New York – Understanding Depression In The Jewish Population

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    Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski D is an ordained rabbi, graduated from Marquette University Medical School and is the the author of more than 60 booksNew York – The Rambam talks about depression, referring to it as ‘marah shechorah’, which literally means “black bile.” In his time, it was thought that there are four types of body fluids, and when these are not in proper balance, disease results. Depression, Rambam says, is due to an excess of the black bile.

    This of great interest, because the Rambam was centuries ahead of his time. In fact, in 1961, when I began my psychiatric training, it was believed that depressions are due to psychological causes, and treatment was directed at understanding and remedying these causes. The reasoning went something
    like this. When a person suffers a loss, one become depressed. Therefore, when a person is depressed, one must look for what kind of loss one sustained.

    In the 1950’s, it was found that derivatives of the rauwolfia plant could lower blood pressure, and these drugs were welcomed by medicine. Although the drugs did indeed lower blood pressure, they had a side-effect of causing depression, sometimes even resulting in suicide. This indicated that depression can also be caused by a chemical change in the body, in this case brought about by a medication. It was subsequently found that chemical changes in the body can also result from viral infections, the stress of surgery, exhaustion and hormonal changes, such as occur in premenstrual and postpartum women. Sometimes these changes are of genetic origin.

    The important point to realize is that a person may be depressed even in absence of a psychological cause, but due to chemical changes in the body. These types of depression can be effectively relieved by appropriate medication. This was Rambam’s understanding of depression 800 years ago.

    The most common symptoms of depression are sad mood, loss of interest in things, difficulty concentrating, either loss of sleep (especially early morning awakening) or excessive sleep, loss of appetite, decreased libido, crying without a reason, and hopelessness. As these symptoms progress, a person may develop a death wish and may attempt suicide.

    The incidence of depression in the Jewish population is significant, and this maybe because of a genetic vulnerability.

    However, it must be remembered that “depression” describes a feeling, and that a person may indeed feel depressed even though there was no chemical change in the body. A person who grieves the loss of a loved one may feel depressed. A person who lost his job or is experiencing an adversity of any kind may feel depressed. Inasmuch as such depression is not due to a chemical change in the body, antidepressant medications are of little help. But it is possible that the grief and worry may actually produce a chemical change, so that a chemical depression is superimposed on the reaction to adversity.

    There are also some people who have a “depressive personality.” They are chronically unhappy and just do not feel that the world is a nice place to live. This attitude may begin in childhood, so that there are children who “mope” for no apparent reason, and are chronically dissatisfied. Many cases of depressive personality are due to low self-esteem, which I described in my books Life’s Too Short and Angels Don’t Leave Footprints. This kind of depression generally does not respond to antidepressant medication.

    Depression due to a body imbalance is generally referred to as “clinical depression.” It may last from several weeks to many months. It is not unusual for clinical depressions to recur. If medication has provided relief, it is a serious mistake to stop the medication when one feels better. Medication may be discontinued only by doctor’s instruction. Unfortunately, there is no laboratory test to determine whether there is a chemical imbalance, and it requires the diagnostic skills of a doctor.

    A person suffering clinical depression needs competent treatment. It is wrong to tell him “Just pull yourself together,” just as it would be cruel to tell a drowning person “Just pull yourself together.” This is adding insult to injury.

    Because depression are quite common in the Jewish population, it is important to gather information on the condition, so that proper help can be provided at the earliest time. Untreated clinical depressions can progress to very serious consequences. Refusal to seek help because one does not wish to be “stigmatized” as a psychiatric case is the height of folly and may be very dangerous.

    Of course, one should pray to Hashem for help. Halacha requires that a person take antibiotics for pneumonia and the proper medication for diabetes. Refusal to take such medications is being a chasid shoteh (pious fool). Depression is no different. One must seek proper treatment and pray to Hashem for a refuah.

    Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski D is an ordained rabbi, graduated from Marquette University Medical School and is the the author of more than 60 books.

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    92 COMMENTS

    1. I think that one of the causes of depression among us might be because we have great expectations as a people.

      If I came home from school with a 90 on my test, my father instead of showing appreciation would say: Why not a hundred?

      I am mentioning this because many might recognize themselves here. Parents: if your child comes home with a 90, even an 80, then praise him/her and lock in your gains. Others aren’t as lucky as you are.

      • Although the point you make is not really the cause for depression it’s still a very true point. We all have to work on ourselves in this matter…..

      • That was my father’s mentality as well, I think it had something to do with worrying that if my generation wasn’t the very best we might suffer as they did (referring to the Shoah). They wanted us to have everything that was denied to them. And to get the best we had to be the best. It was difficult if not impossible to live up to their wishes, but now, so many years later, I recognize that my father, a”h, wasn’t disappointed rather he was worried for me.

    2. Depression usually sarts in the teenage years. While in most societies teenagers have a range of activities to help distract of aliviate their depression such as sports, music etc. Chasidic teenagers just have the Gemara again and again. I believe that even whilie shunnig sports, Chasidic Yeshivas could help their Buchirim by having a Gym room with treadmills etc. Cardiovascular excercises such as running,biking,etc. have been scientifically proven to prevent and ward of depression.

      • You make a good point, but besides sports there are other factors that might come into play. For example my sons get their kick from the Chasidus we belong to. So a blatt aroif a blatt arup they have what to wake up for every day. My point is that belonging to a Chassidus nowadays might be the best thing since apple pie.

        Someone no doubt is going to comment that therefore Chasidus and apple pie are the same, so I make mention of it, so you get my point first.

    3. I am the son of a survivor, and have suffered from depression my whole life ever since I can remember. Thank G-d in my thirties I finally recognized what it was and sought medical help. I have been on anti depressants since then…and probably will be for the rest of my life. Folks, Ha Rav is correct, you cannot just pull yourself together, you cannot “suck it up” it is a chemical issue, and you can try to control it without drugs my exercise, sun exposure, drink etc, but ti will not go away and will just get worse as you get older. I still struggle with it every morning, but I am able to function quite well. I can hoenstly say, though, that if I did not take the meds., I would be divroced, out of work, drug or alcohol abuser adn perhaps dead by my own hand. Boruch Hashem, beli ayin hora, I have shalom bayis, a good job, great family…beli ayin hora again. The depression does tend to get worse as I get older, but I visit my doctor when I feel it getting worse nad get an adjustment in my meds. Do I feel crazy? No. Do I wish I did not have this chemical imbalance, of course. But I thank Hashem every day for all the He has given me. And I thank HaRav Twerski for the article.

      • A lot of the other posters seem to have the false impression that depression is just a feeling of sadness or frustration that can be assuaged by exercize or other outlets. People, clinical depression is a physical disease that needs treatment with real medicine. Yes, exercise and other outlets are good for yeshiva bachurim as has been noted by many Roshei Yeshiva and other mechanchim but gemarah enui isn’t depression nor is parental pressure to excel.

        • Thank you for your bracha. It is really amazing and comforting to see all these posts. Hashem gave us science, researchers and doctors to make our life better. You CANNOT be an Eved Hashem when you are clinically depressed. It is impossible. In my case, my mother’s side of the family suffered it…my Grandfather, my mother, my uncle (her brother) and so on. My siblings also seem to have issue but much milder than me and can control it with exercise and sunlight, which works wonders for MILD depression. For chronic depression, you must get medication. Yes, it has a stigma, but who cares? Once you are feeling better on the medication, you will kick yourself for waiting so long. And you are not “zombified”, it just takes the “edge off” in order to cope and function successfully in society. Without the meds, many people cannot evne get out of bed. I say thank G-d for the drugs, do not be ashamed to ask your doctor for them, there really in NO stigma anymore. My only usggestion is that if you do not have life insurance or health insurance, please put those things in place BEFORE you go to a doctor for depression meds. as they often will exclude you for pre-existing condition

      • I am a survivorand lost my family and my mother’sx Jahrzeit is tomorrow when she was picked in the Ghetto Lodz and deported to Chelmno. I was beaten and needed longterm post-concentration treatment which without the intervention of a relative in N.Y. Yiddishe philantrophic askanim did not give a hoot about us were anunwelcome burden. I married a wonderful young lady and have children in my father’s and mother’s derech. However the behavior of the dor chodesh is depressing. On Purim little Jewish kids in mea shearim dressed up in SS uniforms and Einsatztruppen the same who pushed my mother into the gas van in Chelmno. Today you are yotzei with the sheitel and black hat but bain adom lachevero is low on the totem pole.

    4. This is all BS. Even the drug companies are now required to print on label- Drugs are THOUGHT to work by correcting chemical imbalance. This psychiatric industry is in no way scientific or measurable. Have any tools or tests been developed to measures “imbalance” , or is there even an attempt to do so? There havent been, because no one really expects to find one. This entire industry is run by pharmaceutical greed, and ego’s of psychiatrists, who like to believe that they hold the tools of curing depression. In fact, real meds only work a few percentage points better than placebo’s (probably because their side affects create better placebos). Bottom line, anyone who claims that meds can eliminate depression is a liar. If imbalance was the cause of depression, then by simply fixing the imbalance, a person would be cured. Anyone who has experienced this can tell you, that medicine in no way cured them.

      • Medication can ease clinical/chemical depression significantly. I got postpartum depression a few years ago and still continue to take medication. At one point after a year, I was feeling increasingly anxious and my dr increased my meds. Because I have a chemical imbalance, the higher dose actually made me more anxious and as soon as I decreased the dose I felt better. I also tried medications that work different parts of the brain and have different chemical makeup and only 1 works for me, the others do not help me at all. Maybe the depression you experienced was not chemical or maybe you got the wrong medication for you, but medication definitely works if you find the right one and take it as prescribed. If you think I am a liar, you can ask anyone who knows me about how well I can function now vs. how I did not do anything except sleep before finding the right medication and dosage.

      • It’s very sad that you think medication doesn’t help some people who are depressed. I know people who’ve suffered and one drug or another is what keeps them functioning in society. It’s true that these anti-depression medications don’t help situational depression but it most certainly helps some others.
        I do agree with you that pharmaceutical companies are rife with greed, but then that’s the nature of every large corporate entity out there no matter what they sell be it insurance, financial services, power companies, etc.

        • I dont need to bring proof. The burden of proof is on the one making the claim. As it is the parties making the claim, ie. pharm companies and doctors, are biased, and shouldn’t be trusted, specially without evidence. Additionally, please show me one test that has medication vs placebo (with the same side affects) where medication is Significantly better. Show me one scientific effort to measure and quantify “chemical imbalance”

      • Although researchers may not know exactly how the drugs work, most people suffering from depression do find a drug that works for them.

        And as anyone who has experienced depression can tell you, when anti-depressants work they are a lifesaver. It may not be a “cure”, but the symptoms slowly dissipate and you gain your life back.

        May you never know from such suffering.

      • Yoish, this is so true, this is wats on my mind ever since “they” were trying to hook me up on this addictive meds, and unfortunately all the rebbes , principles, or mecanchim/mechaneches are doing these days , trying to push any problematic child or student on meds, nebech nebech for these parants or children who fall for it , and then when they get married , the spouse sees it, freaks Out and gets divorced, the ppl who put them on it there at fault, and the kids who fell for it are the victims , unfortunately, nebach nebech
        Someone told me ones (didn’t confirm it) that the natzis yms”v , they were the ones who stigmatized the jews as a nation who are bipolar, something is wrong with them, they knew jews are a very energiesd nation , as we see in the toireh the strength of yiddin , back in the days , they wher able to kill states in seconds “by hands” etc. , the natzis wanted to knock the jews yimach shmom vezichrom , and there’s still ppl who fall for it

      • This is not true. Many people I know personally have been cured through medication. The difference is that it was done IN CONJUNCTION with therapy.
        Medication alleviates the symptoms so you can actually go ahead and try to work on your depression or anxiety either by therapy or other healing venues. So although it’s not the healer itself it’s the assistant to the healer and is a very vital part in helping cure anxiety or depression for those who need it.

        • Do you have any scientific studies backing you up. Its like saying, I believe insulin works, because I’ve heard so many people helped by it. ANY SCIENCE here???

          • The incidence of suicide has risen dramatically apparently due to medicine. It is impossible to tell how a person will react to a med and eventhough patients are carefully monitored, there can be disastrous effects. My friend killed himself due to it.

    5. Depression among adults due to the shidduch crisis which gets a whole lot of lip service but no godol has taken on this problem head on. None. I have heard all the speeches about learning torah, learning torah, learning torah.

      Where is the hishtadlus of rabbonim to take on the shidduch crisis. And dont tell me that saying to people over and over again “IYH by yours” is going to do the trick.

      • how will the rabbonim help us to solve the crisis? they are only human like you and me,and if we can’t,why do you think they would be able to?
        unfortunately there is realy no solution to the shidduch crisis,because a large percentage of men are not marriage material,and no normal woman would consider marrying them.if you don’t believe me,just attend one of these frum single weekends and you will notice that the vast majority of the males who are over 40
        are unfortunately,how should i put it? well lets just say they are not playing with a full deck

        • They are only human, you say. Why do people jump when they say boo if they are only human? Why do people go running to them at all hours of the night paying all kinds of money, into the thousands, if they are only human. WHy do they get the front row at every shindig and will sit only at a head table, if they are only human. Why do they make a huge clearance in the middle of dancing at a chasunah when the holy rabbi is ready to enter the circle to dance with the choson, if they are only human.
          If they are only human, why are they getting all kinds of kovod, kovod, kovod? Why am I not getting all of this? After all, am I not only HUMAN?

      • You are 100% correct. Our rabbonim are busy with such as elections instead of key issues hitting especially hard in communities as Lakewood. They include jobs, shidduchim, keeping families together. Included too is to call someone you didn’t see in a long time a check to see what they are doing..if all is okay.
        You say something and they give a krectz, sigh and go on.
        You are right the Rabbonim should be more on top of what’s going on in their own kehilla. If they can’t handle it, then the job is not for them!

    6. I am depressed today becuase of the false teachings that i learned as a child. I am depressed because of the life experiences I have not had. I am depressed becuase growing up, we learned to pursue profligate lives, going to college where we pursue secular studies and love of material wealth. We were taught to purse many relationships but not to value marriage. As children we played with toys related to war and idolized conflict over peace. We watched movies instead of reading. We read stephen king and other worthless authors. We talked about sports and material want. We did not read the bible at all and when we actualy got one given to us in our hands at age 16 we did not open it for many years, probably assuming it would ruin the life we were planning for ourselves.
      Do I need a medication or does society need one? (oh yeah. i was raised in a reform synagogue and by public schooling!).

      • Dear Depressed:
        If you found the emes of Orthodoxy on your own: be happy! You acquired on your own what your own parents could not give you. Make up for lost time by becoming involved in community activities and reading good Torah literature and attending shiurim. Never look back & regret is such a waste of your time. Use the experiences of your youth (TV, movies, toy soldiers, secular books) to pick & choose the BEST OF BOTH WORLDS for your children. Hatzlacha!

      • I think you exhibit the classic symptoms of baal teshuvahism — pious self-rightousness and a myopia that allows you to see the world only in black and white terms not the reality of infinite shades of grey. Usually diagnosed in those who become more orthodox as a means of rejecting their past and often combined wtih a history of inability to manage the compelxities of life.

        • number 54- im doing pretty good. enjoying synagogue life and avoiding that which i find of little value. hope to keep growing and learning. just looking back i see alot of opportunities to grow and learn which were missed. dont be so “myopic” yourself. i will however try to promote torah judaism over secular/reform judiasm as i see it as unable to prepare anyone for life at any time. it does not prepare you for marriage. it does not prepare you for leaving home to go to college. it does not prepare you for any future you are inevitably going to have. thats my thoughts on this. children can learn a lot and hopefully have good teachers , rabbis and guides in life. looking back at all the time i spend in those years i could have learned more and most likely woudl be giving more back. but thanks for your reply

        • one added note. i embrace my past, especially alot of friends i met in my secular highschool and college days of education. i really enjoy hearing from them and keeping in touch. all i woudl reject from my past are the things which are contrary to torah..whether minor or major infractions.. that given a proper educational experience , i would not have pursued. i never saw a tanakh until age 16. (despite having a bar mitzvah and being in a reform synagogue since 2nd grade). the feeling i got when i got it (a gift on ‘confirmation’ ) was that if they waited until this time to give me somthing like this it probably wasnt important. I noticed the small print and the long length of the book and I never greedily started reading. i was not given any instruction about what were its contents, what the books were and why we read it. It stayed in the cardboard case for nearly 15 years before i began reading. Im just saying . with all the noise in this world, Judiasm needs to speak louder.

      • so funny. i was a bt and during those years, i was completely depressed. it wasn’t until going otd and getting my life back was i able to regain happiness. and yet, i wondered the same thing, if i needed meds, or if perhaps my entire community did.

        • I am willing to bet that if what you said is true that you are extremly depresed if you are above the age 50 anyway if I’m wrong Enjoy while your false happiness lasts!!

          • So much for ahavas yisroel. Attitudes like that certainly don’t give people reason to remain frum. My prayers are with all of those coping with depression.

    7. How can R’ Twerski be sure that it is not just divine will that causes depression. We should not forget his comments regarding the earthquake in Haiti.

      • The same divine will that causes depression wants you to get out of it. For example, someone who was in a car accident and broke a few bones, that sure was by divine will, now will someone say that don’t go to the hospital and don’t get your bones put back in place because that’s the divine will? No, the divine will is for you to get well and serve the Creator.

    8. good idea for the depressed souls out there:a gadol once said if a yid would say the brucha “shlo usani goy” with kavuna ,he would be happy his entire life (self understood :he has to know what meens a “yud

    9. I am a frum mother of 2 young children dealing with my clinical depression, anti-depressants helped take the edge off, but it has not helped me come out of my depression.
      I am starting to see a psychologist now, I really want to get back to myself already (Hashem please help me!). On the bright side, atleast I understand that the overwelming feelings of sadness that I have been feeling for the past year and a half is due to a chemical imbalance in my brain. At first I was reluctant to take anti-depressants, thinking I can’t believe this is happening to me, but then I got over it and started taking medication.
      It is important to be aware of the signs of depression and seek treatment, don’t be embarressed.
      As to comment number 8, I agree with you that for mild and moderate cases of depression medication is not enough, anti-depressants did not cure me but it helped reduce feelings of extreme sadness.

      • I wish you a refuah shleima Deena. If the particular drug your doctor has prescribed for you doesn’t work then ask to switch to a different one. I have a close friend who suffers as you do and he tried several different anti-depressants before finding the one that did the job. No, the depression has not disappeared and the knowledge that he has to take this for probably the rest of his life is depressing in itself but it’s a world of difference between what he is now and what he was before going on this drug.
        One thing I can’t stress enough: Situational depression is not cured by anti-depressants. This is the type of depression that is caused by the loss of a loved one or any kind of trauma. It’s NORMAL to be depressed when something bad happens. Mostly time and support of family and friends helps deal with this. Sometimes the depression is deep enough to seek the help of a therapist. But drugs are not the answer here.

        • you said that having to take these drugs is is in and of it’s self depressing.really? any of us who take insulin,heart meds ,anti depressants etc.should be totally grateful that we live in our time when there is so much medical help available.anyways ,when moshiach comes we won’t need any meds ever again.

          • Well, Esther, as someone who does take several insulin shots every day I can testify that the knowledge that I will probably have to continue taking them for the rest of my life is a very depressing thought. That doesn’t make me ungrateful that insulin exists, without it only Hashem knows if I’d be here. But being happy a drug is here to help with a medical problem but being unhappy that you have the medical problem in the first place is just part of being human with normal feelings.

      • It is probably more prevalent in our isolated modern life. Back in Europe, people relied on each other more and supported each other with a pat on the back & a glass of schnapps & women commiserated over laundry and chores. This kind of closeness and sharing is unthinkable in New York and other big cities. We each live in our own caves and see each other only at simchos, that in itself is depressing! People in Europe were also depressed, they just weren’t confronted with a constact stream of advertisements of gorgeous blond, blue-eyed goyim enjoying every aspect of life with perfect teeth while we live in over-crowded tenements with suspicious and unfriendly neighbors, no nice scenery to look at, no flowers to smell, scary schools, streets and groceries filled with pushy people and loud and aggressive behavior all around. You have to fight to stay happy in New York.

        • I feel for you, but you are making a choice. The life you describe is not the life you need to be leading. Most people don’t live in the concrete jungle of NYC, they live in normal neighborhoods with tree-lined streets, nice parks, and friendly people.
          If you continue to subject yourself to an environment that does not bring you happiness, you only have yourself to blame.

      • I have no idea but it’s a really good question that I’ve always wondered about myself. The answer I’ve come up with is that yes, they did have depression in Europe but noone called it that. They just thought they were sad, so they tried being happy. It’s like any disorder: for a few people it’s an excuse for the way they act, and for most it’s really an issue. Having a name for it is a good thing because it’s the only way that people can get help.

    10. How one can be a parent of children saddled with financial pressures, tuition, price of kosher food, price of making Pesach, parnasa, marrying off kids, etc. and not be depressed from time to time? How is that humanly possible? Please share with the reading audience

      • Parents confronting the challenges of modern life in a creepy city like New York may feel overwhelmed, challenged, even stressed-out, but not necessarily depressed. Depression is more like a continuous feeling of hopelessness, where you just want to disconnect from everyone in your life. It is human to sometimes feel overwhelmed and sad, but if it drags on for months and months and months, then you need to take control of the situation and learn to be happy again.

        • I object vociferously against your slandering of New York City, it is not creepy. It may not be to your taste but that’s no reason to speak of it in such a malicious manner.

    11. to no 26 my heart goes out to you but keep taking your medication and seek help most of all your on the road just admiting you had a problem, i also suffered but bh not too long as i had a great hubby who saw the signs got help fast and bh now a few years down the line i can say i am 99% better get the odd day about twice a year but medication together with cbt did the trick. to all those out there please please please dont suffer in silence medication can help but the first is ADMIT TO YOURSELF THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG . it can happen to anyone people looked at me and said what you depresion i am a very happy go lucky person bh and dont look at what others have etc but from one day to the next it hit me!!!! again i say to all those out there forget any stigma if your a mother/ wife think about your children dont let them suffer they need a wife/mummy. again my heart goes out to all those that are suffering may Hashem help you fast and find the right refuah for you.

    12. I wish, that people out there who have no training in therapy, would refrain from posting stupid nonsense. Depresion, is a debilitating sickness .Therefore , we need inteligent comments .

    13. Numerous studious have suggested that ashkenazic jews have a higher incidence of depression than other ethnic groups. Since most ashkenazic Jews are not Orthodox or Hassidic it would be hard to attribute these findings to the shidduch crisis or lack of gyms is chassidic boys high schools. It is usually useful to have some knowledge about a topic before posting nonsense

    14. It’s important to note that since the current diet mania that has hit America depression is on the rise. It has alot to do with the fact that we do not eat healthy “fatty” meals.

    15. Further to my post no 30 to all husbands parents brothers and sisters look out for the signs you can be the first one to help dont just say pull yourself together its not that easy help and support its the best you can do!!!!

    16. the reason for depresion amoung jews is because they live very stressful lives because the have to work harder then non-jews to support their large familys; and they feel they have to live on high standerds.

    17. Why shall one not be depressed we have a slim 70-100 years to live when we start to think about the way we are suposed to be and the way we actualy are why shall one not be depressed there is only one solution without medication or drugs make belive you are a idiot and don’t think I guess it’s hard not to think without drugs etc

    18. Dr. Twerski, you speak like a true doctor. However, like most doctors your knowledge of natural healing is quite limited. Do you know that just simple muscle stretching releases endorphins which promote good feeling and relaxation? The same for sweating due to exercise which also rids the body of toxins. Medication is the answer to all problems according to the medical profession, but don’t forget that the Rambam advocates DAILY EXERCISE, in group form, so as to promote social connections, to the point of at the very least, building up a light sweat. As a certified fitness trainer I can attest that this is absolutely fact.

      • I’m sure that Dr. Twerski is fully aware of the biochemical effects of exercise. No one disputes that exercise has many beneficial effects, but to deny the equally (if not more) important effects of proper medical treatment is simple quackery. As a cardiac patient, my regimen includes medicine (statins and beta blockers) and exercise. Both are necessary if I want to see my grand children’s chasunas. For the clinically depressed, the same regimen, medicine and exercise, is indicated.

      • if YOU are depressed and stretching and exercise is the only thing YOU need to make you feel better, then do it. Unfortunately it doesn’t work for everyone, it can always help to some degree, but everything depends on the variables the type of depression, how deep it is, what the home environment is like, what kind of support the person has etc.

        What is really, really wrong is that we must always comment and judge whether we are well informed or not. Anyone who has not suffered from real depression has no basis of reference. Only those who go through this nisayon and the doctors and therapists who treat them, as well as the family that suffers through it with them can truly comment on this issue.

        It is ridiculous and most hurtful when your lack of knowledge and experience promotes you to say the most cruel and insensitive comments that a choleh with this condition might read. Common sense would tell you not to comment on what you don’t know. People learn to show compassion for others by going through nisyonos themselves. Maybe that is why Hashem gives each of us nisyonos, not only to test us but to teach us patience, compassion and understanding. Some of us have learned.

        • What makes you write that I have no knowledge about being depressed? Do you know me? The fact is, like most doctors, Dr. Twerski has had no formal training in herbal medicine, exercise physiology, deep breathing techniques, yoga, stength training, nutrition, I could go on. The point being that you will be hard pressed to find a person who involves themselves in the above who is depressed.

          • And how would YOU know that? Are you involved in the therapeutic community that you have some measure on how many patients of depression follow your prescription for a cure? Or maybe people who are that disciplined do not get involved in stressful situations or choose not to deal with it rather than acknowledge it and allow it to affect them.

          • A person who suffers from depression and needs medication to get back to their normal selves and lives know that those meds are a lifesaver. And those who do not know this should know that not all medications or mix of medications work for all patients. It is trial and error until the doctor and patients find the right ones.

            The danger is not in taking the medication. The danger is that when a person has been on the medication for a while feels so normal and productive that they feel “cured” and they go off the medication without consulting with their doctors. Unfortunately the pain they suffer from relapse is enough to get them back on the meds and stay on them.

            • Again, at the risk of sounding redundant, have a good look at the Rambam’s REQUIREMENTS fors healthy living which allows for the body and mind to function optimally. For example, he discusses exercising DAILY IN A GROUP. Would you have any idea why? It would be to connect socially for emotional support purposes and to build up a light sweat, which he specifies, so as to promote the release of a build up of toxins. Have you gotten any such advice from any physician lately? I know I have not. And yes, I am in the therapeudic field and get tremendous satisfaction each day as my clients describe their sense of well being following their session.

    19. There are dozens out there with underlying symptons of depression, or worse, because of the shidduch crisis destroying parents who spend tens of thousands of dollars putting their kids through yeshiva and bais yaakovs and then this happens. They, both parents and children, hit a brick wall.

      Somehow, somewhere this jewish community has got to confront this crisis. In my opinion, it is far more serious than tzedakah. We live in a medina shel chesed where b”h the govt gives to the needy. As far as I know, the govt does not have an agency that provides shadchanim or shidduchim.

      • The problem is that the charedi lifestyle works on the “one size fits all principle” and, manifestly, if the psychaitric sciences have taught us one thing its that every human is unique. Absent clinical deperssion, each person seems happiest with a balance of personal autonomy and community values. Some will get married young, others older, some not at all. Some will have many kids, others few or none. some people will go to college, others to kollel or sem, some to both etc. Adapting to that reality will be a key to happiness.

    20. Read Nefesh HaChaim which teaches that Talmud Torah — Learning Torah — is the best cure for all ailments. The power of learning HKBH’s thoughts and being close to him while learning and davening is the most powerful cure for our neshamas. Hopefully, HKBH will send the sick Yid a rafuah b’gufo too. Call b’dai Shemayim.

    21. ts really not a medical condition but something u have to overcome. anti depressants etc. are just poison and a cash cow. Depression has really psychological causes either which you are probably born with. but that is what u need to overcome in this world by making real changes,not drugs or quick fixes… the second article gives a much better explanation of what I mean. http://ohr.edu/1149

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