Posted by: Carolynn | 2016/06/14


Can my GP recommend and give me a script for an anti depressant? Or must I go to a specialist?

I am 61 and single and have the typical symptoms of low mood, feelings of uselessness, employment opportunities are difficult, so I battle with negative thoughts and anxiety about the future.

Expert's Reply


Depression expert
- 2016/06/14

Hello Carolynn,
Yes.  GP's generally have basic training in psychiatry and should be able to make the diagnosis and prescribe antidepressants.  And often this should be fine. Sometimes the first drug tried works excellently, sometimes not sufficiently, so one may need to try a different one, because our internal chemistry varies, it's not practical to predict perfectly which will prove most suitable.
In most situations, though it can take a couple of weeks for an antidepressant to show its likely benefits, so some patience is still needed.  Once you have begun recovering, it is wise to stay on the medicine for 9 months or so, even when one is feeling fine again, because if one stops too soon, there is more of a risk of a relapse.  Also, then, it is  best, as your doctor will advise, to stop the meds gradually, with decreasing doses, rather than stopping abruptly.
If any problems arise in the course of treatment, your GP would probably refer you to a specialist for further advice.
One other suggestion : see if you can find an affordable source of counselling ; there are often some sources of free counselling ; or take time to spend with family and friends to discuss the other problems that worry you, to find support and explore ways to sort them out.

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