Does Your Depression Need A Psychiatrist?

Does Your Depression Need A Psychiatrist?

Depression is a common condition, and in its more severe forms it can be very disabling. If you think you may be suffering from this disorder, you need to seek help as quickly as possible. Very often, the type of doctor who is best qualified to help you will be a psychiatrist.

There is actually a lot of confusion about depression, as the term can be used in different ways. It is often used to refer to low mood or general feelings of unhappiness, or “feeling blue.” On the other hand, it can be used to refer to an actual psychiatric illness.

If you go to your doctor because you are feeling down and a bit miserable, the doctor will usually assume initially that you are suffering from the first type of depression. This is especially true if you have recently suffered a traumatic event, such as a bereavement, loss of a job, or a relationship breakdown. Feeling low in such situations is normal and is not considered an illness. Your doctor may prescribe mild medication, refer you to a therapist, or even suggest you go on a vacation.

However, if you are suffering from an actual depressive illness, these remedies will not be effective. If your symptoms persist for several weeks, or are seriously interfering with your ability to function, or if your black moods are becoming acute and you start having suicidal thoughts, your depression needs psychiatrist. Ask your primary doctor for a referal or alternatively contact NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

When you see the psychiatrist, he or she will first carry out a thorough diagnostic assessment, in order to determine the right treatment. This assessment will include a detailed interview, and may also include a physical examination and tests, to rule out possible physical causes of your symptoms. In the interview, you should try to be as open as you can about what you are experiencing, so that the psychiatrist can build up an accurate picture of what is happening.

If you have an actual depressive illness, it is likely that it has nothing to do with your life circumstances, but is due to chemical imbalances in the brain, for which medication is required. The psychiatrist will be able to prescribe the correct medication, but may also combine the treatment with psychotherapy, or talking therapy, to help you recover from your symptoms. Treatment can take a few weeks, or a few months, depending on how severe your condition is.

If you have the symptoms of depression, don’t listen to people who tell you it will pass, or who advise you to pull yourself together. You require treatment for this, just as you do for any other medical condition. If you are in this situation, and live in the New York City area, please contact me, Dr. Anthony W. Termine, to be sure of receiving the help and support you need.

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