Depression Medication Group at Soundview Psychiatric

I am working on starting a depression medication group and I would like to see if there is any interest in such a group.

Medication groups have been around for a long time.  The idea of a medication group is to take patients with similar conditions on similar medications and meet as a group once a month.  Similar to an individual medication management appointment, each patient in the group is assessed for medication response and side effects.  Based on this assessment, changes are made.  After individual medication issues are considered there is a time set aside for a group discussion.  This can include a presentation by me, an impromptu discussion about any issues that came up during the medication assessment portion of the group, or a discussion between group members about a theme.

There are some obvious drawbacks of working in a group setting.  It can be embarrassing or uncomfortable disclosing information about ones self  in front of others.  Confidentiality is limited in a group setting.  Some patients want or need a high degree of individual attention.  Groups like this are not for everyone.

There are, however, many advantages to a medication group.  Most obviously, the cost is much lower.  If there are 6 people in a group, you can expect a proportional reduction in the fee.  Patients suffering from depression deal with many of the same issues (sense of isolation, lack of opportunity for positive reinforcement, limited social support, etc.).  These issues can be easier to talk about with people who have had similar experiences.  Group members have credibility.

I facilitated a medication group for patients with dementia and their family members when I worked in the Memory Disorders Clinic at the University of Washington.  In my experience, members of the group found the sessions supportive, encouraging, and cost effective.

The target audience for this group would be people currently on an antidepressant but not getting full relief from their depression symptoms.  If you would consider participating in this kind of group, go to the newsletter section of this website and enter your information.  In the name field enter your name and the words “Med Group”.  This will put you on the contact list.  If there are enough people who are interested in this group, then I will contact you and let you know more details about how we can get started.

Thanks for you interest,

Ernest Madhavan, MD

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