Are you still feeling low? Still feeling anxious? It may have nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the treatments being offered to you. Believe it or not, having a personal health careconsultant on your treatment team could make the difference.
Research shows that up to 70 percent of people being treated for depression have still not recovered three months later. One study found that only 22 percent of those treated for depression by their primary care doctors were rid of their symptoms.
In the case of anxiety, the most optimistic assessments (PsychiatryAdvisor) estimate the percentage of those who do not respond to the usual treatments at 30 percent.
Experts believe, however, that a huge part of the problem with not recovering from depression and anxiety may be due to causes of these symptoms that go undiscovered by health care providers or effective treatments that are never offered. This is why a personal depression and anxiety consultant could be critically important.
WHAT IS AN A DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY CONSULTANT?
A depression and anxiety consultant is a combination coach and researcher who is extremely knowledgeable about your particular symptoms of depression or anxiety (or both) and who is also very knowledgeable about the variety of treatments available to make those symptoms go away. He or she would interview you and maintain contact with you, review your medical records, make you aware of treatment choices that may have been overlooked in your case and even potentially communicate with your psychiatrist or psychologist to help access new and effective forms of treatment.
WHAT AREAS MIGHT A DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY CONSULTANT FOCUS ON?
Here is just a sampling of areas commonly overlooked by mental health care providers:
- An underlying medical illness (such as a thyroid condition or sleep apnea or Lyme Disease causing low mood or anxiety).
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies causing low mood or anxiety (and comprehensive ways to test for such deficiencies).
- Genetic testing to determine if certain antidepressants or anti-anxiety agents are less likely to work for you.
- Newer antidepressant/antianxiety medications that are superior.
- The benefits of certain vitamin supplements that can be as effective as antidepressants or can addto their effectiveness.
- The availability of newer technologies to treat depression and anxiety, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (Brainsway), bright light therapy and ketamine infusion therapy (Neuragain).
- The availability of home devices to help treat depression.
Here’s one of my own client’s experiences, changing the name and some demographic information, of course, for anonymity’s sake:
George was a 32-year-old man who had experienced severe symptoms of major depression for the past 3 years. His psychiatrist and psychologist had tried a combination of medications and psychotherapy, but George’s symptoms persisted.
When I was asked to work on his case (not as his doctor, but as his personal consultant), I immediately noted that the four antidepressants that had been tried in George’s case were all very similar, pharmacologically. They all affected the serotonin system in the brain, but left the norepinephrine system largely untouched. I raised the issue of trying a newer antidepressant that would increase the activity of bothneurotransmitters.
Before any change would be made, however, I made his psychiatrist aware of Genesight testing which would be able to determine if the new medicine was one that George would metabolize properly.
George improved, somewhat, on the newer antidepressant (which was among those cleared by the Genesight test), but he still wasn’t 100 percent. That’s when I made his psychiatrist aware of the role that curcumin can play in alleviating depression. Adding curcumin was helpful to George, as well.
Finally, in George’s case, his psychiatrist agreed with me that trying bright light therapy could impact George’s symptoms. And once George added that simple technology to his regimen, he rated his mood at 90 percent.
I also noted that George had never been tested for Lyme Disease and that he had no MRI on file. His psychiatrist and internal medicine doctors ordered those tests. Luckily, the tests were normal.
Here’s the bottom line: The number of patients who are being treated inadequately, despite the availability of very effective treatments for depression and anxiety is staggering. So, when months or years pass without improvement, or without complete improvement, investing in a personal depression and anxiety consultant can make all the difference in the world.
If you or a loved one needs me as a depression and anxiety consultant (or a consultant on any psychological/psychiatric disorder), simply contact me at [email protected] or call
Keith Ablow, MD
Founder, The Ablow Center
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