Talking to your doctor about depression can be tough for many people. Depression is a common and serious illness that can and should be treated. Everyone occasionally feels sad, but for most people these feelings are brief and pass within a few days. People who have a depressive illness, however, experience sadness and other symptoms that interfere with their normal daily activities and functioning for an extended period of time (at least 2 weeks).
Depression can be treated, and talking with your doctor and getting a diagnosis is the first step to feeling better. If you think you may have depression, talking to your doctor or psychiatrist (a doctor who specializes in mental health conditions) can help. It is important for your doctor to understand what symptoms you are experiencing and how they are affecting your daily life. The information you provide will help them make a diagnosis.
Remember to ask for extra time when making your appointment so that you won't feel rushed during your discussion.
This doctor discussion guide will help you gather the information you will need to talk to your doctor or psychiatrist about whether you may be depressed.
To "print" your personalized doctor discussion guide:
What symptoms are you experiencing?
For each statement choose a number from 0 to 4 that describes the impact on your daily life, where 4 has the highest impact and 0 has no impact:
0 = no impact on daily life/no symptoms
1 = mild impact on daily life
2 = moderate impact on daily life
3 = severe impact on daily life
4 = debilitating impact on daily life
FACT: Depression can affect anyone at any age, although it most commonly appears between 15 and 45 years of age.
FACT: Serious depression affects about 11% of Canadians at some time in their lives, and about 4% during any given year
FACT: During depression treatment, sleep and appetite often improve before your mood improves.
FACT: Weight loss is considered significant if you gain or lose more than 5% of your body weight within a month.
FACT: Having a close relative with depression, experiencing childhood trauma or the death of a loved one, or worrying a lot about problems may increase the likelihood of experiencing an episode of depression
FACT: Up to 76% of people with depression also experience physical symptoms, such as headache, stomach pain, and back pain