Ruling out medical causes of depression
If you suspect that you may be depressed, and lifestyle changes haven’t worked, make an appointment to see your primary care doctor for a thorough checkup. If your depression is the result of medical causes, therapy and antidepressants will do little to help. The depression won’t lift until the underlying health problem is identified and treated.
Your doctor will check for medical conditions that mimic depression, and also make sure you are not taking medications that can cause depression as a side effect. Many medical conditions and medications can cause symptoms of depression, including sadness, fatigue, and the loss of pleasure. Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is a particularly common mood buster, especially in women. Older adults, or anyone who takes many different medications each day, are at risk for drug interactions that cause symptoms of depression. The more medications you are taking, the greater the risk for drug interactions.
Finding a therapist to treat your depression.
If there is no underlying medical cause for your symptoms of depression, then finding a mental health specialist is the next best step for treatment. Although there are many types of mental health professionals, one of the most important things to consider when choosing a therapist is your connection with this person. The right therapist will be a caring and supportive partner in your depression treatment and recovery.
There are many ways to find a therapist. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a good therapist. Your friends and family may have some ideas, or your primary care doctor may be able to provide an initial referral. National mental health organizations can also help with referral lists of licensed credentialed providers. If cost is an issue, check out local senior centers, religious organisations, and community mental health clinics.