19 thoughts on “3 Symptoms Of Depression That Require A Doctor, Not A Psychologist

  • September 7, 2012 at 8:29 am

    These are all excellent points that indicate when someone suffering from depression needs to consult a physician. The author incorrectly differentiates a “psychologist” from a “doctor.” To be licensed as a psychologist a person needs a doctoral degree, so psychologists are doctors. Physicians hold a doctoral degree in medicine.

    • September 7, 2012 at 9:52 am

      Hi Gary,

      Thanks for reading my post. While I understand that in America a psychologist needs to hold a doctorate degree. In Australia and in Britain this is not the case. In Australia, a psychologist can be someone who is a provisional psychologist and only holds an honours degree in psychology (4 years). A clinical psychologist is someone who has an honours degree + a 2 year masters degree in psychology. In Australia, a masters in clinical psychology is far more common than a PhD.

      I am Australian and am posting to an American blog. However, that blog is read by people all over the world. So neither of us can consider our knowledge of what it takes to be a licensed psychologist as ‘the norm’. 🙂

      • September 7, 2012 at 10:11 am


        Good point that the credentials vary in different parts of the world. In the U.S. and perhaps in other places psychologists often struggle to legally maintain their defined scope of practice. This can include hospital privileges, whether or not their clinical work in some institutions must be supervised by a physician, etc., despite doctoral-level training. I am not suggesting that my definition is a the only acceptable norm but that your use of terminology differentiating a “psychologist” from a “doctor” may incorrectly describe the educational credentialing of many psychologists compared to a more universal differentiator like “physician” or “medical doctor.”

  • September 13, 2012 at 5:15 am

    For depressed patients, antidepressants provide only partial relief to 50% and no relief for 40%. Only 30% respond to an antidepressant initially and this may take up to 6 weeks to achieve. The most common side effects of antidepressants are weight gain and decreased libido. A new treatment, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) uses an imperceptibly small amount of electricity from a stimulator powered by a 9 volt battery administered by sponge electrodes over targeted areas of the brain. tDCS is similar to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) in effect, but much safer. In a study published earlier this year, tDCS reduced depression scores 50% for patients unresponsive to antidepressants and this was maintained for at least 3 months. Cognitive function improves with the initial 20-minute tDCS treatment and depression lessens within a week. tDCS is non-invasive, easy to do, without side effects and can be done by the patient at home. The life-time cost of tDCS is less than the cost of an antidepressant for a year and less than a quarter of the cost of a single TMS protocol. Using a different electrode montage, tDCS provides relief for chronic pain including migraine, fibromyalgia and complex regional pain. tDCS is effective, safe, easy to do, with no side effects and cost-effective.

  • September 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I am a PhD student so I understand the academic doctor distinction, however, I think in common parlance when we say doctor we mean someone with a medical degree – ie a psychiatrist is a doctor, a psychologist is not. I don’t see this as involving any valuing, there are plenty of highly educated non-medical professions.

  • October 3, 2012 at 3:26 am

    Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in North America with over 20 million people suffering from symptoms of depression.

  • April 29, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Why should the oversleeping section be disregarded by teenagers? I recognise that we have different sleep schedules/requirements than others, but I think that my sleeping for 10-11 hours and still feeling bone tired occurring at the same time my depression gets bad should be noted. Great article.

  • July 1, 2015 at 11:37 pm

    Well I have all 3 of those major symptoms and have had for over 3 months now but every time I get on anti depressants I feel like a bigger piece of shut than before, I tried joining a sport team but then got called a faggot by people around me because the only one I could do was netball, I have no car, can’t get a job because of the no car and can’t get a loan. Have $0 and no idea what to do.(also can’t get government assistance because of certain circumstances) also I cannot afford to buy the medication. What can I do?

    • October 9, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      I’m right there with you. I was the person that was obnoxiously optimistic; people admired my ability to genuinely smile during times of trial. Now, I cry for absolutely no reason. Friends were jealous of how immaculate my home ALWAYS was. Now, I have zero motivation to keep a visually appealing home; when I move, the decor sits on the floor around the spot I “intend” to make use of it, until it’s repacked for the next move. Last year, it took me the entire month of December to get the outdoor decor put up; I finished placing decor on Christmas Eve, but still had to connect the cords for all of the lighted items, but I never did. Friends and family always made comments about polished I kept myself and my children; joking that all I just do all day is clean and primp,but they knew that wasn’t even close to true, because I was the person who also managed to do big things and host big get togethers. My husband was in the Army and I was the wife who replaced the living room furniture with folding cafeteria tables and chairs and cooked enough Thanksgiving dinner to feed 50, mostly young soldiers who couldn’t go home for whatever reason. I baked treats for the kids daily, volunteered at the book fairs, never missed a kids sporting event/practiced and always had a local family-friendly event scouted out for the weekend. And my car was spotless, inside and out, to boot! Now, there isn’t even enough time in the day to do anything beyond the minimum required routine functions. My kids miss school because 8am is like 3am to me and I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t faking laughter. I don’t get excited about anything, Im unamused by things I once found entertaining, I have no hobbies, because I cant even imagine feeling enjoyment, to the point where the plans are dead before they’re even made. I get MAD when someone invotes me out somewhere and I have to say “no” more than once. I raged at a friend who I agreed to go out with (last outing in recent history), for actually holding me to the commitment when the day came. I feel like nobody cares how I feel as long as they get what they want. I went from going everywhere and happily doing anything by myself to going to extremes to avoid going out into public and if I do go out, I’m uncomfortable and self conscious the entire time. When I say I don’t recognize myself from the me I was just 3 years ago, it’s no exaggeration. I feel like a complete let-down to every one around me and an especially disgusting failure to my children. Nothing ever changes or improves, but I always sit here and say “tomorrow” even though I know I’m full of it and when tomorrow comes, I do it all over again. I hate going to sleep, because waking up after hours of sleep, takes hours to do, until the fog and cobwebs give way and I start moving around. So I stay awake, because the mental dullness from 4 sleepless nights and days is more bearable than recovering from one full night of sleep. Still, all I know is that I don’t know. I don’t know what my problem is and I don’t know what else to do to fix myself, that I haven’t already tried. I’m not suicidal or anything (I could NEVER), but I am okay with people forgetting that I exist and just leaving me alone. I hope it helps just a little, even for a second, to know that you’re not alone…and I’m sorry I have no solutions to offer. If I did, I would be fiercly dedicated to keeping anyone else from feeling the way I do.

      • December 6, 2018 at 9:46 pm

        Everything you wrote sounds like my life now did it ever get any better for you?

  • March 7, 2016 at 8:15 am

    For the past month maybe longer I have had a extreme loss of appetite, I have been oversleeping and I still feel tired, I cry daily I’m 100 days sober from alcohol and I think I’m experiencing depression nothing brings me pleasure not even sex I get nauseous when I try to eat I feel numb I get headaches shortness of breath and chest pains . I feel like I’m falling apart and finding it hard to function on a daily basis because I can’t concentrate and small things irritate me make me mad or make me cry instantly.

    • August 29, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Sorry this is so late but I just saw it. Part of what you are experiencing is the withdrawal from alcohol. Eventually that will stop. I don’t know your age but I am 58 and have struggled with depression all my life. I always bounced back until I turned 40. Then, I lost interest in everything and stopped bathing, brushing teeth, lay in bed and cry all day. I would also want a hormone test to see if an imbalance could be adding to the depression. Many phases in life. This too shall pass. Best of luck to you.

  • October 10, 2016 at 12:21 am

    people call me a slob and take the piss out of me because i hardly have a shower and im always in bed. i have depression anxiety borderline personality disorder im blind in one eye i have joint hypermobility syndrome and i have chronic joint pain. maybe they’re right but i dont care i dont go anywhere anyway and i never have any energy to do anything. i have no confidence or motivation i have trouble saying no to people. i have low self esteem to bo honest i actually hate myself.so whats the point.

    • October 24, 2016 at 12:22 am

      I know how you feel but sometimes things have a way of turning around. I am blind in one eye also and I try to fake it but some days you can see the white and people ask me about it and I am embarrassed. I could try going to the eye Dr and getting a color contact lens to make it look normal even though it wouldn’t help my vision, it would help my self esteem. But if I bathe and get dressed and brush my teeth it is a huge deal. Just take it slow and allow yourself to heal in your own way at your own pace. If you want to stay in bed, do it. Just don’t get stuck like that. Eventually you should try to do one thing a day until you are at least going through the motions of a normal life. Once you begin to have structure, it will help with some of your other issues as well. You will know when you are ready.

  • February 25, 2017 at 4:27 am

    I think you seriously need to rework your article.

    (Teenagers may disregard this section)”

    This is complete and utter invalidation and could lead a teenager who has many of these symptoms feel that
    it’s all in their head because they are young.

  • March 3, 2017 at 1:47 am

    I’ve been like this for a year. 6 months the issue of not showering everyday. I can go 7 days without showering. I can sleep all day and not eat.

  • March 27, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Excellent article that I hope will push some folks to see a physician. If the first one doesn’t listen or is uninformed about mental health issues, try to see another.
    My only nitpick is to just say that showering DAILY really isn’t necessary, especially if you aren’t doing too much. But of course, cleaning up is, which is what you were saying.
    But do not feel guilty if you do not manage the entire (feels like that when you have no energy) task of showering each day. Go for four times a week which is plenty and conserves hot water.

  • November 3, 2018 at 12:24 am

    I noticed being depressed when my father died ten years ago. My clean home became cluttered. I have trouble sleeping. Then my big brother, who was also my lifelong best friend, died three years ago in a house fire. I’ve been in a black cloud ever since. My mother fell and broke her pelvis one month after my brother died. She was in a nursing home for rehab for a month. I moved in with her the day she went home. I lived with her for the past three years taking care of her as her health was declining and her macular degeneration took her eyesight. She passed away back in April. She had pneumonia and caught some kind if bacteria in her lungs while being hospitalized for 12 weeks. The bacteria was immune to most antibiotics and she didn’t make it. I am so depressed now that I don’t want to get out of bed. I moved back home with my husband over two weeks ago. I haven’t unpacked what I brought home and haven’t showered since before the move back home. I take several meds for depression and insomnia and social anxiety and fibromyalgia. I have to say that these bottles full of meds are starting to look like a way out of all this pain and blackness. But I would never do that to my family and friends. If not for God, I would have checked out many yearsago. I have also repressed being gay my whole life. But I’m alive, have a roof over my head and have two loving siblings left and a few very close friends. I can see, hear, walk and talk and breathe on my own, so I’d say that I’m a blessed woman. Thanks for listening.

    • November 4, 2018 at 8:49 pm

      Hi Jennifer,

      It’s good you have spiritual support and that your husband is standing by you. Although that is not my specialty there are therapists who specialize in helping people with multiple traumas like yours. They pace it so the work gradually relieves you of some of the weight of those losses. Often the most relief is achieved with both meds and skilled psychotherapy.


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