What do I need to tell my doctor when discussing my feelings of depression?

What do I need to tell my doctor when discussing my feelings of depression?

What do I need to tell my doctor when discussing my feelings of depression? ichhori.com

Depression is a relatively prevalent ailment, and doctors are probably already aware of it so there isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. Several medical conditions, including vitamin and mineral deficiencies, hormonal shifts, and thyroid conditions, can mimic depression symptoms. It is also possible that a depressed mood is caused by pharmaceutical side effects or other factors. Doctors can rule out any other possible reasons of depression symptoms by giving a comprehensive examination. 

It is difficult to bring up the subject of mental illness. There is a stigma attached to mental health and mental illness. It has the potential to prevent people from receiving the support and assistance they require. Mental illness is a widespread issue. In fact, one out of every five people will suffer from a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. For some people, the prospect of discussing their mental health with their doctor is terrifying. However, it is critical to get help for mental illness. It is extremely rare for it to go away on its own. It can get worse, lead to other health concerns, or endure a long period if left untreated. Making the decision to speak with a doctor about mental health is the first step towards feeling better.

How to bring up depression

Tell the doctor that you have not felt like yourself lately and that you think you might be depressed. This will allow the doctor to provide you with the assistance you require. 

Diagnostic Tests

Because there is no definitive lab test currently to identify depression, the doctor will utilise a combination of methods. To rule out disorders that could be causing the symptoms, the doctor will perform a physical examination and multiple blood tests. The following are possible tests:

  • A complete blood count (CBC)
  • Thyroid function check
  • Creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN)
  • Liver function check
  • Fasting blood glucose
  • Cholesterol
  • Calcium and magnesium level

The doctor will then ask some questions to see if there are any potential risk factors for depression. The following are some of the known risk factors for depression:

  • Being female
  • Being overworked
  • Having to deal with adversity as a child
  • Possessing certain personality characteristics
  • Having a history of depression in one’s family
  • Lacking in friendships and personal relationships
  • Giving birth recently
  • Having a personal history of depression
  • Being afflicted with a terrible condition
  • Taking specific prescribed drugs
  • Use of drugs or alcohol

The doctor may also enquire about the symptoms experienced. The following symptoms may be enquired:

  • Feelings of sadness or depression
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Not enjoying activities as much as you used to
  • Insomnia or sleeping for longer periods of time than usual
  • Feeling agitated
  • Feeling exhausted and hopeless
  • Feeling insignificant
  • Unable to help yourself
  • Having a guilty conscience
  • Having trouble concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
  • Considering death or suicide on a regular basis

All of the information provided will be supplemented by the doctor’s observations of an individual’s behaviour. The following symptoms common in people with depression are:

  • Being preoccupied
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Not being able to recall information or appearing to have difficulty concentrating
  • Habits like pacing, wringing hands, or pulling hair out
  • Having an agitated appearance
  • Slowly speaking with long pauses
  • Moving slowly 
  • Sighing
  • Being self-depreciating
  • Crying or having a sad appearance

On the path to improved mental health

What to do before, during and after an appointment with a doctor regarding your mental health.

1. Before appointment

  • Set reasonable goals: It takes time to diagnose and treat mental illness. If you expect your symptoms to disappear overnight, you will most certainly be disappointed. Set a few realistic goals instead. These could involve telling the doctor about your symptoms, getting a diagnosis, and setting a treatment plan.
  • Write down important information: Before your session, take some time to write down what you would like to discuss with the doctor. This will ensure that you don’t forget anything important while in the doctor’s office.

  • Symptoms – mental, physical, emotional, behavioural changes
  • Mood
  • Traumatic events in the past
  • Medical information
  • Questions

2. During the appointment

  • State your concerns clearly: It is critical to inform the doctor about all of your symptoms. But, before you do that, tell him or her what you believe is wrong. Make specific remarks if you think you are depressed or if you think you have anxiety. This will assist them in determining their course of action.
  • Be as open and honest as possible: Doctors cannot help you unless they have a complete picture of what is going on. It can be difficult to express yourself, especially with someone you don’t know well. However, your doctor is equipped to deal with delicate situations. They will be helpful and professional, and you won’t be telling them anything they don’t already know.
  • Refer to your notes: Once you’re in the doctor’s office, it’s common to forget half of what you were going to say. That is why it is critical to jot down notes ahead of time. You won’t have to worry about forgetting key details if you use the notes you made earlier.
  • Understand the diagnosis process: There is no easy blood test or scan that can tell if you have depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or another mental illness. Its not always easy for a doctor to pinpoint the exact disorder you’re suffering from. Furthermore, your symptoms could be caused by a combination of illnesses. Sometimes depressive disorders are frequently associated with medical illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer. The doctor might ask you questions that don’t seem to have anything to do with mental health. All of this is done to ensure that the diagnosis is correct. 
  • Bring someone with you: Invite a friend or family member to accompany you to your appointment if you require support. They can assist you in comprehending and remembering what the doctor says. They may also be able to inform the doctor of any changes they’ve observed in you.

3. After the appointment

  • Follow through with treatment: You and your doctor will come up with a treatment plan once you’ve expressed your worries and the doctor has delivered a diagnosis. Talk therapy, medication, lifestyle changes or a referral to a specialist are possible options. It is your responsibility to complete the treatment. Make appointments with a therapist or a specialist. Fill your prescription and follow the directions. Even if you don’t feel like it, give the lifestyle modifications a shot.
  • Follow up with your doctor: In a few weeks, your doctor will want to see you again to see if the treatment is working. Whether you are feeling better or not, it is critical that you schedule a follow-up visit and attend the appointment. If you aren’t feeling better, talk to your doctor about other options for treatment. This may entail modifying your medication, adding another medication, or advising you on other options.
  • Be patient: Throughout the process, you must be patient with yourself and with your doctor. You may need to try a variety of medications or a combination of drugs. You may require talk therapy as well as a variety of self-care techniques. Finding the perfect treatment plan for you can take some time. Simply put, don’t give up. As long as you keep looking for a solution, you will feel better. 

Mental health issues can have a wide range of consequences. It can make everything seem more difficult, and you may find it difficult to seek assistance. It can also have a negative impact on your memory and focus. It may be more difficult to communicate with your doctor and remember what he or she has said, as a result. That’s why it’s crucial that you jot down your thoughts before your appointment. It’s also a good idea to write down everything your doctor says during the consultation so you don’t forget anything later. Alternatively, bring a friend or family member to the appointment. You may need to step out of your way to seek the help you need; the most important thing is that you get help.


1. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-do-i-tell-a-doctor-im-depressed-1067387

2. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/gp-visit-guide

Previous Post Next Post