Guidelines for Advice

It is my desire to help as many people as possible who are struggling with feeling sad, anxious, hopeless or depressed.  Because of this passion, I have written the book, “Demystifying Depression.”

The medical insights and principles I describe in the book are based on my belief that feeling depressed or anxious is like an alarm system designed to alert us to areas in our physical, psychological, or spiritual lives that need to be addressed.  If they are ignored, then long term painful consequences can result.

As a family physician, my area of expertise is in the medical aspect of how our brains function in a healthy fashion.  Therefore, if there is a chemical imbalance in the brain, medications can particularly effective and helpful.  Not everyone needs medication, but if you do, you should not feel ashamed.  I believe in the importance and effectiveness of skillful psychotherapy and counseling, with the goal in all three areas of treatment being to maximize wellness and a return to a vibrant, happy, productive, and meaningful life.

I would like to offer my suggestions in regards to obtaining appropriate assistance in receiving the kind of help and encouragement that is available.  To that end, if you are struggling with symptoms of anxiety and depression, or you scored more than 20 on the Hamilton Survey for Physical and Emotional Wellness, I offer the following recommendations:

  1. Educate yourself in regards to the causes, risks, and types of mood disorders as well as the currently available medication treatment options.  I would suggest you visit the www.demystifyingdepression.com website and view the brain animation and take the 4 self assessment screening tests that you can download for free. You may want to order the “Demystifying Depression” book or obtain it in the e-book format.
  1. Show the 4 self assessment tests to your personal physician and ask for assistance in clarifying whatever diagnosis you may have and begin treatment.  If your physician does not feel qualified, ask for a referral to another physician colleague, a psychiatrist, many of whom might not be taking new patients, or a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
  1. Not all antidepressant medications are the same, and everyone may respond differently to the individual medications.  Do Not Give Up!  It may take some time to find the medication or combination of medications that work the best for you.  Many people respond to “augmenting” their antidepressants, (which means adding complimentary medications) with Deplin, Abilify, or even a trial of Lamictal for “treatment resistant depression” which is sometimes used “off label,” (meaning using a FDA medication approved for one condition to treat a different condition.)
  1. If there are other issues in your life that need to be addressed or medication alone is not working, seek out a qualified psychologist or counselor to provide insight and behavioral related therapies.  Sometime actual “psychological testing” can be done to confirm areas in your life and thinking patterns that need to be addressed.

Dr. Gregory M. Knopf,M.D.