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Talking to Your Doctor About Depression

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Talking to Your Doctor About Depression

You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with depression. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Tips for Getting Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to give more details.
  • Write down your questions so do you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing.
  • Ask for help if you need it. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Depression

  • What could be causing my problems?
  • What should I do if I no longer feel happy? What if I cannot function well in relationships, work, or home life?
  • Do I need a physical exam or tests to look for other causes?
  • Have you diagnosed and treated people with depression?
  • If not, can you refer me to someone who can?

About Treatment Options

  • How is depression treated?
  • What medicines might help me? How long will they take to work?
  • What side effects should I watch for while on medicine? What should I do if I develop them?
  • Can I stop taking medicines if they make me feel better?
  • Can you provide me with names of counselors or therapists who treat depression?

Interview potential counselors. Find one with whom you feel comfortable talking about your problems. Ask questions such as:

  • What training and experience do you have in treating depression?
  • How do you treat it?
  • How long will I need to be treated?
  • How long are the sessions and how often will I have them?
  • What are your fees?
  • Which health insurances do you accept?
  • Do you offer a payment plan?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What lifestyle changes can help me manage depression?
  • What resources are available to help me with:
    • Eating a healthful diet
    • Exercising regularly
    • Getting enough sleep
    • Finding social support
    • Managing stress

About Your Outlook

  • What is my chance of getting better from depression—with and without treatment?
  • What is the chance of my depression coming back? Is there anything I can do to prevent it?


  • Depressive disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/mood-disorders/depressive-disorders.
  • Depression. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml.
  • Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.
  • Major depressive disorder (MDD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/major-depressive-disorder-mdd.


  • Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.