I recently saw a gentleman, who has dementia of moderate severity, who was low in mood. His GP had reasonably started an antidepressant. Things were no better. I stopped the antidepressant. I reviewed him. Things were no different.
I recently saw a lady who was tearful all the time, felt hopeless and wasn't doing sociable things with friends at the local tea room and Tuesday evening bingo. Her GP had sensibly started an antidepressant, reviewed her, changed it then referred to me. I stopped the antidepressant, reviewed the lady, things were no different.
It's not easy work. In both cases I saw the patient in their home with a CPN colleague, it took over an hour doing an initial assessment then time following up and reviewing them.
The gentleman's scans showed widespread vascular damage. His limbic system was shot to pieces. If the bits of your brain that regulate your mood no longer exist/are damaged, it's unsurprising that peoples' mood is less than perfect.
The lady had low mood because she'd recently been widowed, her sister had also died this year and she had a blood disorder (which slowly is getting worse) meaning she's knackered all the time. Her mood is low because life's grim. She's not mentally ill, there's no psychiatric disease.
If there's no chemical depression, with no chemical solution, answers aren't in a tablet. This makes it harder. Patients and carers need to do something to get better, to change something if they want things to be different. Professionals can't just gift an FP10 and be done. And, invariably, things can be improved, but they can't be "cured" and less than perfect mood needs to be accepted/endured/dealt with rather than "fixed" or changed.
Management of clinical depression is, to my mind, pretty easy. But management of other low mood is grim.