ZocdocAnswersWhen are emergency consultations needed?

Question

When are emergency consultations needed?

I suffer from depression and wonder if I should have an emergency consultation but it never seems bad enough. Should I go to one anyway?

Answer

Depression can be a very serious medical condition, because it leads to severe impairment in social functioning and also because it can predispose toward suicidal thoughts. The main reason for obtaining an emergency medical evaluation for your depression is if you are beginning to have any thoughts about suicide or about harming yourself. If you are having any of these thoughts, then you should go immediately to an emergency room or to your primary care doctor or psychiatrist's office to be evaluated. This is a medical emergency and should not be brushed off. On the other hand, if you are simply dealing with the chronic consequences of low mood, you should still be evaluated soon by your doctor but maybe do not need an emergency consultation. Depression is a chronic condition, but it can be treated with medications. However, sometimes many months are needed to find the right medication, and so excellent and repeated followup with either your primary care doctor or your psychiatrist are needed. It sounds like you do not have this kind of followup right now, so the main thing for you is to get hooked back in with your doctors so you can obtain the help you need.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.