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Depression therapy: Preparing for your first appointment

A person with symptoms of depression may be nervous about seeing a doctor or therapist about their low mood. It can help to take in some notes about how you feel and any questions about depression and possible treatments.

Questions for a doctor:

  • Do I need medicine for my depression?
  • What kind of medicine might you prescribe?
  • What are the side effects and risks?
  • How often do I need to take it?
  • How quickly will it work?
  • Will any of my other medications, herbs, or supplements interact with this medicine?


Questions for a therapist:

  • What kind of approach do you use? What will our goals be?
  • What will you expect of me? Will you give me specific assignments to do between sessions?
  • How often will we meet?
  • Will this therapy be short-term or long-term?
  • If paying privately, how much does each session cost?

Keep a log or diary

Keeping track of your mood changes in a diary can be helpful both for you and your doctor or therapist. Just jot down a few lines each day. In each entry, include:

  • How you're feeling that day
  • Your current symptoms
  • Any events that might have affected your mood
  • How much sleep you got the night before
  • The exact doses of any medicines you took
  • Bring in your diary to your first appointment. Show it to your doctor or therapist. If you keep a diary for a few weeks or months, you may start to see patterns to your mood changes that you never noticed before.

Don't forget about your physical symptoms

You might not think that they're relevant, but physical symptoms are often signs of depression. Make sure you tell your doctor about pain, stomach problems, sleep problems, or any other physical symptoms. In some cases, you might need medicines specifically for these symptoms.

Get help from friends or family members

Ask friends and family members about changes they've noticed in your behaviour. They may have seen symptoms that you missed. And if you're nervous about your first appointment, ask for a friend or family member to come along.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on April 26, 2016

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