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I Think I'm Not Depressed

May 4, 2006

Greetings Dr. Horwath! My partner of 20 years died from lung cancer in 2003. I was very depressed and purposely contracted HIV within six months. It's over two years later and I don't feel depressed now and of course realize HIV is not the quickest way to commit suicide. I am 45 years old and my family wants me on anti-depressants because I don't want to treat the HIV and I don't mind dying. Yes I miss my partner, and yes life is not so wonderful without him, but I don't think that constitutes depression. What is your opinion?

Response from Dr. Horwath

I really cannot evaluate you for depression over the internet. However, I can tell you what symptoms to look for. The most common symptoms are persistent depressed or irritable mood, loss of interest (in usual interests), inability to enjoy usual activities, low energy, excessive guilt feelings, poor concentration, feeling hopeless, insomnia (or sleeping to much), very slow in activities (or agitated and fidgety), and thoughts that you would be better off dead.

You seem to feel that you'd be better off dead, based on what you wrote. You should see a psychiatrist or psychologist for an evaluation. You should also know that antidepressants are not the only treatment for depression. Depending on what the evaluation shows, there are some types of psychotherapy are quite effective for depression.

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