Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are there any ways to treat depression without medication?"
I feel like I might be depressed. Having trouble getting out of bed and enjoying life. I'm afraid of antidepressants and other drug therapies. Are there any natural ways to treat depression? Should I see a shrink?
Yes, you should definitely see a mental health professional. Depression is a serious health condition that can affect your quality of life in a significant way. There are several symptoms of depression that include difficulty enjoying activities that you previously enjoyed, decreased concentration, increased fatigue and sleep changes - sleeping more than usual or difficulty falling asleep. When you do see a mental health professional, a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms will be done. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor will come up with a treatment plan which may or may not include medication. The most commonly prescribed antidepressants have a low side effect profile and are generally safe. Your doctor can go over the side effects in detail with you as well. In addition, you may also be prescribed some interpersonal therapy to help you deal with the cause of your depression, if this is indeed the cause of your symptoms. There are certain medical conditions that can cause your symptoms as well (for example, thyroid disease) that your doctor may want to evaluate you for. While it is unlikely to come to a diagnosis based on the relatively few symptoms you have given, it is unlikely that these symptoms will self resolve without medical evaluation. I would definitely see a primary care physician as soon as possible to discuss your health. He or she will be able to make a referral to a specialized mental health professional and lead you in the right direction.
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