What Can You Do When Depression Becomes Debilitating?

I’ve been depressed for about three years and it is getting worse. At times I think I’m getting better but it always comes back. I can’t explain it at all. How do I go about getting a prescription for Prozac or whatever is needed? I feel extremely stupid about asking a doctor face to face.

I’ve had no major traumas in my life. I don’t know what is wrong. It is starting to get real hard to talk to people and act like I’m OK. I just want to crawl into bed and stay there. My temper is VERY erratic. I’m scared I’m going to die from a heart attack any day now, because of all the stress over this.

The following answer was largely written by Dr. Arnold Lieber, a board-certified psychiatrist in New York, who has graciously agreed to be my consultant for this psychiatric question.

You sound like you are in trouble and may very well have a significant depression. Many people with this painful and disabling condition go untreated and it is a shame because the condition is quite treatable.

Although Prozac might be appropriate for you, there are now many treatments for depression. See your doctor and be frank about your condition — it is an illness like any other. Medical doctors are increasingly more alert and understanding about depression these days so you shouldn’t hesitate to bring up the topic of depression with them.

Many people with depression have not had any great trauma or loss that brought it on. In fact grief, for example over the death of a loved one, is very different than depression. You may want to ask your doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist for a proper evaluation. Don’t put it off.

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