Depression is a psychological concern that affects a large number of people, yet many of these people are unaware of what the issue is, and still fewer people seek treatment. Though the ability of psychotherapy and other approaches to help clients understand and overcome symptoms of depression has been gaining ground in recent years, yet many clients remain unaware of the concern, or experience feelings of shame or other difficulty in connection with social stigma. Such issues can be greatly helped with a proper response from general practice physicians, suggests a recent paper published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The paper singles out a number of objectives for doctors when working with clients who may be experiencing depression. Among these objectives, the paper’s authors note that using more than standard diagnostic surveys may sometimes be necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. The authors also suggest that doctors help their clients name the feelings of distress or unhappiness they experience, as having no verbal reference for such concerns can encourage patters of symptom neglect and treatment avoidance. The paper further points out that doctors can help clients greatly by removing any feelings of blame; though it may be helpful to explain that certain genetic, personality, and lifestyle factors may be involved in higher chances of experiencing depression, doctors should, the paper emphasizes, communicate to clients that they are not at fault for their symptoms.
Through helping clients find ways to identify and discuss their symptoms, the paper proposes, doctors may greatly help in the transition from early warning signs of depression to suitable treatment with a psychotherapist, a process that is currently often delayed or stopped altogether before clients find relief. By adopting these guidelines, doctors may be able to greatly aid the progress of mental health care.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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