Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Depression
The following is a list of questions for discussion with your doctor about depression from Second Opinion. But it is not a comprehensive list.
- What exactly is depression? Is there a widely accepted definition?
- What are the differences between bipolar and unipolar depression? Are there other types of depression?
- Is there a difference between depression and a "mood disorder"?
- How do I know if I suffer from depression or am simply going through a "rough patch"?
- What causes depression?
- What are the most common symptoms?
- Does depression affect appetite or diet? Sleep patterns? Energy level? How I view and relate to other people?
- What are the most common treatments?
- What is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or cognitive psychotherapy (CT)?
- What about the concerns I've heard about anti-depressant medicines?
- What about the concerns I've heard about electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?
- Are there reasons a doctor might disagree with prescribing a certain treatment, say, specific anti-depressants or ECT?
If you believe you suffer from depression:
- Can I be depressed and still work and function more or less normally?
- Is there a relationship between emotional suffering and depression?
- What sort of "environmental" or circumstantial changes affect mental health?
- What's the connection, if any, between depression and physical pain?
- What's the role, if any, of genetics or biological factors in depression?
- What goes into a doctor's development of a diagnosis?
- Why do some people become depressed while others don't?
- My child seems to be always depressed. What can I as a parent do?
If you have received a diagnosis of depression:
- How did you reach your diagnosis? What specifically leads you to believe that I suffer from depression?
- Is there anything I should stop or start doing to help my situation?
- Which treatments do you prefer, and why?
- Do medications lose their effectiveness the longer a patient takes them?
- How do I deal with the stigma of my diagnosis?
- What's wrong with me that I should suffer from depression? Why can't I "cope"?
- How can I be sure you're providing me with the appropriate care and treatment?
- I've heard of the patient forming a "therapeutic alliance" with the doctor? What is that?
This article reprinted with permission from Second Opinion, a public television health program hosted by Dr. Peter Salgo and produced by WXXI (Rochester, N.Y.), West 175 and the University of Rochester Medical Center.