Why you cannot trust your GP with Depression

Depression is not an illness which responds to a standard medical approach – which is why you cannot trust your GP with depression relief.
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Depression is not an Illness

Your GP will be doing his or her best and his or her heart will no doubt be in the right place. Yet your GP is the wrong person to help you with your depression. You cannot trust your GP with your depression.

This post was originally a monster post – so I have split it into four.  These cover the four very different reasons why your GP should not be in the front line against depression.

I despair as I see what the medics do, even for the best of motives. When individuals seek help it can be so unfortunate that they they trust their GP with their depression.


Of course I am generalising. You might be fortunate to have a GP who understands that depression is not really an illness.  And so will rarely prescribe anti-depressants.

You may also be fortunate to have a GP who is aware that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is not delivering. He or she also understands why that is so. 

Finally you might have a GP who has the time and human understanding to know that depression is a reflection of a life that is not working. And so, takes a holistic approach to your healing.

Yes you might be lucky to have a GP like this and who therefore goes against all the official advice as to how depressions should be treated – but best not to bank on it.

Four reasons why your GP cannot be trusted with your Depression

  1. Depression is not an illness and therefore a medical approach is not the right way.
  2. The evidence is clear – antidepressants don’t work that well.
  3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on the NHS is not delivering and there are good reasons why that is the case.
  4. Our depression epidemic has to have a social dimension and doctors cannot be expected to help – after all, that is not their job.
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Why Depression is not an illness?

This post is not an academic treatise.  And of course there are a lot of theories around depression. So many in fact, that maybe it is more than one thing. But even if this is the case, then nonetheless one thing remains clear – that depression cannot be an illness as conventionally understood.

One reason is that there is no medical test for depression, like there is for diabetes or high blood pressure.  And the chemical imbalance theory of depression might be OK in a Sunday magazine article but beyond that, it is so drilled through with holes as to be meaningless. And remember, researchers have been trying and failing for years to come up with a decent medical explanation and a biological or chemical test.

And if depression is medical, then how can you possibly explain why we have a depression epidemic – apparently exploding out of nowhere over the past 30 years? In the absence of a deadly virus or complex genetic abnormality, surely the only possible explanation must lie with the effects of our rapidly changing society?

Depression can best be understood as a malfunction or disorder perhaps but not an illness.

And if depression is not medical and not an illness, then why should you trust your GP to sort out your depression problem?   The training and instinct of your GP is to pathologise and diagnose and then prescribe standardised treatments. And so for a typical GP, rushed off his or her feet and having no real idea what depression is about, the temptation to follow the herd and prescribe either antidepressants or CBT which he is told has hard evidence in support of it, will surely be irresistible.

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In this post, I expand on the weak evidence in support of antidepressants.

In this post, you will learn of the failures and weaknesses of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

In this post, I consider the societal dimensions of our depression epidemic.