depression, drugs, and the spiritual condition of America

According to the Centers for Disease Control, at any given time in America, there are between fifteen and twenty million people suffering from depression, and that number is increasing. In fact, according to the Archives of General Psychiatry, the number of Americans taking antidepressants has more than doubled from 1996 to 2005. All of the numbers are trending toward a greater amount of depression.
Late last year the CDC released its findings on prescription drug use in America. It found that 48% of all Americans are on at least one drug. We might think that the steady increase of prescription drug use is a result of an aging population and we would be partly correct to assume this. But, an aging population does not explain it all. Consider this:
20% of Americans 20-59 were on at least one prescription. Nearly 10% were taking 3 prescriptions daily. In this demographic, the number one prescription was for antidepressants.
17% of Americans ages 12-19 were on at least on prescription. In this demographic, the third most prescribe drug was antidepressants (#1- ADD drugs, #2 – Asthma drugs).
It is clear that America has chosen to deal with depression by the use of drugs. It has divorced depression from any kind of spiritual source and is looking for a naturalistic cure through science.
Depression is much more than biology. The vast majority of depression is spiritual. Depression is the result of a perception that nothing will ever be okay again. This perception pushes desire toward apathy and emptiness.
Depression requires a breakdown of meaning, love, and hope. For depression to reign, the mind must submit these three important desires to depression and quit holding onto them. Depression must defeat love because love is a desire that makes life worth living. Love says there are people and things in life that make all our sorrow worth it. Depression says nothing is worth it. Therefore, depression must destroy love so that it can reign in the heart. As long as love exists, there is purpose. Depression sabotages hope. Edward Welch rightly says that the loss of hope is intentional, “Those who are depressed try to kill [hope] because it has betrayed them.” The depressed believe they have done themselves a service by trying to kill off hope, but Welch points out, “If you kill hope, you think you are protecting yourself, but, instead, you doom yourself to lifelessness.”
Once love and hope are defeated by depression, meaning will not last long. Without love and hope, there is little to live for. The depressed look around them and cannot see anything that gives them meaning.
The greatest answer to depression is not another breakthrough drug. The answer to the problem of depression is spiritual. If we cannot resurrect love, hope, and purpose in our country look for drug use to increase.


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