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Should I visit my family doctor or a psychologist if I am depressed? (Counselling Articles)

Many people that suffer from depression rely on a number of people for information and support. In addition to family members, friends and co-workers, you might want to visit your family doctor as well as a psychologist because both family doctors and psychologists can offer effective treatments for depression.

A surprising 250,000 to 400,000 people in Calgary do not have a family doctor. 100,000 of these people are actively searching for a family doctor but most of Calgary’s family doctors are already overloaded with too many patients and long wait lists.

Research has documented that patients discuss psychological issues during 70 percent of appointments with their family doctors. Family doctors, who most patients turn to first, do not always have the time available or the training required to best treat the psychological issues involved.

During medical appointments, most family doctors have about 15 minutes to help you with your problems based on the symptoms you describe and your personal history.

Family doctors offer patients who are depressed  brief counsel and sometimes prescribe antidepressants to help alleviate symptoms.

Because many of the symptoms of Depression are physical, including fatigue, weight gain, and hypersomnia (needing an excessive amount of sleep), it is important to see a family doctor to rule-out possible physical causes of your symptoms, including Hypothyroidism.

In addition to seeing your family doctor, you might want to see a psychologist to determine whether counselling is right for you. A psychologist can help you learn to change the way you think so that you can successfully challenge depressive thoughts, which in turn can help you reduce the duration and intensity of your current depressive episodes and minimize the likelihood of future episodes. You might want to look at The Feeling Good Handbook, a book by Dr. David Burns, to discover some of the ways people distort their thinking, which can result in depression.

Read more about whether you need to take antidepressants if you are depressed.

Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta

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