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What do I need to do if I have depression?

How You Can Make a Difference

  • Work with your healthcare provider. Be sure you are an active member of your healthcare team.
  • Follow your treatment plan. Keep track of your symptoms and your medications. Discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare provider when you notice a problem.
  • Manage stress. Handling stress is an important tool for controlling your symptoms.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Exercise regularly. Eat a healthy diet. Get enough rest.
  • Find the support you need. You do not have to deal with depression alone. Support will make it easier for you to control your depression.

Can you do anything to help your depression? Absolutely! While your doctor, mental health therapist, and other providers are important members of your healthcare team, you are the most important member of that team. You are the only one who can:

  • seek out the best treatment with the right healthcare providers
  • talk honestly and thoroughly about your symptoms, your lifestyle, and the concerns you have about treatment
  • ask the questions you need to ask to stay informed
  • follow your treatment plan and let your healthcare providers know how treatment is working
  • adopt a healthy lifestyle that contributes to healing
  • use stress-management strategies to help keep yourself from becoming depressed

Here are other guidelines to follow to make sure you get the most benefit while working with your team.

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions.
  • Take part in the decisions about your treatment. It will help you feel more in control.
  • Keep your appointments and be on time for them so that you get the benefits of a full-length appointment.
  • Discuss with your doctor your concerns about any aspect of your treatment plan.
  • Tell your doctor if you're not taking your medicine as directed. Your doctor may be able to make adjustments that will help.
  • Be honest and open. Don't try to hide your thoughts or feelings from your therapist or other healthcare providers.
  • Do your homework. Your therapist may give you "homework assignments." You may need to practice new ways of thinking. Or your therapist may assign things to do outside of therapy. The only way to develop the skills you need is to practice.
  • Let your doctor know how the treatment is working.