Biological depression is as prevalent among Christians as it is among the general population, however it often goes undiagnosed due to erroneous views held by many in the church regarding the cause of depression. In her book on Spurgeon’s struggle with depression, Elizabeth Skoglund notes:
With the advent of Freud in the early twentieth century, and his emphasis on sexual dysfunction as an underlying factor in emotional problems, psychotherapy changed, and anyone with emotional problems became stigmatized. The understanding of the connection between body and mind—and eventually spirit—was lost for the most part. With that loss the mind was seen as solely responsible for emotional problems and thus the implication was drawn by some that such problems could be controlled by the will alone. In this way the overspiritualization of emotional problems became reinforced.
She goes on to give an example:
A woman going through menopause may experience periods of depression that should not be labeled as primarily psychological or spiritual. She may derive help from spiritual or psychological sources, but the primary cause is physical.
It is important for Christians, especially those in counseling positions, to realize that many times, the depressed person is suffering from a medical disease and it needs to be treated as such. As Miller and Jackson note: “…it is abundantly clear from current research that certain kinds of depression have important biological roots and can be substantially relieved through the appropriate use of medication. The counselor who is unaware of this biological side of depression is overlooking significant information.”