The Serotonin Myth Continued: What You Need To Know About Depression

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A few weeks back, I reported on a new study that pounded yet another nail in the coffin of the theory that depression is caused by low serotonin.   You can read that original post here as well as the follow up post wherein I responded to a question from a reader asking if I was trying to say that people who suffered with depression were to blame for their struggles (short answer:  no.)Over at PsychCentral, one of the most popular psychology news portals on the web, the director, Dr. John G … [Read more...]

Belief Beats Genes: Study Reveals Shocking Truth About Reaching Your Goals

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Simply telling people that hard work is more important than genetics causes positive changes in the brain and may make them willing to try harder, a study shows. "Giving people messages that encourage learning and motivation may promote more efficient performance," said the lead investigator. "In contrast, telling people that intelligence is genetically fixed may inadvertently hamper learning." Telling people...that hard work trumps genes causes instant changes in the brain and may make them … [Read more...]

Setting the Captive Free! New Research Illustrates our Power to Overcome Depression

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In response to my post linking the new study questioning the serotonin-deprivation theory of depression, I received a very thoughtful email from a reader who wrote, "Dr. Popcak, some of my friends who suffer with depression are saying that in this article you are blaming them for their depression. Can you explain further?"Blaming the Victim?  A ResponseI am grateful for her question because I would never want anyone to think that I was blaming sufferers of depression for being d … [Read more...]

Suicide and the Christian

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In light of Robin Williams' tragic death there are a lot of people saying a lot of different things about Christianity and suicide. I thought it would be useful to take a moment to consider the wisdom the Catechism has to offer."Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him … [Read more...]

Effective Coping for Emotional Distress

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Earlier today I offered some reflections on what people-of-faith need to know about depression.  I promised that I'd offer some additional thoughts on effective coping for emotional distress.Effective coping strategies enable a person to gather their psychological, emotional, spiritual, and relational resources so that they can respond to the problems they are facing.  By contrast, ineffective coping strategies simply allow a person to escape, withdraw, or numb themselves for a time, but w … [Read more...]

Dealing With Depression: Getting the Right Kind of Help Matters

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The news of Robin Williams' suicide has brought the insidious nature of depression front and center.  I know too many Christians who believe that they should be immune from depression because they are Christian.   While research shows that some believers can be more resistant to depression and have a somewhat easier time bouncing back when they do get depression, it is also true that some approaches to religion can be associated with higher rates of depression and emotional problems.  When … [Read more...]

“This Book Changed My Life”

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Every once in a while the Holy Spirit allows me a glance at how he's using my work to touch the hearts of his people.  It's always humbling and I'm always truly grateful for the experience.  Earlier today, I came across a post by Molly Milroy of Ignitum Today titled, "Five Books That Changed My Life"  I was genuinely blessed to find my book, The Life God Wants You To Have:  Discovering the Divine Plan When Human Plans Fail listed among the titles that significantly impacted her life for the bette … [Read more...]

The Secret of Forgiving Yourself

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We're heading into Lent and, as I noted on the show today, it's a time where lots of us will end up facing some degree of temptation to beat up on ourselves for failing in our efforts to fulfill our Lenten penances.  Beyond this, though, forgiving oneself for one's failings and struggles is a constant struggle.  It can be hard to know what forgiving yourself means much less how to do it.As I've shared before, St Augustine said that  forgiveness is what happens when we "surrender our natural d … [Read more...]


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