What should I tell my doctor about my symptoms of depression?

How to Prepare for Your Doctor's Visit

To make sure you get the most out of your time, be prepared to answer questions that include:

  • What are your risk factors?
  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • How often do your symptoms occur?
  • Are they constant or do they come and go?
  • What do your symptoms feel like?
  • Have you had any of these symptoms before? When?
  • What recent changes or stresses have you had in your life?

You can help your healthcare provider make an accurate diagnosis by doing the following:

  • Being completely honest. Let your healthcare provider know everything that may impact your health, including how you use recreational drugs, such as alcohol.
  • Providing as much information as possible about your health. If your symptoms make it difficult for you to talk or remember, take along a family member or close friend who knows how you've been feeling.

One thing you can do before you see a doctor is to take time to consider whether you are at risk for depression. Anyone can become depressed, but certain factors make it more likely that you'll develop major depression. Mental health experts call these risk factors.

The more specific you are about your symptoms, the better. Make a checklist of your symptoms to take with you to your next doctor's appointment. You can also use this checklist to monitor your progress as you get treatment and feel better.