Preparing for your appointment

You may decide to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor to talk about your concerns or you may decide to see a mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, for evaluation.

What you can do

Prepare for your appointment by making a list of:

  • Any symptoms you've had, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment
  • Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes
  • All medications, vitamins, supplements or herbal preparations that you're taking, and the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Taking a family member or friend along can help you remember something that you missed or forgot.

Basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Why can't I get over this depression on my own?
  • How do you treat this type of depression?
  • Will talk therapy (psychotherapy) help?
  • Are there medications that might help?
  • How long will I need to take medication?
  • What are some of the side effects of the medication you're recommending?
  • How often will we meet?
  • How long will treatment take?
  • What can I do to help myself?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed materials that I can have?
  • What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask you several questions, such as:

  • When did you first notice symptoms?
  • How is your daily life affected by your symptoms?
  • What other treatment have you had?
  • What have you tried on your own to feel better?
  • What things make you feel worse?
  • Have any relatives had any type of depression or another mental illness?
  • What do you hope to gain from treatment?
Dec. 19, 2015
References
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  2. Kriston L, et al. Efficacy and acceptability of acute treatments for persistent depressive disorder: A network meta-analysis. Depression and Anxiety. 2014;31:621.
  3. AskMayoExpert. Persistent depressive disorder. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  4. Hales RE, et al. Depressive disorders. In: The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry. 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2014. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.
  5. Depression. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml. Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.
  6. Depression. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression/Overview. Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.
  7. Cristancho MA, et al. Persistent depressive disorders: Dysthymia and chronic major depressive disorder. In: Encyclopedia of Clinical Psychology. 1st ed. John Wiley and Sons; 2015. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/book/10.1002/9781118625392. Accessed Oct. 13, 2015.
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  12. Natural medicines in the clinical management of depression. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/ce/CECourse.aspx?cs=MAYO&pm=5&s=nd&pc=09-30&searchid=53681138#keywordanchor. Accessed Oct. 12, 2015.
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