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Depression - When to Call a Doctor

Call 911, the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), or other emergency services right away if:

  • You or someone you know is thinking seriously of committing suicide or has recently tried to commit suicide. Serious signs include these thoughts:
    • You have decided on how to kill yourself, such as with a weapon or medicines.
    • You have set a time and place to do it.
    • You think there is no other way to solve the problem or end the pain.
  • You feel you cannot stop from hurting yourself or someone else.

Call a doctor right away if:

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  • You hear voices.
  • You have been thinking about death or suicide a lot, but you do not have a plan to commit suicide.
  • You are worried that your feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide are not going away.

Seek care soon if:

  • You have symptoms of depression, such as:
    • Feeling sad or hopeless.
    • Not enjoying anything.
    • Having trouble with sleep.
    • Feeling guilty or worthless.
    • Feeling anxious or worried.
  • You have been treated for depression for more than 3 weeks, but you are not getting better.

If you have not been diagnosed with depression but you think you may be depressed, use the Feeling Depressed topic to check your symptoms.

Who to see

Your family doctor can help you with depression. If treatment by your doctor doesn't help you, the next step is to see a mental health professional.

No matter who you see, it is important that this person has experience treating people who have depression and is trained in proven therapies. It is also important that you establish a good long-term relationship. If you don't feel comfortable with one doctor or therapist, try another one.

Health professionals who can diagnose depression and prescribe medicine include:

Treatment such as professional counseling or therapy can be provided by:

Other health professionals who also may be trained in treating depression include:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 11, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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