Next Avenue Logo

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Depression

By Second Opinion

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.

Second Opinion
By Second Opinion
Next Avenue LogoMeeting the needs and unleashing the potential of older Americans through media
©2024 Next AvenuePrivacy PolicyTerms of Use
A nonprofit journalism website produced by:
TPT Logo