If You Don't Get the Right Diagnosis for Your Depression, You Won't Get the Right Treatment


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If you don't get the right diagnosis for your depression, you won't get the right treatment. I have written many times about the importance of getting care for a serious mental illness, such as major depression, from a psychiatrist. Yet according to the Wall Street Journal over half of all antidepressant and antipsychotic prescriptions are written by general practioners or primary care physicians. This static has always confounded me. Psychiatrists are specially trained in diagnosing, assessing and treating mental illnesses. Psychiatrists are up-to-date on the latest drugs to treat specific mental illnesses, while primary care physicians are kept up-to-date on the latest drugs covering a broad range of illnesses.

In the once-a-decade report funded by the National Institutes of Health( June 2005), researchers found that one-quarter of Americans had a psychiatric disorder in the year prior to the survey, and 40% of them sought treatment, up from just 25% who sought treatment in the previous report a decade ago. What researchers said was particularly troubling was that, of those who did turn to traditional medicine, just 48% of those who went to psychiatrists got the “minimally adequate care, " while only 12% of those who went to general doctors did.

About half of people who seek help for a mental illness see a general doctor, not a specialist. The survey didn't ask people why, but mental-health experts say that people often turn first to a primary-care doctor for a variety of reasons, including a lack of qualified specialists in their vicinity, lack of insurance coverage for mental-health services or lack of confidence in someone other than their family physician.

In my opinion, if you don’t get the right diagnosis, you won’t get the right treatment. Patients suffering with a difficult mental illness must make an appointment with a qualified psychiatrist, to improve the probability of getting the correct treatment. There is a treatment just approved by the FDA for chronic or recurrent depression: vagus nerve stimulation-a ninety-minute out patient procedure.

This treatment completely changed my life. You can learn more about vagus nerve stimulation at http://wwww.VagusNerveStimulator.com

Charles Donovan was a patient in the FDA investigational trial of vagus nerve stimulation as a treatment for chronic or recurrent treatment-resistant depression. He was implanted with the vagus nerve stimulator in April of 2001. He chronicles his journey from the grips of depression thanks to vagus nerve stimulation therapy in his book:

Out of the Black Hole: The Patient's Guide to Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Depression

The book was exhibited at the American Psychiatric Association's Annual Meeting, May 21st-May 26th in Atlanta, GA. This was the largest gathering of psychiatrists in the world( 25,000 attendees). The book is available at Amazon.com and 24/7 at 1-888-VAGUS-88


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