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Depression and Your Family Doc

The family doctor is your go-to for almost everything that ails you. Most times it’s something people can point to or describe, other times it’s ambiguous, as in something’s not right.

“People will come in you know because they have high blood pressure, diabetes. But they’ll also come in occasionally complaining about fatigue, simply about losing interest in their everyday life,” says Dr. Maudeen Scott, who is a family medicine physician with Lee Memorial Health System.

As a starting point, your doctor will look into physical causes; doing a complete health checkup. Certain symptoms or language might lead them to consider mental health.

“Some people will walk in and say ‘I’m feeling sad’ and obviously that’s a red flag. People will also report a decrease in their sex drive. And sleep deprivation; either too much or too little sleep. Some people will actually admit once you start probing that they’re contemplating suicide,” says Dr. Scott.

Especially when it’s a new experience, people may not realize they are depressed or that their family doctor can help in both diagnosis and treatment, prescribing antidepressants if needed and probing underlying issues.

“A lot of times an individual has a trigger or a stressor. And we have too figure out what that is to figure out how we’re going to treat. We don’t always refer to a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist because once that stressor is gone, you can re-evaluate,” says Dr. Scott.

Some patients will benefit from medications. Others might need a referral to a specialist to deal with chronic or severe depression. Whatever the case, your family doctor is a good first step on the road to recovery.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

Visit leememorial.org

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