Medical Q&As

Chronic depression - change psychiatrist?

I have been suffering from depression for about 16 years. After trying different medications and therapy my first psychiatrist said there was nothing more he could do for me. I changed to another psychiatrist and after initially saying there were lots of things he could try after one change to another antidepressant he now says there is nothing more he can do. I am now attending a cognitive therapist for the second time, which may help. Do you think it is worth changing to another psychiatrist and if so how do I decide whom to go to?

Clearly you have suffered from depression for a very long time. I think that you are currently pursuing an appropriate option because recent evidence suggests that cognitive therapy can be very helpful in reducing the rate of relapse from depression. It is reasonable to defer choosing a new psychiatrist while you are currently undergoing therapy. Maybe you won’t need to see another psychiatrist when you have completed your course of therapy. Perhaps you will be able to continue into the future without needing the help of a consultant psychiatrist. However, if you do eventually decide to change psychiatrist you could discuss the issue of choice with your GP who would be aware of the choice of psychiatrists that is available in your area. For the moment it is reasonable to make no further changes and continue with the cognitive therapy.