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I often have people asking me for advice on depression and medications. Particularly, they ask if they have depression, should they take medication? My advice varies person to person and I am not a pill pusher by any means. My short advice for someone considering medication would be as follows:
1) Get a full medical evaluation done by your general physician. This will look for anything else that may be going on such as a thyroid issue. Issues with people’s thyroids can also cause symptoms that can look similar to depression.
2) If you are still struggling with depression, I would suggest going to a psychiatrist over a general physician for mental health concerns when seeking medication. Most GP’s see depression cases but aren’t as versed in the nuances of it versus a mood disorder.
3) Find doctors that you like. I know this sounds simple, but I have met a lot of psychiatrists in my time but every psychiatrist has different styles, specialties, and availability. Think about it like buying a TV. Would you prefer to just randomly pick a TV or would you want to read some reviews and go try it out first to see which you like? Psychiatrists are the same way. Some are very friendly and will even give you their cell phone number in case you have any questions or complications. Some will sit behind a desk and take notes the whole time and you can only talk to their office manager. Personally, I prefer psychiatrists that other people have had good experiences with, that will spend an hour with me in an initial consult and 30 minutes in a follow up and that are accessible via email or the phone if I need them. Make sure you feel like you trust them.
4) Medications affect everyone differently. Sometimes doctors will find the right meds on the first try, sometimes it takes a little bit. People online are very quick to talk about their negative experiences, but I will say that there are meds that are out there that substantially improve people’s quality of life.
I hope what I have said is helpful. If you would like more advice on depression and medications, please feel free to contact us or make a counseling appointment and set up a free 30-minute consultation. If you would like some more information about depression, you can read about depression counseling.