Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should I go to my regular doctor if I think I am depressed?"
Think I might be suffering from depression. Should I go to a psychologist or my family doctor? Can a regular doctor help with depression? Is it a disease?
Depression is a very serious mental illness that can manifest in a variety of ways. Depression is often characterized by a feeling of sadness, guilt or worthlessness, and people with depression don't find joy in the activities that used to bring them happiness. They may lose/gain weight, eat too much or too little, and have changes in their sleep patterns. People with a depressed state may also have thoughts about death or suicide. Fortunately, there have been very successful public health campaigns and education of both the public and health care professionals over the last several years. There have additionally been significant advances in the treatments for depression recently, with very effective medications available for use. Primary care providers are now better trained to recognize the signs of depression, screen for the illness, and treat the illness effectively. Your doctor can help talk through your problems and prescribe medication if needed to help treat the depression. He/she may feel that referral to a mental health specialist is warranted if frequent visits are required or if the depression is complex or severe. If you have any questions or concerns at all about your mental health, then it is advised that you seek out the help of your primary care physician.
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