Is Depression Just an Issue of Chemical Imbalance or a Matter of Soul and Spirit?

If you’re struggling with depression, chances are you’re searching for answers as to why you’re feeling that way.

Wading through sadness, lack of interest, shame, low energy, and everything else that comes with depression is hard. You’re tired of it. But you’re not sure what else you can do.

As research has shown, it’s certainly true that depression can be caused or influenced by chemical imbalances in our brains. This is why medications are often helpful. And maybe your doctor has even prescribed medication* for you.

While it has helped some, you still feel as though there’s a deeper issue that needs to be understood.

And you would be right.

The brain is an amazing organ, and it works in tandem with our emotions. Pain in our soul can change how we perceive the world around us. When our spirit aches, our brain’s processes can be altered negatively. In other words, the physiological workings of our brains are affected by the thoughts and emotions we have.

The Soul’s Workings and Your Spiritual Needs

In our office, we have found that examining depression through a spiritual lens offers great value. We work with our clients to explore the interplay between the mind, will, and emotions as the root of depression.

The human soul is expressed through these three realities, so it makes sense to dig deep into them in search of the root causes for your depression.

God’s word provides many insights into what happens when certain needs aren’t met. For example, depression can happen when you don’t have close relationships with others and with God. It also happens when you have unhealthy, false beliefs about who you are as a person. Moreover, painful experiences can eat at your spirit and manifest as depression if not addressed.

We Need Close Relationships

We see the vital importance for us to be in close relationships with other people just by observing who God is. He himself exists in community as the Trinity. This sets the example for our deep need to live in community as well. We need intimacy with other people, and we need it with God.

When you struggle to make this happen, depression can happen. Of course, you may not even know why you can’t create the type of meaningful friendships you want. You might not be aware of how your mind and thoughts influence the way you interact with others.

Our Thoughts Are Powerful

Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “As a man thinketh, so he is.” The thoughts you have determine the way you feel about yourself and the way you act.

During childhood, it’s remarkably easy to learn to believe things about yourself that aren’t true. You may have been teased constantly or unable to meet your parents’ unrealistic expectations. Maybe you didn’t fit in well. And thus, you learned to tell yourself the same hurtful things that others told you.

With time, it’s easy to see how this can lead to depression.

When Needs Aren’t Met

Many times, we don’t even know what important needs weren’t met for us when we were children.

In Proverbs 13:12, it says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Chances are you may have hoped or yearned for affection and love from family and friends that wasn’t fully given. This longing for connection can become a part of your identity as a sense of depression and loneliness.

Likewise, other hopes and losses can build up over time and alter the way you think and feel about yourself. If unchecked and unacknowledged, such losses eat away at your soul.

These are just a few examples of how depression’s roots can extend beyond chemical imbalance and into the very soul of who you are. Fortunately, over the years, we have seen many people find healing from depression through our counseling methods. There truly is hope, and we are here to help you find a way to address your unmet needs and pain.

For more information about the three-pronged approach mentioned at the outset or about our approach to depression counseling, please contact us or visit our depression specialties page.

* (Note: Please, never stop taking medication without first consulting your health care provider first.)