How to Make Your Doctor More Effective: Medication for Depression
Dr. Michael Osterberg is the author of the bestselling book, Medication: A New Approach to Treatment.
He spoke with Dr. Ron Liebermann about why he chose to become an internal medicine physician and why his practice has evolved.
Dr. Osterbergh: How did you get into medicine?
What’s the first thing you learned about medicine?
I was in high school and we were all students and I was interested in medicine.
We had the same interest.
We wanted to be good doctors and we all wanted to get into medical school, but the reality was that I had to find a way to make a living, I had a wife and kids to support.
I decided to become a physician, and I think that was the first time that I realized that I was not going to be a good doctor if I didn’t work.
What I did is I wrote about how to treat depression, and it just took off.
It just became a passion.
I had to understand what depression is, what it was like, and how I could help.
That was really important for me.
I wanted to help people.
I think it’s one of the things that I’ve learned that a lot of people have learned from me, is that you can’t do it alone.
You have to learn a lot more.
Dr: Dr. Ostebergh was able to become well known in his field as an internal Medicine doctor.
What was it like to work with a leading psychiatrist in the field of psychiatry, when you first became a practicing physician?
What was the best part of working with Drs.
Rolf and Dr. Segal?
I had great success.
They’re so brilliant and they knew what they were doing.
They knew exactly what they wanted to do.
I had some great success working with them.
I also had a lot that I enjoyed working with.
I like being able to interact with the community.
It was great.
What’s your favorite aspect of working as an intern or in an office?
It’s such a privilege to work as an external consultant.
Being able to have that experience in a very professional setting is a great privilege.
How did that change your career?
Well, I was so proud when I first started working as a consultant.
I remember being in the office, and there were about 10 people in the room.
I was a big part of it, because it was my first job.
But I was very proud to be part of a team, and that was a huge step for me, because I’m still very much part of the team.
I’m a partner in a firm now.
That’s very exciting.
How did you decide to become part of Medtronic, one of America’s largest drugmakers?
I think a lot people would have been surprised by that.
I always think of MedTronic as an insurance company.
I guess they were surprised by how successful it was.
It’s a great company.
They had a very strong portfolio of drugs.
I started working there at the beginning of my career and I had really great experience working with the team, but I also had some real difficulties working with other people.
So it was a great opportunity to go in there and meet with the CEO, and the CEO was really very supportive.
He was very patient and helpful and open to all of my input.
So that was great to have.
The biggest change in your life?
I feel like I’ve always been a little bit in love with medicine, and being able [to work with] my patients.
I don’t feel like the world is perfect, but being able that I can help people, and having a sense of empathy for the person, was really exciting.
I love working with people.
What were some of the challenges you faced during your time as an outside consultant for Medtrol?
One of the biggest challenges was I think the number of internal patients who were actually in good mental health was a little over 1 million, and they were being treated by outside consultants.
That just wasn’t the way to treat the people who really needed it, and really needed help.
I just felt like I couldn’t help.
But that was just the reality.
How do you stay focused on that?
I think that’s why it’s so difficult.
If you are a doctor, you want to have a good relationship with your patients.
You want to do the right thing.
But sometimes it’s not so easy.
There are times when you just don’t get it right.
That is something I learned very early on, that you just have to stay in your lane.
I learned to listen, and when I felt frustrated, I’d go to Dr. Ewen.
He would take the frustration out of it and just help me understand what was happening.
He helped me understand that I needed to understand the other side of the equation,