Why You Should Tell Your Neurologist If You Feel Depressed

Why You Should Tell Your Neurologist If You Feel Depressed
October 2019

While an estimated 17.3 million (or 7.1 percent of) adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode, we know the incidence is much higher in people with certain neurologic conditions. Poststroke depression, for example, affects more than half of people who've had a stroke. This is why, for National Depression Education & Awareness Month this October, we have included our first feature on this challenging symptom.
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In our story "Neurologic Conditions Can Lead to Depression—Here’s How to Manage It," one of our experts notes that neurologists like me may focus more on the neurologic condition itself and miss or dismiss depressive symptoms. That's why telling us how you feel is so important. If, for instance, your depression is triggered by a prescription medication, your doctor may be able to replace it with an equally effective treatment that's less likely to affect your mood. In fact, medications for high blood pressure, gastroesophageal reflux disease, pain, anxiety, and hormonal issues are among the more than 200 drugs associated with depression. Moreover, if you are taking three or more medications, your risk of depression increases. Telling your doctors will also enable them to check for conditions associated with depression, such as thyroid or other endocrinologic disease, nutritional problems or vitamin deficiencies, infections, and autoimmune disorders. Once you are diagnosed with depression and your doctor has been able to rule out sources like these, he or she will likely refer you to a psychiatrist, who may prescribe different drugs, counseling programs, and other strategies for coping.

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(Originally posted by Stuart)
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