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thyroid, depression, doctors, and HMOs

Posted by mist on November 28, 2001, at 15:24:27

My doctor recently ordered a panel of thyroid tests for me (at my request—usually they just do the TSH which doesn't give a complete picture of thyroid function and can be misleading). One of the tests came back abnormal. The others were supposedly in the normal range, although according to what I've read what's considered normal in evaluating thyroid conditions is debatable and can vary from individual to individual.

I have some symptoms of hypothyroid, including depression (the one that concerns me the most). Based on these symptoms, family history, and my test results, my doctor referred me to an endocrinologist. However, I have to wait almost a month to get in. I am badly depressed to the point that I can barely function on a daily basis or go out. I'm hoping if I treat the thyroid problem I'll get some relief from my longstanding depression. As I understand it, if depression is caused by hypothyroidism, taking thyroid hormone can in some cases relieve it pretty quickly. I would rather go this route before trying any further medication.

My main question is why do I have to wait so long to see the endocrinologist? Is it because I have an HMO? Is the doctor putting other patients before me because they have another type of health plan that will be more lucrative for the doctor? Is it common to have to wait this long to see a specialist under these circumstances?




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