The factors that cause depression are different, and most of them are poorly understood. The drugs taken to treat each case are also diverse, so matching a specific medication with a patient is not always a clear-cut decision. Co-existing medical conditions, individual signs, tolerance to possible adverse reactions and meds taken in the past are only several factors taken into consideration.
There are certain difficulties in making a diagnosis. For example, bipolar disorder can be misdiagnosed, especially if people fall on the edge of particular criteria. Some symptoms of mania can be overlooked as the signs of depression are the ones that feel bad and force patients to get medical help. Besides, the signs of bipolar disorder can be confused with other conditions.
It’s worth mentioning that there aren’t any blood tests or brain scans that doctors can take to make a clear diagnosis. They need to rely on a specific set of symptoms and medical history of their patients. That’s why diagnosing and treating such mood conditions as bipolar disorder and depression aren’t simple.
Once you grab the complexity of this matter, it becomes very easy to understand that treating all mood conditions isn’t any exact science. It’s more a form of art that requires the right combination of patience, judgment, knowledge and willingness to try innovative treatments, desire to keep up with the latest developments in this area and ability to network with other peers.
According to studies, about 74% of patients who need medical help for depression first visit primary care physicians, doctors who don’t specialize in mood disorders. However, family doctors don’t have the energy and time necessary to get the right knowledge for treating these conditions.
About 50% of depression cases diagnosed by such primary care physicians are actually misdiagnosed. Depression can have serious and even fatal outcomes if it’s not diagnosed and treated properly, so this matter is troubling.
Some patients are fine with their family doctors, because they get the right diagnosis and are lucky enough to respond to the first medicine prescribed by physicians. In short, it’s necessary to get referrals to or start with mental health professionals specializing in treating and diagnosing mood disorders to determine the most effective treatment plan.
Although there’s a controversy over whether medications, psychotherapy or their combination are best for treating depression, there are doctors who are really qualified to treat such disorders as depression using meds, and they are called psychiatrists. Psychologists specialize in different talk therapies. Although they’re qualified to treat mood conditions, they aren’t medical doctors and have no right to prescribe meds.
If you have any doubts about the intake of drugs, start your treatment under a psychiatrist’s supervision. You can benefit from talk therapies, but most psychiatrists don’t handle them as well as psychologists.
Skipping primary care physicians is a bad idea, because patients need to see them to get the necessary referrals according to their insurance coverage. This means that these doctors play their essential role in screening for other diseases that may resemble the symptoms of depression and in screening for possible mood conditions.
Once it’s clear that you’re healthy and may have mood disorders, primary care doctors need to give their referrals to qualified specialists. If they don’t offer that, you need to insist, because you pay for this service, so you have your right to expect the necessary and qualified care.