Diagnosed with depression late in life

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m now 41 and was diagnosed with depression and anxiety 4 years ago. As I get older, it has become worse-and I have been in treatment.

Is this a common thing?

A: I don’t know if it’s “common.” I do guess that it’s discouraging for you. Here are some suggestions for how to take charge of your treatment and perhaps get more out of it:

If you haven’t already, please do get a complete, thorough, top to bottom medical checkup. There are many medical conditions that can show up with the same symptoms as depression. You want to be sure that a medical problem that is contributing to your symptoms isn’t being overlooked.

If everything checks out medically, they have another talk with your treating psychiatrist about her best analysis and prognosis. Make sure that your psychiatrist and PCP are in good communication with each other. These days, that can’t be taken for granted. We all need to be our own case managers.

Finally, if you aren’t already seeing a therapist, I do suggest you do so. The combination of medication and talk therapy is what has been shown to be the most effective treatment for depression. Rarely will a pill alone do it over the long run. You might also find it helpful to read the book, “Feeling Good” by David Burns.

I’m very glad you wrote. The people who benefit most from treatment are those who partner with their providers. Asking for help is an excellent first step.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Jul 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Diagnosed with depression late in life. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/07/31/diagnosed-with-depression-late-in-life/