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Ask the Experts


I have depression. When it gets really bad I get very grumpy and distrusting of people. When I'm not depressed I have lots of friends and my inherent "personality" is fine. The problem is my grumpiness has caused some doctors to diagnose me with a personality disorder. This has prevented me from getting the proper treatment. How do I get treatment for my depression without being cursed by an inaccurate diagnoses? I tried to get TMS but the doctor, who I never had a meeting with, told his secretary to tell my mom he wouldn't do it because I have an "axis 2" disorder. I've been depressed for way too long and I'm not exactly happy about it. That doesn't mean there is something wrong with my personality that should prevent me from getting the best treatment. This is all especially concerning because if I'm in a state of crisis and end up in a hospital because I haven't eaten because I'm so depressed they will just push me aside and say there is nothing they can do because it's my personality. It's NOT. It's my mood. How do I stop this?

Answered by: Patrick McGrath

You are certainly correct that sometimes irritability and suspiciouness are the result of depression, rather than of a personality disorder. The best way to deal with the issue you present is to seek an in-person evaluation by a psychiatrist, possibly accompanied by a family member who can verify your report of your symptoms. The psychiatrist can then treat your depression, despite your irritability, which might improve or resolve with treatment.