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Write a review. Ask a question. Pricing policy About our prices. We're committed to providing low prices every day, on everything. Kheriaty graduated from the University of Notre Dame in philosophy and pre-medical sciences, and earned his MD degree from Georgetown University.
Cihak is a priest of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon who currently works in the Vatican. He has been a pastor and served in seminary formation. What are some of the major features of depression?
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Is it just an emotional state, or more? Sadness and anxiety are the most common emotional states associated with depression, though anger and irritability are also commonly found in depressed individuals. Depression affects other areas of our mental and physical life beyond our emotions.
Depressed individuals typically experience changes in their thinking, with difficulty concentrating or focusing, and a lack of cognitive flexibility. In many cases, suicidal thinking is present, driven by thoughts or feelings of hopelessness and despair. A person with depression often feels physically drained, with low levels of energy, little or no motivation, and slowed movements.
Sleep is often disturbed, and the normal sleep-wake cycle is disrupted. What are the problems with, and dangers of, such perspectives? If we attend only to the spiritual or moral factors, then we do the person a disservice by ignoring other important contributing elements that often play a significant role in depression.
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We wrote this book, in part, as a way to bring the medical, social, and biological sciences into dialogue with philosophy, theology, and Catholic spirituality, in order to gain a fuller and more comprehensive understanding of this complex affliction. We hope that this multifaceted approach will help people more adequately address depression from all of these complementary perspectives.
I think perhaps sometimes in our desire to get to the bottom of things, we can tend to oversimplify the situation. As Dr. Kheriaty said, there can be many contributing factors. The book reflects an intentionally Catholic approach by integrating the truths of medicine, philosophy and faith. We should keep the whole in mind as well as the deep connection between the body and the soul.
In our respective vocations, we have both encountered people suffering from depression who actually manifest a strong faith, which they themselves might not be able to see, but which has been helping them to keep going in the tough times. That being said, we attempt to demonstrate in the book that our Faith has profound things to say about depression, its deepest theological origins, its redemption by Jesus Christ and its transformation in His Church.
If not, how can Christians discern between the benefits of psychiatry and problematic theories, for example, Freudian or Jungian accounts of religious belief and human relationships? Since all truth has its ultimate origin in God, the Church has always taught that the truths of faith and the truths of reason can never contradict each other. On this point, we can appeal to giants such as St.
Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventure as well as the various pronouncements of the Magisterium such as Bl.
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Because of this common divine origin, we can say that all truths have an intrinsic unity; truth is symphonic. Put one truth next to another and they resonate with each other. Sound medical or psychological science, and Christian faith rightly understood and interpreted, are not and never have been in opposition. We see our task as Catholic thinkers to build bridges between these sciences, always maintaining their proper competencies and autonomy, and to search out these harmonies, confident that they are already there to be discovered. The elements of his theory upon which this claim supposedly relied were never scientific; that is, they could not be subjected to scientific measurement or empirical proof.
Our book is one attempt to help readers thoughtfully discern between the legitimate benefits of psychiatry and problematic theories that have sometimes been put forward in the name of psychiatry or psychology. There are other Catholic writers, Paul Vitz for example, who have addressed these issues in some of their writings as well. Certainly there is more work that needs to be done in this area by people that have expertise in both the medical and psychological sciences and in philosophical anthropology and spiritual theology.
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We hope that our book can make a contribution to this dialogue. We also hope that it will serve as a user-friendly and practical guide for people suffering from depression, as well as for therapists, clergy, spiritual directors, and family members or friends who are trying to help a loved one with depression. Depression is indeed a spiritual trial because it wounds us so deeply — you could say that it is an affliction not just of the body but also of the soul.
Depression can make prayer feel impossibly hard though prayer is always possible, even when affective consolations are absent, even when we are assailed by dryness or distraction. We can know, with certainty and confidence, that God is our loving Father, that he is close to us and that he sustains us, even through painful trials and periods of suffering in this life. We know also, in faith, that our suffering is not pointless, but can be redemptive when united to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. John of the Cross on the other, we argue in the book that it is very important to distinguish carefully between depression and these states because these states mean different things.
The dark nights are actually positive, good, grace-filled movements in the spiritual life bringing one into deeper intimacy with the Lord. With careful and prudent discernment, these states of mind and soul can be distinguished. These distinctions can be made by consultation with a prudent spiritual director, ideally in conjunction with and communication with a sensitive psychiatric or medical assessment when symptoms of depression are present.
Depression can go hand-in-hand with acedia or spiritual lukewarmness; it may be sustained by behaviors that, wittingly or unwittingly, the afflicted person is engaging in, and which call for repentance and reform. What are some of the challenges faced in dealing with those struggling with suicidal tendencies and impulses? I think one of the more powerful parts of the book is Dr. God is the sovereign Master of life. We are the stewards, not owners, of the life entrusted to us by Him.
Suicide contradicts the natural human inclination to live, which is placed in us by the good God. So suicide is gravely contrary to the just love of self, love of neighbor and love of God.
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Research on suicide suggests that it is typically an ambivalent and impulsive act. Often drug or alcohol abuse catalyze a suicide attempt, by making a vulnerable individual more impulsive and impairing his judgment. Depression plays a central role in a majority of suicides, which is one of the chief reasons why we should recognize and treat depression early on in the course of the episode.
A central psychological theme of most suicidal individuals is a profound sense of hopelessness. This is one of the reasons, as research has demonstrated, that Christian faith can significantly lower the risk of suicide: our faith raises our sites to a glorious future, beyond the vicissitudes of this life; in faith, we have hope for eternal life with God.
Faith, hope, and love can therefore help us endure situations in this life that might otherwise feel intolerable.