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The whole point of going to a doctor is to find out what is wrong and to either fix the issue, or find out what the next steps are. Doctors are supposed to be a resource for people to utilize, but it is just as easy to give up on a doctor when you don’t feel that they are doing the job you went to them for.

I recently experienced a doctor telling me that pain medications are just a Band-Aid to a problem. I completely agree, I know that pain medications are not the end-all-be-all and doesn’t mean that the problem is solved. Taking that into consideration, we could argue this goes for mental health as well.

I was 11 years old when I was first diagnosed incorrectly with a form of depression. I was medicated for this and put into group therapy. This lasted roughly a year before they realized that I was misdiagnosed. I was taken out of the therapy and was diagnosed with something else, yet again.

The cycle went on for years. Psychotic depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and major depression are just a few of many labels that my depression was given, yet I ended up having none of it.

I have ‘situational’ depression, a term rarely used by doctors meaning that stressful and traumatizing events can trigger a depressive episode. I don’t have depression 365 days a year nor do I need to be constantly treated for the issue, rather through the process of therapy and managing my anxiety, I am able to find a balance that works for me.

That part is important, “what works for me.” As a society, we like to categorize people into groups. It’s easier to throw a person in a generalized group rather than taking the time to find out more about a person details. 

For some people, medication is the end-all-be-all. It is the solution that they are looking for because their medical issue ends at a chemical imbalance in the brain, allowing a doctor to diagnose and fix the issue. For others, the solution is not as easy.

For many, medication as a solution to mental health issues is just a Band-Aid. It isn’t finding the root to the problem nor does it solve the issue. Depressive medication has historically shown that misdiagnosis, improper dosage or inconsistent usage can lead to worsening symptoms and even life-threatening effects.

The one thing that doctors need to encourage more before automatically diagnosing and medicating a person is therapy or counseling. There are many different forms of therapy designed specifically for not only the many different mental illnesses, but for the individuals as well. 

Just as we can’t learn everything about a person in a day, doctors cannot understand a person’s history and genetics in one appointment, which is usually under 40 minutes, and assume it is the proper diagnosis. Therapy and counseling works through years and years of history, helping not only the therapist understand behavioral patterns and the mindset of a person, but you as well. 

Without therapy I would have never found out that I don’t have the many different depressive disorders that the doctors told me I did. After many different doctors, therapists, medications and life altering moments, I would encourage everyone to talk with a doctor about possible mental disorders, but take time talking to a counselor or therapist about it as well before jumping the gun and starting medication.

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