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What should I tell about depression and my medical history?

Be as thorough and honest as possible when you give your medical history. Include any allergies or illnesses you've had or currently have. Also include all of the alcohol, recreational drugs, and prescription or over-the-counter medications, supplements (such as vitamins), and herbal remedies that you take.

Your medical history may reveal the cause of your depression. If your depression is associated with another medical illness, your healthcare provider may be able to treat the illness and relieve your depression. If your depression is associated with medications, your healthcare provider may be able to change the medication or dosage to deal with the depression. About 10% to 15% of all depressions may be caused by medications or other medical problems. If substance abuse is the cause of your depression, getting help for your substance abuse may improve your depression, often as soon as you stop using drugs or alcohol.

Could My Other Health Problems Cause Depression?

It's very common for depression to be associated with certain medical conditions. Let your doctor know about any conditions you have that could be linked with depression.

Could the Drugs I Use Cause Depression?

Yes. Using alcohol, recreational drugs, and even prescription medications can cause depression.

  • Alcohol and recreational drugs. Long-term or heavy use of alcohol is known to cause severe depression. Stopping alcohol use often clears up depression within a few weeks. Stopping heavy alcohol use should only be done under a doctor's care. Withdrawal from recreational drugs, such as cocaine, or stimulants, such as amphetamines, may also trigger depression.
  • Prescription medications. Depression has also been associated with long-term use of certain antibiotics, including tetracycline and sulfonamides. Some prescription medications can change brain chemistry and cause depression. If you're taking medication and feeling depressed, talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about whether the medicine may be causing the problem. Then your healthcare provider may make changes in your medication to help decrease the side effects. Never stop taking any medicine on your own without talking with your doctor because it could be dangerous.

Find out which medications could be contributing to your depression.