Depression is so insidious and pervasive.  When I see a patient for the first time I ask about their medical history: lung and heart problems, seizures, kidney disease AND anxiety and depression. It is that common. . . and that important to treat. Depression seems to zap the joy of life.

I question the patient about

  • thoughts of self-harm or hurting others,
  • if they have a plan,
  • if they’ve had treatment before (was it effective? Why did they stop?).

There are resources: counseling, focus groups, psychotherapy, and pharmacotherapy (drugs). Most medication takes 6-7 weeks to start working. Family may see a benefit before the patient does. The patient should commit to 6 to 9 months of medication, to decrease the risk of relapse. Exercise and other positive lifestyle changes should be encouraged.

 Anti-depressant medications often help greatly. Many formulations also help with anxiety. Frequently patients want to discontinue the anti-depressants as soon as they feel “normal” again. I convince them to stay on the medication. If they insist on weaning I ask them to tell a loved one what they are doing. So that if depressive behaviors resurface, the patient can resume full-dose medication.

My goal for my patient is for them to lead the life they were meant to lead. Depression gets in the way of that. Frequent visits, with a plan geared toward the patient’s needs, works best!

I hope this helps.

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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