What Kind of Doctor Should I See for Depression?

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In this blog, we will answer the question, “what kind of doctor should I see for depression” and also cover topics like what is depression, its symptoms, types, treatment, and answer frequently asked questions.

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Family Counseling

What Kind of Doctor Should I See for Depression?

There are various kinds of professionals that work with depression and other similar conditions. 

Psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are all mental health professionals that work with people suffering from mental health-related concerns like depression but all professionals bring different kinds of services and we will be exploring them in the later sections. 

What is Depression?

Depression is a type of mood disorder. It’s characterized by feelings of sadness, loss, or rage that interfere with one’s daily activities. It affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of mental and physical difficulties. 

It is also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. You may find it difficult to carry out day-to-day tasks, and you may feel as if life isn’t worth living. 

Fortunately, it is also treatable but before we get into the treatment and the kind of doctor you should see for depression, let us understand it in some detail. 

What are the symptoms of depression? 

Although symptoms of depression differ from person to person, there are a few common symptoms usually seen in people with depression:

  • Sad, nervous, or “empty” feelings
  • A sense of hopelessness, worthlessness, and pessimism
  • Increased crying
  • irritated, annoyed, or enraged
  • you’ve lost interest in hobbies and interests that you used to like
  • tiredness or a lack of energy
  • Having trouble focusing, remembering, or making judgments
  • Slower movement or speech
  • Oversleeping, difficulties sleeping, or early morning wakeup
  • changes in appetite or weight
  • Chronic physical discomfort that has no obvious cause and does not improve with treatment (headaches, aches or pains, digestive problems, cramps)
  • Suicide attempts, thoughts of death, suicide, or self-harm

Causes of depression

Depression can be caused by a variety of factors. They can be biological or situational in nature.

Among the most common causes are:

  • The chemistry of the brain. In persons with depression, there may be a chemical imbalance in areas of the brain that control mood, thinking, sleep, food, and behavior.
  • Hormone levels are important. Changes in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone during various stages of life, such as the menstrual cycle, postpartum, perimenopause, and menopause, can all increase a person’s risk of depression.
  • History of the family. If you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder, you’re more likely to acquire depression.
  • Early childhood adversity. Some occurrences have an impact on how your body reacts to fear and stress.
  • The structure of the brain. If your frontal lobe is less active, you’re more likely to get depression. Scientists are unsure whether this occurs before or after the beginning of depression symptoms.
  • Medical problems. Chronic sickness, insomnia, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, heart attack, and cancer are among illnesses that can increase your risk.
  • Use of drugs. A history of drug or alcohol abuse can increase your risk.
  • Pain. People who are under emotional or chronic bodily discomfort for an extended period of time are more likely to develop depression.

Types of depression 

  • A major depressive disorder that is unipolar
  • When depression lasts for at least two years, it is called a persistent depressive disorder, or dysthymia.
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder occurs when children and teenagers become irritable, furious, and have frequent intense outbursts that are more extreme than a typical child’s reaction.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD) occurs when a woman experiences more severe mood disorders than regular premenstrual syndrome before her menstruation (PMS)
  • When symptoms appear while you’re taking a drug or drinking alcohol, or after you quit, it’s called substance-induced mood disorder (SIMD).
  • As a result of another medical problem, you may develop a depressive disorder.
  • Other depressive disorders, such as minor depression

Different types of professionals and Depression

Counselor/Psychotherapist

Some people prefer to see a counselor or psychologist instead of a psychiatrist for their initial mental health assessment. For many people, especially if their situation isn’t severe, this can be helpful, but for others, it’s frequently insufficient.

Psychotherapy is a broad term that refers to a variety of verbal and psychological strategies used to assist a person in overcoming a mental health problem or a cause of underlying stress. 

Psychoanalytic treatment or psychodynamic psychotherapy, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are examples of these techniques   Psychotherapeutic procedures are frequently used by other mental health professionals in the area, such as counselors and social workers, with their clients.

Psychiatrist

Talk therapy will not be enough to help you if your depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. It’s better to see a psychiatrist, who can prescribe drugs and one can keep on taking psychotherapy in combination with medication. Patients frequently benefit the greatest from this two-pronged strategy of medicine and talk therapy.

While your psychiatrist is sometimes trained to provide psychotherapy, it’s not uncommon for them to recommend you to a clinical psychologist, therapist, or professional mental health counselor while they focus on fine-tuning your medication.

Your healthcare provider can also sometimes prescribe you anti-depressants to help you deal with depression but it is always better to see a psychiatrist as they are more equipped to deal with the physical symptoms of depression and you can work with a psychotherapist simultaneously to help you deal with the behavioral, mental, and emotional manifestations of depression. 

Medications for Depression

An individual’s brain chemistry may have a role in their depression and treatment. As a result, antidepressants may be administered to aid in the modification of one’s brain chemistry. 

There are no sedatives, “uppers,” or tranquilizers in these drugs. They do not form a habit. Antidepressant medicines, in general, have a little stimulating impact on those who are not depressed.

Antidepressants may provide some relief within the first week or two of treatment, but the full effects may take two to three months to manifest. If a patient doesn’t feel better after a few weeks, his or her psychiatrist may adjust the medication’s dose or add or substitute another antidepressant. 

Other psychotropic medicines may be beneficial in some cases. It’s critical to inform your doctor if the prescribed medicine is working for you not and if you are experiencing any side effects.

Psychiatrists frequently advise patients to keep taking their medicine for six months or longer after their symptoms have eased. For some people at high risk, longer-term maintenance treatment may be recommended to reduce the risk of future episodes.

Conclusion 

If you believe that you are suffering from depression, it is always best if you discuss it with your healthcare provider and they can connect you with psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and counselors to help you with your condition. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): What Kind of Doctor Should I See for Depression?

What are the risk factors related to depression?

Biochemical, medical, social, genetic, and contextual risk factors for depression exist. The following are some common risk factors:

  • Sex. Major depression is twice as common in women as it is in men, according to reliable sources.
  • Genetics. If you have a family history of depression, you are at a higher risk of developing it.
  • Social and economic standing. Your socioeconomic status, which includes financial difficulties and a sense of poor social status, can increase your risk of depression.
  • Medications in particular. Certain medications, such as hormonal birth control pills, corticosteroids, and beta-blockers, have been linked to an increased risk of depression.
  • Deficiency in vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels has been linked to depression symptoms.

Can depression be prevented? 

A complex combination of social, psychological, and biological factors leads to depression. People who have experienced adversity in their lives (such as unemployment, bereavement, or traumatic experiences) are more prone to depression.

Depression and physical health have a symbiotic relationship. Cardiovascular disease, for example, can cause depression and vice versa.

Depression has been demonstrated to be reduced via prevention programs. School-based programs to improve a pattern of positive coping in children and adolescents are effective community methods to prevent depression. 

Interventions for parents of children with behavioral issues may help to lessen parental depression and enhance their children’s outcomes. Exercise programs for the elderly can also be beneficial in preventing depression.

What are the complications associated with depression?

Depression is a serious illness that can have devastating consequences for you and your family. If depression isn’t treated, it can lead to emotional, behavioral, and physiological issues that influence every aspect of your life.

The following are some examples of depression-related complications:

  • Obesity, or excess weight, can contribute to heart disease and diabetes.
  • Physical ailment or pain
  • Misuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Anxiety, panic disorder, or social phobia are all examples of anxiety disorders.
  • Workplace or school issues, as well as family conflicts and relationship issues
  • Suicidal thoughts, attempts, or suicide are all symptoms of social isolation.
  • Premature mortality due to medical issues, such as self-mutilation, cutting

What is the prevalent rate of depression? 

Depression is a widespread ailment that affects 3.8 percent of the world’s population, with 5.0 percent of adults and 5.7 percent of persons over 60 years old suffering from depression Around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression Depression can lead to suicide in the worst-case scenario. Every year, around 700,000 people die by suicide. Suicide is the fourth highest cause of death among those aged 15 to 29.

What will happen if you are depressed?

Depression is a serious mental condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. It can lead to emotions of melancholy, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities that linger for a long time. It can also cause physical symptoms like as pain, a change in appetite, and sleep issues.

What happens in the brain when a person is depressed?

Depression raises cortisol levels in the hippocampus, slowing the growth of neurons in the brain. The loss of function of the damaged part is closely linked to the atrophy of brain circuits. The amygdala enlarges while other cerebral areas shrink due to elevated cortisol levels.

References

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/what-is-depression
https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
https://www.healthline.com/health/depression#treatment
https://www.verywellmind.com/i-think-im-depressed-now-what-1066902

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