Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Follow-Up to Am I Addicted?

Apparently, the drug companies only showed some of the results of their drug tests on anti-depressants, so a group of researchers, using the Freedom of Information act on the FDA, got all the data on 5 or 6 of the most-used pills. The results are in... Apparently, in the double-blind tests, where even the doctor didn't know who was getting the real drug or the placebo, both worked almost equally well. Only in super severe cases did the anti-depressant really make more of a major difference than the placebo. The researchers concluded that since a sugar pill can make you slightly happier, too, then the patient can likely be treated without drugs at all!

Some people may be shocked by this (looking at the comments after the article), but I'm not. As I discussed in my previous post, Am I Addicted to Happiness?, dealing with difficult times or drastic changes in our lives need to be faced head-on. We do get down from time to time and need a pick-me-up, which requires action when we notice we are feeling this way. However, the kind of pick-me-up we choose is extremely important. If we choose something temporary and empty, like alcohol, drugs, partying, sex, TV, video games (until 5am), we aren't really going to get over it. As Mr. Burson once said in a sermon, depression (not just sadness, but emptiness and a loss of purpose, drive and energy) is a lack of God in our lives that has been filled instead with complete selfishness.

I found a fairly useful article on MSNBC that has some techniques that I've used when feeling out of it, and some have been preached in church: here (please excuse the cussing in the title). It discusses changing how we think: "We are not disturbed by the events, but by the views we take of them." If there is anything good, pure, etc., think on these things! I've said it before, but if you're in a trial and recognize it, you can always thank God for the trial and figure out what you can be learning from it rather than getting upset or down by it.

Other techniques mentioned in the article are:
  • Be curious
  • Think fast
  • Give thanks
  • Change your tape (don't replay the same negative thoughts over and over again)
  • Analyze your thoughts, are they logical?
  • Don't dwell
  • Act happy
  • Speak up
  • Talk to strangers
  • Do a good thing (serve others)
  • Shift your social network (perhaps your current friends are keeping you down)
  • Work it, baby! (Exercise)
  • Breathe deeply
  • Enjoy the outdoors
  • Eat healthy fats
  • Drink water

The fruits of the Spirit that are joy, peace, goodness and love require work on our part. They require fellowship and actively monitoring what enters our minds and exits our lips. They require healthy bodies, healthy emotions and a healthy spiritual connection with God. Prayer, Bible study, fasting (especially when depressed) and meditation bolster these simple techniques even more. Knowing that you are doing what's good and right will help us sleep at night... And they'll help keep you fulfilled.

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