Countless Christians—including scores of saints—have suffered profound, pervasive sorrow that modern psychiatrists call “depression.” Then, as now, great faith and even fervent spiritual practices have generally failed to ease this wearying desolation of soul.
In these pages, Catholic psychiatrist Aaron Kheriaty reviews the effective ways that have recently been devised to deal with this grave and sometimes deadly affliction — ways that are not only consistent with the teachings of the Church, but even rooted in many of those teachings.
Extensive clinical experience treating patients with depression has shown Dr. Kheriaty that the confessional can’t cure neuroses, nor can the couch forgive sin. Healing comes only when we integrate the legitimate discoveries of modern psychology and pharmacology with spiritual direction and the Sacraments, giving particular attention to the wisdom of the Church Fathers and the saints.
Here, with the expert help of Dr. Kheriaty, you’ll learn how to distinguish depression from similar looking but fundamentally different mental states such as guilt, sloth, the darkness of sin, and the sublime desolation called “dark night of the soul” that is, in fact, a privileged spiritual trial sent to good souls as a special gift from God.
You’ll come to know how to identify the various types of depression and come to understand the interplay of their often manifold causes, biological, psychological, behavioral, cultural, and, yes, moral.
Then you’ll learn about exciting breakthroughs in pharmacological and other medical treatments, the benefits and limitations of psychotherapy, the critical place that spiritual direction must have in your healing, and the vital role that hope — Christian hope — can play in driving out depression.