Prozac Christians: Has Jesus
Been Replaced With a Substitute?
By Jessica Dorian
The Standard Report
It’s become common knowledge that the 60 percent divorce
rate inside the church -- a place that upholds the sanctity of marriage -- is
higher than in secular society.
But failed marriages and broken homes are not the only tragedies that Christians
share with the rest of the world. Depression, a recent epidemic in the church,
is spreading throughout the Christian community.
During a recent visit to my hometown in North Carolina, I spent the afternoon
with a friend’s mother. We talked about the issues many women face at
the large Southern Baptist church where I grew up. She spoke of the different
women she knows who take anti-depressants.
“I wouldn’t be surprise to find out that half the women in the
church are on anti-depressants,” she said.
I was shocked. She told me story after story about women she knew who have
strong faith and selflessly serve in the congregation but are also prescribed
Prozac and other common depression medication. I realized that I also knew
several women, my friends and my mother’s friends, who use anti-depressants.
What makes this situation more troubling is the recent news about increased
suicide risk now associated with popular anti-depressants. ABC News Channel
7 in Los Angeles reported a couple weeks ago that:
“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finally considering stronger
warning labels on anti-depressants after acknowledging for the first time
that the drugs appear to lead some children and teenagers to suicide …
“According to their findings [of the study], the worst offenders are
Effexor, Luvox and Paxil, but even Prozac, the only anti-depressant specifically
approved for young people, can increase suicidal tendencies.”
Currently the FDA only connects this risk to teens and children, but the
results of the study could be enough to make any adult on these medications
But for Christians, the issue goes beyond the safety of the medication. The
question that needs to be asked is why. Christians claim the truth
from the hymn “Power in the Blood” and the Apostle John’s
concept of “abundant life". But why are they caught up in an emotional
existence of mere survival? The church is supposed to be the place to find
the answer, the cure, Jesus. Instead, it has become a social gathering of
sedated spiritualists lining the pews. They dress neatly, implying a sense
of togetherness, and they sing songs that describe surrender to their God
that they didn’t naturally wake up experiencing.
This is not an attack on individuals who struggle with chronic depression,
for which some medication is useful for a period of time. But, there is something
seriously wrong with church teaching and discipleship when half of a 4,000
plus population church takes anti-depressants. I would think someone -- pastors,
elders, and church leaders -- would connect the dots and say “look,
something doesn’t add up.”
This disease choking the church may be embedded in the phenomenon that a
friend described to me as “sin management.” Some churches are
being unrealistic about addressing shortcomings, failures, disappointments
and sin in the lives of Christians. Depression and anxiety have become private
struggles that women and men mask with medication and mention only in confidence
to one another. But these strongholds are not being addressed from the pulpit.
If Jesus really is “the way, the truth and the life,” then why
isn’t that message applied to the issue of depression?
It is not Christ’s design that Christians be dependent on anything
but him for physical, emotional and spiritual stability. We teach that Jesus
is enough; we say that he has changed our lives that the old has gone away
and that we have been born into new life. But if this is the case, then why
is the church full of people suppressing secret struggles with depression?
Jessica Dorian is a graduate of the Regent University
School of Communication & the Arts.
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