IS DEPRESSION COMMON?
Everyone feels down sometimes, especially when facing life’s stressors such as losing a loved one, going through a divorce, getting fired from a job, etc. However, clinical depression tends to last longer, causes extreme distress and interferes with your school, work, relationships or personal life.
A few facts (and some more):
Major depressive disorder affects 6.7% of the US adult population each year
Depression is the #1 cause of disability
Only 62% of those who are depressed receives treatment
50% of those who are depressed also struggle with anxiety
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Depression may look like:
Intense and sustained feeling of sadness, emptiness, irritability
Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
Poor focus, concentration and decision making
Helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness or extreme shame/guilt
Depression is caused by a combination of factors (genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events) and comes in various types:
Adjustment disorder with depressed mood
Seasonal affective disorder
Major depressive disorder
Persistent depressive disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Depressive disorder due to another medical condition
WHY SEE A PSYCHIATRIST?
Psychiatrists are specialized medical doctors who require at least 12 years in higher education and 15,000 hours of clinical training before being allowed to independently diagnose, treat or prescribe. In comparison, nurse practitioner (NP) requires 500 clinical hours (typically supervised by a medical doctor); and physician assistant (PA) requires 2,000 clinical hours.
My training offers in-depth understanding of the nuances when diagnosing, treating or prescribing. Every patient is different, and my recommendations are always made on a case-by-case analysis. If together we determine that medication is beneficial, I'll walk you through different options, thoroughly explain their risks, benefits, alternatives and potential side effects, so you can be fully informed and content with the next steps.
A few examples:
Common medical conditions, like anemia or hypothyroidism, may mimic depression. It’s important to rule out these conditions by checking your blood and thyroid level.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) is the first-line medication types for depression. Some SSRIs are sedating (paroxetine) while others are more activating (fluoxetine), requiring careful considerations of factors such as your presenting symptoms (insomnia) or situation (daytime sleepiness can interfere with your work).
My Masters in Psychopharmacology and Applied Psychology add even more insights on all things medication and human behavior. Let me help you regain your focus, energy, sleep, and joy.