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Adam asked...

Tags: Depression

For over 10 years I have been suffering with periods of depression, that in the last 2 years (since my father passed away) have become more frequent and more severe. Now occuring every 8/9 weeks. I am currently experiencing one of these periods of depression and the previous one was 8-9 weeks ago. In the middle of these 2 periods I had 4,5,6,7 days where I felt great, on top of the world. Work was going well, I was the life and soul of my office. Then for no real reason I started feeling low. I was put on sertraline by my GP, which started to make me feel 100 times worse. I have been back to GP requesting a referral to psychiatry but they are refusing to this until I stop drinking alcohol completely. I have tried to tell them that I drink when I am depressed and do not when I feel good. Therefore my drinking is a symptom of my mood not the other way round. These now very frequent bouts of depression are severely impacting on my quality of life and of that of my family. Work are understanding but they will only be so up to a point. My GP is refusing to refer me to further medical help. Can you offer any insight/help etc....?

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The Answer

Most GP surgeries have more than one doctor practising and so you could always request a second opinion from another doctor there. The doctor should be able to help with your symptoms and if alcohol use needs to be addressed first then you could be referred to a local community support group, for example. We don’t know what services are available where you live but your GP will be able to advise you on this.

You mentioned that your work is supportive. Is there an employee assistance programme or an occupational health worker there? If so, this may be another option available to you as they may be able to refer you to an appropriate service.

It may also be worthwhile giving AA a call. Although they are mainly for alcoholics, they may be able to offer some advice. Their number is 0800 9177650. There is also ‘Drinkline’ which is a national alcohol helpline. Their number is 0300 123 1110.

We don’t know your personal circumstances but if funds are available you could consider the option of self-funding to see a private psychiatrist if that is what you feel you need. Some private psychiatrists prefer a referral from a GP however there are some who do not need this.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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