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Anxiety and depression: lack of Emunah or a clinical condition?

 

Question:

The following question, in itself, is not a Halachic question per se. However, the issue has very practical ramifications, and thus I am seeking guidance as to the proper approach to this issue.

תורה, in general, and the תניא קדישא in particular, talk at great length about anxiety and depression. תורה states that anxiety is a reflection of a lack of אמונה and בטחון in הקב”ה, because if one would truly believe that אין רע יורד מלמעלה, he would never be anxious about his future. Similarly, תורה states that depression is one of the gravest emotions that one can embrace, because when one is depressed, he is in essence indicating that he does not believe that whatever הקב”ה does for him is for his good.

These two concepts [i.e. the תורה approach to anxiety, and the תורה approach to depression] are fundamental elements of יהדות. However, anxiety and depression are unanimously regarded [under specific circumstances] as clinical conditions by the modern medical world. So assuming תורה acknowledges the conclusions of the modern medical world, and thus the תורה does consider the possibility that one’s anxiety and / or depression is not a reflection of a lack of אמונה and / or בטחון, rather, it is a clinical condition, how can one determine the status of his anxiety and / or depression?

In other words, how can one know if his anxiety and / or depression is a reflection of a lack of אמונה and / or בטחון, and thus it is incumbent on him to strengthen his אמונה and / or בטחון, or if his anxiety and / or depression is clinical, and thus it is incumbent on him to seek professional help?

 

Answer:

There is clinical depression which causes one to be incapacitated, or sadness from thing that have happened or unachieved goals. A professional or intelligent mashpia should be able to help assess what we are dealing with.

 

 

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