Q & A with Dr. Calico
1. What are the most important questions you should ask yourself before going on antidepressants. 1) how severe are my symptoms? How large is their negative impact on my life? 2) how long having I been in this state of distress? 3) am I becoming more avoidant or isolative due to this change in mood? 4) am I less able to properly care for myself (eat, shower, exercise, go to work ) 5) are friends and family noticing the change in my behavior and expressing their concern for me. 6) am I beginning to feel hopeless or suicidal?
2. Why are those questions important? These questions are important for they will be able to guide you in your next steps... 1) beginning with behavior changes as a first step to treatment for mild symptoms, (being around people who care for you, exercising more, improving sleep hygiene) 2) connecting with a psychotherapist for mild-moderate symptoms, ( talk therapy for added support and exploration of underlying psychological issues/past traumas adding to your current state) 3) reaching out to your primary care doctor or to a psychiatrist for further evaluation and treatment options when dealing with moderate, moderate-severe, severe symptoms. (A comprehensive evaluation, looking at organic, genetic, physiological causes as well as situational factors adding to your change in mood)
3. How can I tell if the symptoms I'm experiencing are severe enough to warrent medical treatment? If the symptoms you are experiencing are pervasive despite utilizing healthy copy skills and gathered support of family/friends... Seek an evaluation from a medical professional. There is no risk in asking an expert, but a greater risk in continued suffering and further degradation of your self esteem by staying silent and trying to muscle through a tough time. ( contrary to the social stigma.....depression and anxiety, are not signs of 'mental weakness'- but merely just another medical disorder we are all susceptible too at some times in our lives. There should be no shame in asking for help)
Overall, trust yourself... If you're not feeling well, no matter the circumstances nor attempts to improve your mood. Contact your doctor and get an evaluation.
There's no need to suffer silently.
-Nivea B. Calico, MD 2015