Welcome

Welcome to our site. This is currently a work in progress and will be updated in due course. You can’t rush a good thing!

DOCTORS HEALTH :

This information covers :
The Stigma of having Anxiety or Depression, associated issues and places to get Help
Links to ‘What is Depression’ article…see “Describing Depression” on the banner line under “The Main Points” in Depression.Com.Au

18/4/18 WORK IN PROGRESS LINKS to : Links to ‘Anxiety’ article
Links to ‘Perfectionism’ article
Links to ‘Assertiveness’ article
Links to ‘Stopping Arguments’ article
Links to ‘Improving your Relationship’ article


YES THERE IS A STIGMA TO HAVING ANXIETY OR DEPRESSION

Two heads are better than one!, especially if one of those is professionally trained in mental health treatment, so do strongly consider getting professional help if you are stressed, and especially if you have thoughts of wishing you were not alive. For those unable or unwilling or embarrassed (perfectly normal given the stigma attached to mental illness in our society) or afraid to seek treatment for mental health issues, I am writing a guide to diagnosis and treatment of anxiety/depression.  

IMPORTANT: THIS SITE IS GIVING INFORMATION ONLY AND IS NOT GIVING YOU INDIVIDUAL ADVICE ON DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED HERE ARE THE INDIVIDUAL PROFESSIONAL OPINIONS OF ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DAVID HORGAN, AND DO NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF ANY HOSPITAL OR UNIVERSITY WITH WHOM HE IS ASSOCIATED.

PREVALENCE:
4% of the general population has depression at any point in time, a higher percentage has anxiety and the rates are even higher in professionals and students.   Depression and anxiety are stress-induced!  

  VULNERABILITY FACTORS:
Why does stress make some people sick, and not others?
Being a perfectionist!  At the same time, this is almost a prerequisite to doing well enough academically to meet the very demanding requirements to gain entry to many highly competitive jobs.  Check out the paper on this website “The Perils of Perfectionism” which describe perfectionism as a risk for becoming an addiction, burning up huge amounts of time and energy, therefore leading to huge amounts of stress.  Solutions are suggested, but are not easy!

  Lack of assertiveness makes it difficult to get a fair deal in life. If you are in a supervisory or staff management role, you need to be firmly but fairly assertive. Check out the paper here on how to be more assertive.   Sometimes, local adult education classes run after hours group classes on learning assertiveness. Assertiveness without being aggressive is a skill everyone needs to learn, the sooner the better.

Being an anxious person, especially intensified by current stresses, fuels depression.   Some people do not recognise anxiety as such, but do describe being wound up or worrying etc.   Check out the paper here on ‘Dealing with Anxiety’.

 IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG WITH ME? 
(CAN YOU CONCENTRATE NORMALLY AND REMEMBER?)

While I have a whole string of letters after my name, and while I am aware there is no academic consensus on the issue, some 40 years working as a psychiatrist have led me to conclude that one of the pivotal symptoms of anxiety or depression is impaired concentration ability.   If you cannot read and absorb material as you used to do, there is something psychologically wrong!   This is one of the first symptoms to appear under stress, and one of the last symptoms to resolve.   High IQ people may retain their ability to concentrate in the form of absorbing information they read, but they will notice their ability to retain information and/or their memory in general are not as razor sharp as they used to be.  Concentration and memory, in my opinion, are automatic functions of intact and well functioning brain biochemistry.

LET US ASK THE UMPIRE.
  Standard rating scales can be often far too blunt and insensitive, especially short rating scales.  If you would like a diagnostic profile, please go to MoodGYM run by the Australian National University, which will give you a computerised diagnosis telling you that you are well or that you are not well!   If you disagree, you can argue with the computer program drawn up by highly experienced specialists over many years!   The link is:    moodgym.com.au

  INTERVENTION.

  This depends on the severity of your symptoms.   Let us go through them step-by-step.

  Depression and anxiety are analogous to diabetes.   Mild symptoms are likely to respond to lifestyle and mental outlook/philosophy changes.  Moderately severe symptoms are likely to require medication assistance supplemented by lifestyle and personal circumstance changes.   Severe symptoms are paralysing and destructive and almost inevitably require medication to reverse the chemical damage brought about by stress that is distorting your outlook, and ideally require assistance from a specialist.  Many specialists are totally accessible to doctors and able to offer discreet help.   Illness that has not responded to conventional therapy can very often be helped by more advanced techniques, such as the addition of low dose atypical antipsychotics, the use of two antidepressants simultaneously where one antidepressant has produced only partial benefit, and/or other specialised techniques which can revolutionise lives, such as the life of the psychiatrist at the beginning of this paper.

  Lessening stress:   Can you and/or your partner or friends or family, identify stressful scenarios in your life, and take practical steps to change these?   There are innumerable websites which will give you advice on various conditions which may be relevant to you.

  Friction with those close to you may be a symptom of being anxious and depressed (irritability is almost inevitable in such scenarios) and may simply worsen the problem you have.   Please check out the paper dealing with arguments.

  The huge demands on your time may (and indeed often do) result in your partner feeling there is no space in your life for the relationship with your partner.   Please check out the paper here “Improving Your Relationship”.  A warm and supportive relationship is a dramatic antidote to the stresses of life, but it requires equal input from both partners, not just the doctor’s partner meekly accepting the at times irrational time demands on a doctor. 


               BURNOUT SYNDROME.

  All doctors are human, and apart from needing to eat and sleep, doctors actually do require time to be emotionally replenished.   This requires setting time aside to be with people you like and/or doing things you like outside of patient commitments.   Otherwise, you run a very high risk of developing the Burnout Syndrome, fundamentally being a state of adult emotional deprivation, leading to multiple physical symptoms, anxiety, depression, thoughts of life being pointless, etc., none of which will respond to medication.  These symptoms are nature’s way of telling you that people need time to unwind! 

  ANONYMOUS ON-LINE STRUCTURED HELP (CBT).

  MoodGYM
moodgym.com.au run by the Australian National University gives you free on-line modules to help with anxiety and depression.  You can use a gmail or hotmail email address specially set up by you for this purpose if you wish to retain anonymity.  

  This Way Up Clinic:
     thiswayup.org.au This unusual sounding name is the very active website run by the department of psychiatry at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, more specifically by Prof. Gavin Andrews who runs the research unit for anxiety disorders.    The website offers specifically tailored modules for multiple conditions such as depression, anxiety, mixed anxiety/depression, OCD, chronic pain, insomnia etc.   There is also a module in Chinese [Mandarin?] for depression treatment.  Their published results show very high rates of successful treatment.  

  To use the service, a user must be referred by a registered doctor.   Again, if you wish anonymous treatment, you can apply in the normal way as a doctor to be a referring doctor on the site.   Once you are approved, you can then refer yourself, again using an email address you have prepared for the purpose if you wish to remain anonymous.   The system is well run with online tasks and homework to help you with your symptoms.   There is a $59 charge for the complete module.   It is feasible that some doctors would use their own credit cards to pay for the online treatment for patients they refer who can only pay cash.  

  Mindspot:

A free online and telephone service, willing to take anonymous calls/clients if they have some contact number for emergencies in theory.
Run by Macquarie University
mindspot.org.au
Tel 1800 61 44 34.


SOME OTHER WEBSITES for further INFORMATION and HELP:

Suicideprevention.Com.Au, ASPF.Com.Au, Depression.Com.Au, YouthSuicide.Com.Au, BeyondBlue.Com.Au, to name a few. >

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