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?