I have always been in pretty good health, so I was surprised one day when my doctor told me my blood pressure was a bit high. She told me to begin watching my salt intake, start exercising, and to try to relax. Well, I intended to follow her advice when I left her office, but the next day I was back to my same habits. I kept using the salt shaker and didn't begin an exercise routine like I had planned. When I went for my next check-up, she told me that my blood pressure was even higher and approaching a dangerous level. I had to begin a blood pressure medication to manage it. I wanted to create a blog to share my story and remind people to listen to their doctors' advice. If a few lifestyle changes can improve your health, then you should make them.
Primary care physicians often serve as a gateway to specialist services. They evaluate patients and treat many ordinary problems and then refer their patients on to a network of specialists, like cardiologists and rheumatologists, in order to get clearer diagnostic care and more appropriate treatment. However, many primary care physicians are willing to handle issues with mental health—particularly depression—themselves, without referring patients over to costly therapists until medication has been given a chance. This is what you should know about depression and how to bring up the subject with your primary care physician.
Medication is just as effective as psychotherapy in 40% of patients.
Recent studies have indicated that 40% of patients will respond equally well to either medication or psychotherapy if they're suffering from depression. For those that fall into that 40%, that can be a lifesaver. Not only can they get relief from their depression, but they don't have to try to squeeze weekly visits to a psychotherapist into their schedule—which can be difficult if you are working a 9–5 job. In addition, the copays for psychotherapy can be prohibitive for some people. Some insurances don't cover psychotherapy at all, and others only cover a limited number of visits per year.
Depression is a legitimate medical need.
A lot of patients are uncomfortable bringing up the issue of depression to their primary care physician because they fear being branded as "mentally ill" from that point forward. Mental illness still suffers from an unfortunate stigma in U.S. society, but it is a legitimate medical condition that requires treatment. In many cases, depression has a biological component that may even be genetic in nature. It's known to run in families. It also isn't something that you can simply will yourself into not feeling, so your doctor isn't going to consider you any less ill than someone suffering from any other medical condition.
Schedule a specific appointment to discuss the issue.
It takes a little thought and planning for a physician to decide which one of the many antidepressants on the market to try you on, so don't squeeze the conversation in at the very end of another visit. Instead, make an appointment specifically to discuss the symptoms of depression that you are having. Make a list of your symptoms and if necessary to bring with you to your doctor's office. Some symptoms, like anxiety or insomnia, may benefit from additional medications that are targeted toward those specific problems, so your doctor may want to add more than one medication into your treatment plan around those symptoms.
Expect the possibility of a few failures.
Not every antidepressant will work on every person. While science is coming closer and closer to being able to predict who will respond to what medication, many times it will take more than one attempt—and more than one office visit—to get the right combination of drugs and dosages going to manage your symptoms. Don't get discouraged if you don't succeed on the first visit.
If your doctor isn't able to manage your depression, he may then refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for additional care. For more information on the services that a primary care physician can provide, contact a medical center like Choice Medical Group.Share
27 December 2016