Fourth Step in Overcoming Depression

September 30, 2014 – Fourth Step in Overcoming Depression

The fourth step in overcoming depression is to make responsible behavioral changes. We are not instantly delivered from lifestyle depression, we have to grow out of it. It takes time to renew our minds, but it doesn’t take time to change our behavior, which a facilitates the process of renewing our minds as well as positively affecting how we feel. When Cain and Abel brought their offerings, the Lord was not pleased with Cain’s. “So Cain became very angry, and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and it’s desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:5-7 NASB). In other words, you don’t feel your way into good behavior, you behave your way into good feelings. If you wait until you feel like doing what is right, you will likely never do it. Jesus said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:17).

That is why some interventions for depression focus on behavior. Depressed people are helped to schedule appointments and activities that pull them out of their negative mood. Go to work even though you may not feel like getting out of bed. Plan an activity and stick to it. Get more physical exercise and commit yourself to follow through on your plans. You may feel tired, but your body needs exercise. Start with a low impact aerobic program or take walks with friends and family members. Continue routine duties even though you feel like you don’t have the energy. These behavioral interventions or activities are only a start in developing a healthy lifestyle. If these are too difficult or physically impossible, then seek the kind of medical help that will physically get you back on your feet.

Stop living to eat and start eating properly to live. Balance your diet with 60 percent good carbohydrates, 30 percent proteins, and 10 percent healthy fats. Try to avoid processed sugars, and high fructose corn syrup. Take a multivitamin and be sure that it includes D and B complex vitamins, especially B-12. B complex vitamins help the adrenal glands deal with stress.

There are certain negative behaviors that will only contribute to depression. Drowning out your sorrows with drugs and alcohol is at the top of this destructive list. Although this may bring temporary relief, it will only further contribute to the depression.

Dr. Neil

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Third Step in Overcoming Depression

September 29, 2014 – Third Step In Overcoming Depression

Renewing your mind is the third step in overcoming depression. Depression can be divided into two categories. One is related to life-style and the other is precipitated by some crisis event. Lifestyle depression can be traced to early childhood development or living in an oppressive situation that created or communicated a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Over time, our minds have been programmed to think negatively about ourselves, our circumstances, and the future. These negative thoughts and lies are often deeply ingrained. There have been thousands of mental rehearsals that have added to the feelings you are experiencing right now. The natural tendency is to ruminate on these negative thoughts. Daniel Goleman said, “One of the main determinants of whether a depressed mood will persist or lift is the degree to which people ruminate. Worrying about what’s depressing us, it seems, makes the depression all the more intense and prolonged.”

There is a major difference between winning the spiritual battle for your mind, and the long-term growth process of renewing your mind. It doesn’t take long to establish your freedom in Christ, but it will take you the rest of your life to renew your mind and conform to the image of God. There is no such thing as instant maturity, but the ability to experience your freedom in Christ can happen in a relatively short period of time. Once a person has established their identity and freedom in Christ, the process of renewing the mind is quite easy. That is why we encouraged you to go through the “Steps To Freedom In Christ” first.

Changing false beliefs and attitudes is necessary to overcome depression. The world will put you down, and the devil will accuse you, but you don’t have to believe either one. You have to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. In other words, you have to believe the truth as revealed in God’s word. You don’t overcome the father of lies by research or by reason, you overcome him by revelation. God is not going to remove us from the negativity of this fallen world. We are sanctified and protected by the truth of God’s word. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Renewing our minds with truth will not continue if you don’t actively work to sustain it. Every mental stronghold that is torn down in Christ makes the next one easier. Every thought you take captive makes the next one more likely to surrender. Lifestyle depression is the result of repeated blows that come from living in a fallen world. Rehearsing the truth again and again is the key to renewing your mind.

Dr. Neil

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Second Step in Overcoming Depression

September 26, 2014 – Second Step in Overcoming Depression

The second step is to commit your body to God as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1), which may mean “Go see your doctor.” Depression is a multi-faceted problem that affects the body, soul, and spirit. Consequently, a comprehensive cure for depression will require a wholistic answer. There are many forms of biological depression which can be diagnosed and treated. A disorder of the endocrine system can produce depressive symptoms. The endocrine system includes the thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, pancreas, and adrenal glands. The endocrine system produces hormones that are released directly into the blood system. The thyroid gland controls metabolism. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) will cause changes in mood including depression. The metabolism of sugar is especially important for maintaining physical and emotional stability. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) will likely be accompanied with emotional instability.

The fact that women suffer from depression more than men may be due to their biological nature. Archibald Hart said, “The reproductive organs of the female are extremely prone to creating mood swings. The depression at the onset of menstruation, the premenstrual syndrome (PMS), the use of contraceptive pills, pregnancy, postpartum reactions, and menopause all revolve around the female’s reproductive system. And as we currently understand it, the system is fraught with depression pitfalls.”

Many of the symptoms of biological depression can also be eliminated when we assume our responsibility to live a balanced life of rest, exercise and diet. To live a healthy life, we must be health-oriented, not illness-oriented. It is the same dynamic of winning the battle for your mind. The answer is not to renounce all the lies. The answer is to choose the truth. But if you aren’t aware that there are lies, and if you ignore what your body is telling you, then you will likely fall victim to disease and the father of lies. Whenever you start to sense that you are physically and mentally slipping back into a depression, don’t just succumb to it, take charge of your life by praying as follows:

Dear Heavenly Father, I submit myself to You as your child, and I declare myself to be totally dependent upon You. I yield my body to you as a living sacrifice, and I ask You to fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I renounce the lies of the evil one and I choose to believe the truth as revealed in Your Word. I resist the devil and command all evil spirits to leave my presence. I now commit myself to You and my body to You as an instrument of righteousness. In Jesus precious name I pray. Amen.

Dr. Neil

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First Step in Overcoming Depression

September 25, 2014 – First Step In Overcoming Depression

Recovery begins by saying, “I have a problem and I need help.” There are adequate answers for depression but you have to want to get well and be willing to do whatever it takes to be free. The key to any cure is commitment. Over the next few days I will share in sequential order the steps for overcoming depression.

First: Submit to God and resist the devil (Matthew 6:33; James 4:7)

God can do wonders with a broken heart of you give Him all the pieces. In our western world we have been conditioned to seek every possible natural explanation and cure first. When that is not successful, Then there is nothing more that we can do but pray. Scripture has a different order. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). The first thing a Christian should do about anything is pray. I suggest the following prayer to begin the recovery process:

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to You as your child. I declare my total dependence upon you and acknowledge that apart from Christ I can do nothing. Thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place in order that my sins could be forgiven. I praise you for Your resurrection power that raised Jesus from the grave in order that I too may have eternal life. I choose to believe the truth that the devil has been defeated and that I am now seated with Christ in the heavenlies. Therefore I choose to believe that I have the power and the authority to do your will and be the person You created me to be. I submit my body to you as a living sacrifice and ask You to fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I desire nothing more than to know and do your will, believing that it is good, perfect, and acceptable for me. I invite the Spirit of truth to lead me into all truth that I may experience my freedom in Christ. I choose from this day forward to walk in the light and speak the truth in love. I acknowledge my pain to You, and confess my sins, doubts and lack of trust. I now invite you to search my heart, try my ways, and see if there is any hurtful way within me, and then lead me into the everlasting way by the power and guidance of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus precious name I pray. Amen.

The “Steps To Freedom In Christ” are intended to help you resolve any conflicts that may exist between you and your Heavenly Father through repentance and faith in Him. Essentially the process helps you submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7). Doing so eliminates the influence of the evil one and connects you with God in a personal and powerful way. Now by the grace of God you will be able to process the remaining steps for overcoming depression.

Dr. Neil

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Learned Helplessness

September 24, 2014 – Learned Helplessness

Scientific studies have shed light on the relationship between learned helplessness and neurochemical changes in the body. Researchers describe an experiment where rats were “taught” helplessness by the use of shock. They were able to measure neurological changes indicating depression at various beta receptor sites. They comment on their research as follows:

Dr. Henn and his colleagues induced depression in another group of rats, but treated them without medication.  They made a behavioral intervention and "taught" the rats how to escape the shock.  Actually, a medical student working in the lab knit the rats little sweaters with long sleeves over their front paws.  Strings were attached to the sleeves and the researchers could pull the rat’s paws up, marionette-like, and train them to push the lever that would stop the shock.  With the rats no longer helpless, their symptoms of depression abated, and the beta receptor sites returned to their previous state.  Dr. Henn and others have concluded from these studies that, just as neurochemistry affects behavior, changes in behavior affect neurochemistry.

Complementary findings have been found in the treatment of human depression.  A brief psychotherapeutic treatment called cognitive therapy focuses on the thought processes of a depressed person, in particular the hopeless and helpless thinking, and by changing the negative thought patterns, has proved to be as effective as the antidepressant imipramine in treating the depression…

In other words there is a link between brain chemistry and hope. Your body is affected if you think you are helpless, hopeless and out of control. Symptoms of depression such as sadness, despair, lethargy, loss of appetite and sleep problems increase. Once hope is restored depression leaves. If the way we perceive reality and choose to believe has an effect on our physiology and biochemistry then treatment for depression should not be limited to medications. If that is the case, should a Christian ever take medications for emotional problems? Perhaps an analogy is the best way to answer that question. Suppose you are suffering regularly from acid indigestion because of your eating habits. Should you take medication to relieve the heart burn? I’m sure most people would and there is nothing wrong with getting temporary relief, but the long term answer is to change your eating habits. Your body is telling you something; Stop feeding me this junk! There is also the possibility that you have a serious stomach illness such as an ulcer or cancer, and such symptoms could also indicate a heart problem.

Dr. Neil

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