Written by Doug Westberg
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Friday, 30 September 2011

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BOOK REVIEW

God's Answers For Depression
by Mindy Morganstern, Div.B.
Yorma Linda Bible Press

Some observers say that depression is an overdiagnosed epidemic run rampant. 9% of Americans suffer some form of depression (this figure includes manic, major, and disthymic-low-grade-depression.) More prescriptions are written for mood disorders than for any other condition, including high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Now comes this helpful, if slim (98pp.), volume from Ms. Morganstern, who received her Bachelor of Divinity from Yorma Linda School of the Bible. In this age of taking medication for everything from erectile dysfunction to restless legs, Morganstern asserts, there is another approach to depression and anxiety that too many people give short shrift.

"When you get right down to it," Morganstern says in her introduction, "depression is nothing more than a Jesus deficiency. It's that simple. If you've accepted Jesus as your personal savior, it's impossible to be unhappy."

This novel approach may raise hackles with some readers, but Morganstern backs up her thesis with many practical suggestions. Among them:

• Look at yourself in the mirror, smile, and say, "Jesus loves me. How bad can things be?" until your mood lifts.

• Go to a soup kitchen and spend some time serving people worse off than you. While you're there, have some soup.

• Find a nice church and enjoy the fellowship and support of like-minded believers.

• Set up a Prayer Corner in your home and decorate it with devotional objects that are cheery and inspiring, such as a picture of the "Laughing Jesus."

• Go see a wholesome, uplifting movie, such as Toy Story, The Sound Of Music, or VeggieTales: Bigger, Longer, Uncut.

• Read your Bible, especially the funny parts.

In a society replete with overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and overstress, Morganstern's natural, organic, no-nonsense approach can offer many people a wholesome, drug-free, and inexpensive alternative. Morganstern has obviously given her subject a great deal of thought, and if she is not writing from personal or clinical experience, at least she's thought about her subject really, really hard, and her approach is refreshingly free of arcane, professional jargon.

I have one quarrel with Morganstern's approach. If Jesus is the anodyne for depression Morganstern says he is, how to explain the fact that in Utah--Mormon country--68% more prescriptions for Prozac are written per capita than in any other state? That said, this book is highly recommended for anyone whose depression isn't that bad, who was inclined to believe in Jesus to begin with, and who has the attention span of a fruit fly. For the rest of us, there's always Dr. Phil.

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