Treating Depression With Your Primary Care Doctor

June 28, 2022

mental healthDepression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting more than 16 million American adults each year. Chances are, you or someone you know may be struggling with symptoms of depression like a loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, poor concentration, feelings of worthlessness or thoughts of self harm.

When you think of receiving mental health services for depression or anxiety, you may think this means making an appointment with a psychiatrist, psychologist or professional counselor. However, did you know that primary care providers, such as family doctors and internists, can provide important mental health services as well?

Mental Health Services Often Begin with Primary Care

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, primary care doctors are one of the top sources for mental healthcare in the United States. In fact, two-thirds of patients with depression receive some form of treatment in the primary care setting.

This means if you feel the need for mental health services, you may not have to wait for an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist. You can simply bring up any concerns about your mental or emotional health with your primary care provider. They will evaluate your symptoms, treat accordingly and refer you to additional services if deemed necessary.

How Your Primary Care Provider Can Help

Primary care doctors can help treat depression, anxiety, emotional distress and other mental health disorders through a variety of ways, including:

  • Prescribing antidepressants or other medications.

  • Engaging the help of licensed medical social workers on their team to assist with you with making a game plan for your mental health. Social workers can also help navigate you to additional resources if needed.

  • Depending on the level of progress you make after taking medication or utilizing other mental health resources, your doctor may decide to change your medication or recommend you see a psychologist or psychiatrist. Just like treating any other medical issue, your primary care doctor will monitor your symptoms and progress along the way to ensure you’re receiving the best care possible.

Family Medicine at Lane

Our network of primary care providers makes it possible for you to get the world-class care you deserve in convenient, comfortable locations closer to home and work. At Lane Family Practice, you will find dedicated providers who specialize in mental and emotional health, preventive care, sick care, management of chronic diseases and conditions, health education, medication management, follow-up care after hospitalization and more.

Learn More About Lane Family Practice