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Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I went to my doctors office to get a cholesterol test because the health insurance company I was buying insurance from required it. The doctor told me that I wasn't there to get a cholesterol test that I am depressed and needed to see a psychiatrist so I could get some medication prescribed. I had to argue this doctor into giving me the cholesterol test. Why would a doctor do that?
Your question is a good one to ask your doctor. It's usually helpful to understand how your doctor makes important decisions, such as diagnosing depression or referring you to a psychiatrist. Ask about that process. It's important that you understand what is necessary to make a diagnosis of depression so you can be sure you have the problem, because you're the one who will be doing most of the treating. So talk to your doctor about your symptoms, your functioning, and your previous experiences with depression. Then find out how your doctor decides if that's depression that needs medication treatment.
Lawson Wulsin, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, Training Director of the Family Medicine Psychiatry Residency Program
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati