Worsening Depression

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 36. I can’t seem to get over my depression. It gets worse every time and I don’t know what to do.

A: You must be feeling desperate. You didn’t give me much to go on but I’ll try. If you are only taking medication, please get yourself to a cognitive-behavioral therapist. The generally acknowledged treatment of choice for depression is a combination of medication and therapy. Medication alone rarely does it.

I also hope you are seeing a psychiatrist for your medications, not your PCP. With all due respect to the PCPs in the world, they are generalists. We count on them to know a bit about everything and to make appropriate referrals. Psychiatry is a specialty. If you have a persistent mental illness, you should be seeing a specialist.

Then, work with your doctors. You are a central part of your treatment team. Tell your doctors how you are feeling. Keep a good daily diary of when you take your medicine, your mood throughout the day and what you are doing. Keep it every day. Take it with you to your appointments. Why? Because it’s tough when we’re feeling lousy to remember that two days ago, maybe things weren’t so bad. A diary helps us see patterns that can be helpful.

Finally, make sure you are taking care of the basics — even if you don’t feel like it. That means getting out for a walk or some physical exercise every day, making sure you are getting at least 6 – 8 hours of sleep a night, and eating decently. Your body can’t help you if you are abusing it by depriving it of basic needs.

It’s difficult to keep working at something when you don’t see results, I know. But please do. With concerted teamwork, you and your team can help you feel better.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 May 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Worsening Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/11/worsening-depression-2/