Shouldn’t it be just another doctor’s visit?


When someone’s having a hacking cough and a violent sneeze that’s dispersing droplets of phlegm, you don’t hesitate to tell them they need to visit a doctor. And it’s never seen as an insult, but as a piece of advice or a suggestion.

So when someone’s chronically depressed, or has trouble managing their feelings and emotions, why do people hesitate to see a doctor? And worse, why do people hesitate to tell others they need to see a doctor? And much worse, why do people take it as an insult to be told to consult a doctor for illnesses of the mind?

Oh, and why is there still a stigma attached to visiting a psychologist?

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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6 Responses to Shouldn’t it be just another doctor’s visit?

  1. Shreevatsa says:

    I can think of a few:[*puts on asbestos suit*]

    * It’s not one of the “traditional” areas of medicine: only a few hundred years old or so. (And cultural memory sometimes lasts a long time.)
    * Most people to a doctor when they have some affliction that they feel is beyond their control; many people feel that being depressed is something you just “get over”, simply “cheer up”.
    * Concomitantly, when you suggest to someone that they go see a doctor, you are declaring that there is something “wrong” with them, when perhaps they think that they are entirely justified in being depressed as circumstances have been so unkind to them; the world is just terrible; how can anything help; just leave me alone; etc.
    * And also, because this bears repeating: much of psychology is science, but there remains the association with the line of quackery in psychiatry descending from Sigmund Freud—who never did an experiment in his life. I could go on and on about the catchphrase “unresolved Oedipus complex” and all that, but why flog a dead horse :p

    But all said, if someone is depressed, everyone: please please do something!
    [And if you are depressed, go see a doctor!]

  2. sg says:

    Isn’t this analogous to intelligence(brains) vs beauty(skin deep). People strive to be more intelligent(work hard studying etc) vs working hard to look good(pays too much attention to her/his self).

  3. wanderlust says:

    @shreevatsa:
    you’re right about a lot of things there.
    people don’t want to admit even to themselves something can be wrong with them. Hence they don’t seek help.
    And they are worried about what others think… hence the defensive air when someone suggests medical help.
    what wouldn’t i give for people to be able to realize that their mental state is hurting them and… help themselves!
    on the other hand… i have seen a couple of cases where people got worse after counselling sessions with a rather incompetent psychologist.

    @sg:
    i’d say it’s because of lack of awareness, not differences in priority.

  4. moon's muse says:

    Exactly my thoughts,and this is something that I have always wondered.Why is such pathetic stigma attached to seeing a psychiatrist.Isn’t not the imbalance of the chemicals in the brain(serotonin,dopamine etc) that lead to depression?Sure,a trigger is present most of the time,but for each individual the threshold of pain,sustenance and reaction varies.

    Why must it be shameful to see a psychiatrist?

  5. suspendedexistence says:

    Give it some time. My grandmother used to be scandalised if my father even suggested that she go to a doctor. that inspite of spending the better part of an hour explaining all her symptoms. ok, it was partly a call for attention but still going to a doctor was anathema to her. nothing that a good night’s sleep and a bit of kashayam wouldn’t cure, she would say. and now, we all rush to the doctor (or atleast the pharmacist) before our second sneeze.

    we’ll go to a psychiatrist when we r ready.

  6. wanderlust says:

    @suspendedexistence:
    you’re right 🙂

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