Depression: Depression & Related Conditions

Ask Dr. Schwartz
Ask Dr. Schwartz
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Helping and Watching a Friend's Recurrent Depression?

I have a friend who I have watched repeatedly cycle through depression. He tends to stay severely depressed for weeks, sometimes longer.

Over the last year, the episodes have gotten worse and worse. There is almost always a trigger. Typically it stems from a rejection, whether career or relationship wise. It is also triggered by anxiety attacks. He is prone to anxiety attacks (2-3 times a year) which tend to occur in the summer but usually don't appear to have a trigger.

He is taking medication for the anxiety attacks but not the depression. His first anxiety attack was when he was laying down and he said it felt like a ton of bricks on his chest. Since then they tend to come out of the blue during the day in a wave of queasiness during the day. The attacks are always followed by almost a week of depression and antisocial behavior.

He also suffers from frequent stomach issues. His doctors have tested him for brain seizures in regards to the anxiety attacks but were inconclusive. They gave him medication to see if that would help.

How would he go about finding a good psychiatrist and does this sound like straight up recurrent depression? And how does a friend best handle/help a friend when they get like this? Thanks, K.

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