Question: "Should a Christian take anti-depressants or other mental health medicines?"
Answer: Panic attacks, anxiety disorders, phobias, and depression affect millions of people. Although medical experts believe that many times the aforementioned ailments originate within a person’s psyche, there are times when a chemical imbalance is the cause—or times when a problem that began in the psyche has contributed to a chemical imbalance that now perpetuates the problem. If this is the case, medication is often prescribed to help counter the imbalance, which in turn treats the symptoms of the psychological ailment. Is this a sin? No. God has allowed man to grow in his knowledge of medicine, which God often uses in the healing process. Does God need man-made medicine in order to heal? Of course not! But God has chosen to allow the practice of medicine to progress, and there is no biblical reason not to avail ourselves of it.
However, there is a fine line between using medicine for healing purposes and continual reliance upon medicine for daily living. We need to recognize God as the Great Physician, and know that He alone holds the power to truly heal (John 4:14). We need to look to God first and foremost for our healing. For example, medicine used to treat a case of panic attack should only be used to the extent that it allows the sufferer to deal with the root cause of fear. It should be used to give back control to the sufferer. However, many sufferers take medicine in order to avoid dealing with the true cause of their ailment; this would be denying responsibility, denying God’s healing, and possibly denying others the freedom of forgiveness or closure to some past event that could be contributing to the ailment. This, then, does become sin, as it is based on selfishness.
By taking medicine on a limited basis in order to treat the symptoms, then relying upon the Word of God and wise counsel to enact transformation in one’s heart and mind, usually the need for the medicine will diminish. [It would seem there are some people whose bodies require long-term usage of anti-depressants in order to keep symptoms at bay. Also, certain other psychological disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, require long-term pharmaceutical usage, much like insulin for diabetes.] The believer’s position in Christ is affirmed, and God brings healing into those troubled areas of the heart and mind which are causing the ailment. For instance, when dealing with anxiety, we can look to what God’s Word has to say about fear and its place in a believer’s life. Reading through the following Scriptures and meditating on them can be a cure, as they give confidence and illuminate the truth of what being a child of God entails: Proverbs 29:25; Matthew 6:34; John 8:32; Romans 8:28–39; 12:1–2; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:4–9; Colossians 3:1–2; 2 Timothy 1:6–8; Hebrews 13:5–6; James 1:2–4; 1 Peter 5:7; 2 Peter 1:3–4; 1 John 1:9; 4:18–19.
God can heal supernaturally and miraculously. We should pray to that end. God also heals through medicine and doctors. We should pray to that end, as well. Regardless of which direction God takes, our ultimate trust must be in Him alone (Matthew 9:22).