety.
It guarantees that our protector is there to keep us safe and help us fight our battle.
Because depression and anxiety are dark things, we usually give the enemy credit for them but that’s not exactly true. The Lord does not want us to encounter these terrible thoughts, but he has the power to turn them into good.
Our Heavenly Father is always in control of every situation and He only allows what is within His will.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.James 1:17
Yes, your depression and anxiety may not feel like a good and perfect thing, but with the Lord’s help, it will be.
He is the constant in the everchanging world and will bring beauty from your difficult situation.
I have been battling depression since I was five years old. I’m currently 25. I’ve been facing this head-on for twenty years. It hasn’t been easy, but would I change it if I could? Honestly no, because the Lord has brought so much goodness from my battle with my mental health.
The Lord has helped me cope with my feelings. I’m okay with not being okay because He is my portion in it all. This struggle has given me the ability to better understand mental health because of my hands-on experience.
Because of this I can be a Christian mental health advocate and help other Christians no that it does not make them a bad Christian for battling depression. Instead, it makes them stronger and allows them to grow deeper in their faith.
Your Situation Is Purposeful
There is a reason that you are in the situation you are. God has something to teach you and wants to grow you.
We see this in the entire book of Job. Job was a devout believer and loved God. He was an example of someone fully committed to God, yet the Lord allowed Satan to test Him.
He encountered spiritual warfare like no other and He struggled. It wasn’t for nothing though, Job endured because of His commitment and faith to the Lord.
God taught Job that though our suffering may not always make sense, that He is always in control over every situation. The world is corrupt because of sin, but our God is just.
God does not allow us to suffer for no reason. Your depression is not occurring just to bring you down, but instead to teach you something.
Do not call your depression or anxiety meaningless loved ones. This will strengthen you if you allow the Lord to lead you. Don’t discount what you’re going through. It matters and the Lord cares.
Abba hears your cries. Do not lose heart.
Through all he endured, Job became discouraged and questioned God. Instead of listening to his wife and friends though he took it up with God.
He cried to God and asked Him why he must endure the suffering he went through. Do not lose heart in your situation. Cry out to your father and rely on Him for your strength.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
You might feel like you are at the end of your rope, but we see in this verse that God will prevail in our situation. He takes our depression and anxiety and turns it to good. Purely because of how much He loves us.
Our God is so good and cares for us, so we can have faith that we are not fighting this battle alone.
If you’re struggling to understand why bad things like depression happen to people, I’d recommend you read this post.
Why Some Christians Are Against Antidepressants and Anxiety Medication
Though I’m a Christian and support others using medication to combat their anxiety and depression, not every Christian feels the same.
There is a large misconception that Jesus alone is enough, so we shouldn’t seek medical help.
Jesus is enough, but He uses doctors and medication to help us. It is still through Him that we are getting the help we need.
If you’re battling cancer you’re going to pray and seek medical assistance. Your mental health is the same. Depression and anxiety are serious ailments and it is Biblical to seek help.
In 1 Timothy, Paul writes the following to Timothy when Timothy comes down with a physical ailment.
(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)1 Timothy 5:23
Now you may be thinking “Why in the world is Paul encouraging his brother to sin?”. That’s not what Paul is doing here. Timothy had a stomach bug and in these times they didn’t have medicine, so they used alcohol to help instead. It was used as a medicine.
In the previous verses, Paul talks about not being hasty in asking for healing and laying hands, but he also suggests that Timothy uses what’s available to seek healing as well.
We are to use both medicine and prayer to heal. It is not a sin to take medicine for depression.
Our heavenly wants us to be free of ailments and provided medicine for us to do so.
Why Antidepressants Can Be Helpful At Times
Antidepressants can be helpful to Christians at times because we struggle too.
Just because we have the Holy Spirit living within us doesn’t mean we’re invincible or exempt from having struggles with things like depression and anxiety.
We are going to suffer in our lives, that’s a fact. It’s a result of sin that we must endure difficult trials and some ways that Christians can experience suffering is through depression and anxiety.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.1 Peter 5:10
Through our suffering, God restores us. One of the ways that He can do this is through medicine.
Antidepressants restore the chemical imbalance within one’s brain and reduce symptoms. This is why they’re helpful for anyone coping with depression. They’re meant to help bring back a sense of normalcy within one’s life.
When you have depression, it feels like you lost yourself. Taking antidepressants while seeking Christ can help you feel like you’ve got your life back.
Whether you’re taking depressants, God’s the one who cured your depression, or you’re considering antidepressants stay you have the same obligation as everyone else.
To love and encourage your family in Christ who is battling depression and on antidepressants. Don’t cast shame on them, love them.
The way that we all find healing in depression is different, so do not cast shame on someone else for the way they are winning their battle.
Since it is within God’s will to take medicine, support them through scripture and share your own personal struggles. Christians need to allow our depression and anxiety to unite us as one body and not separate us.
Finally, if you are currently in a battle with your depression and facing suicidal thoughts, please don’t give up. Reach out for help. You can call 800-273-8255 for confidential help at any time.
Click here to find more depression hotline numbers. You are not alone. There are people who want to help you today.