A woman who is experiencing mood symptoms should pursue a line of intervention that’s most comfortable for her. If she has a close relationship with her obstetrician, that should be the person that she calls. If she has a close relationship with her internist, that should be the person that she calls.
If her best friend is a social worker, that should be the person that she calls. You know, as a point of entry, it should be a place and a sort of venue that is comfortable for her. Going through the Yellow Pages and looking for a psychiatrist might not be the most comfortable first point of entry into treatment.
So that, as a first line to really get an assessment and evaluation for somebody to say, “You know, this might be depression,” or, “You’re on these medications that might cause depression; you have this medical condition that might be related to depression.” A first line of entry should be somebody who you’re comfortable talking to, who can do a good assessment, and either intervene if they are qualified to intervene, or make a referral for you to somebody who is qualified to intervene.
A patient’s caregiver should know if these are mild symptoms, or if this is a disorder that needs to be treated by a mental health provider. So typically, the best treatment for depression is a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Getting medications alone from a primary care provider who may be seeing you only once a year to check your blood pressure or do a pap smear and renew your anti-depressant medications is really not adequate treatment for depressive disorder.
Dr. Nehama Dresner Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Obstetrics-Gynecology, Northwestern University
Dr. Nehama Dresner is a licensed, Board-certified psychiatrist (in general psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine) with specialized training and nearly 20 years experience in Women's Mental Health and Medical Psychiatry. more about this expert »