Dealing with Depression/Finding a therapist
QUESTION: Hello Patricia,
It seems like depression has been my companion for as long as I can remember. Granted, I have many days when I happy and I am grateful for those. Nonetheless, I am SO over it. I have done loads of reading, education and taken supplements. I do not ever want to feel depressed again (which doesn't imply I expect to be happy 100% of the time either). I have wasted too much of my life and too many opportunities. I am ready to get treatment and I am unsure where to begin or how to select the appropriate therapist. Can you help?
I am also concerned by some of the statistics I've heard on suicidal ideation once a person begins taking anti-depressants. Is there a theory as to what causes that and who is at risk?
ANSWER: Hi Kristin:
The best place to start, believe it or not is with a psychiatrist. Some people resist this idea. However, psychiatrists study the human brain, it's chemicals and how they are made, pharmacology, etc. Which medications to use and how they affect the brain. Regular Mds do not have this in depth study like psychiatrists do.
You will have a thorough assessment from the psychiatrist, family history, etc.
Family history is important to see if depression runs in your family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.
Next, whether you need medication or not, you would then see a therapist.
I would call your local Counselor and/or psychology board to see who specializes in depression.
Or call a Behavioral Health unit in any hospital and ask who is a good therapist that specializes in depression. You would get recommendations from them. Or, just type in your search box something like: therapists for depression in (city).
Everyone's body chemistry is different. A few antidepressants cause suicidal ideation such as Effexor and Vybrid (spelling?). These serious side effects are listed on the medications insert papers. There is no theory as to what causes this. Doctor's only know that every human body has a different chemical make up. They learn from the patient how the medicine is affect the patient.
An excellent web cite is "depression central" developed by Dr. Ivan Goldberg (who passed away recently). This web site is full of valuable information. Also, there are depression self inventories you can take. If you do go to this site and take a depression self-inventory, also take an anxiety self-inventory. Depression and anxiety tend to go hand in hand in many cases.
I hope this information has helped you. If you have any more questions, let me know.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Dr. Pat,
Just to clarify, any psychiatrist would be fine to visit, I donít need to seek out one who specializes in depression? I read something in a forum relating to treatment and concerns regarding future jobs. The poster implied that one must disclose whether or not they've seen a psychiatrist on a job application. Do you know the details and (general) legal rules surrounding this topic? That is one of my concerns about seeing a psychiatrist. Another one is fear of being committed. That may seem silly; if you could speak to that concern I'd be grateful.
Also, is there a site you'd recommend that allows users to rate and review therapists?
You won't be committed for depression. You need to be suffering from schizophrenia, threatening to kill self or others, suicidal, and very serious illnesses such as bad paranoia, etc.
Here is a web site http://careers.theguardian.com/careers-blog/disclosing-illness-to-employer
I copied some info from this site for you. But please go to this web site to learn more info.
"How much do you risk by disclosing previous mental illness to a potential employer? While some organizations have positive policies, in others disclosure could mean not getting the job in the first place, not progressing as far once in the role, or even being forced out of your existing role.
However, the situation is slowly changing. Although the charity Mind
has revealed that one in six employees suffer stress, anxiety or depression, a new employers' pledge will help organizations manage employees with mental health conditions. It includes guidance on workplace adjustments to support employees.
The legal position
The 2010 Equality Act helps protect job applicants against discrimination, by disallowing questions about a candidate's health or sickness record before offering a job. As Philip Landau explains there are limited exceptions to this rule, such as when it might be necessary to offer adjustments during the selection process or to decide whether a candidate can carry out an essential part of the job.
This legislation means that you're not required to disclose information about your mental health at application (or interview) stage. If your prospective employer asks about it (and you're subsequently turned down) you may have grounds for unlawful discrimination, says Emma Mano from Mind in a Guardian Careers live Q&A: Should I disclose my mental health problem at work?
Disclosing issues after a job offer has been made can be beneficial, Amy Whitelock of Mind says. "Employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for people who disclose a disability which is protected under the Equality Act."
Reasonable adjustments are not necessarily expensive or difficult to organise. In fact, according to The Equality and Human Rights Commission, most cost nothing, with the average being Workplace adjustments can include: flexibility on start or finishing times, phasing a return to work, allowing some working from home, provision of quiet rooms, and support with the workload through a buddy or mentoring scheme."
Hope this helps.