How Do I Choose a Healthcare Professional Who is Right for Me?

Who is the best healthcare professional to treat your depression? Read the Gold Standard for Treating Depression on

Gold Standard of Treating Depression (part 2)

As you start to take more charge of managing depression, it's important that you choose professional people who can best support your choices.

Finding the right support can be difficult. The system of managed care in the U.S. often dictates who you can see, but within this system, you do have options. The following can help you find someone who best fits your needs.

  • A healthcare professional who knows how to correctly diagnose depression.
  • A healthcare professional who understands a wide range of depression medications and knows how to make sure you are prescribed the one that can best treat your illness by using the Star*D research findings described below.
  • A healthcare professional who has the time to help with treatments other than medications alone, including one trained in psychotherapy or alternative treatments.

Who Can Prescribe Depression Medications?

Over the past years, depression treatment and management has changed from the realm of psychiatrists towards general family doctors. Depending on your state, physicians (MDs and ODs), nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, and on some Indian reservations, nurses, are authorized to prescribe psychiatric medications.

Dr. John Preston, the author or The Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Moods says, "People may feel more comfortable seeing someone they already know. However, there are pros and cons to seeing the family doctor. The negative side is that most general doctors have little schooling or experience in the treatment and management of depression. Because of this, antidepressants are often prescribed too quickly without a proper physical assessment and diagnosis." The result is that you may be given a commonly prescribed antidepressant instead of one that fits your personal needs. How a healthcare professional chooses an antidepressant to prescribe depends on a few factors:

  1. What is the normal treatment course for people with your type of symptoms
  2. Whether or not you have taken antidepressants before and, if so, how well the medication worked for you
  3. Which antidepressant will work best for you in terms of minimal side-effects.

The most important part of this choice is working with a healthcare professional who understands the type of depression you have as well as how your body may react to the antidepressant medication. This is determined by asking you questions specifically used to diagnose depression as well as helping you monitor your progress and adjusting your treatment as necessary.

When Treating Depression, Does It Help To Have A Team?

You may find that choosing a healthcare team can be much more effective than seeing just one healthcare professional for all of your needs. This team can include a doctor or nurse practitioner to perform a thorough diagnosis and prescribe medications, a therapist with an understanding of depression treatment, as well as other professionals who can help you manage your physical health including yoga teachers, massage therapists and those trained in complimentary treatment options such as naturopaths.

video: Depression Treatment Interviews w/Julie Fast


APA Reference
Fast, J. (2009, January 1). How Do I Choose a Healthcare Professional Who is Right for Me?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Last Updated: May 17, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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