Depression Treatment: 8 Tips To Get The Most Of Doctor Appointment

Treatment  for depression should start with seeing your doctor.

When you go to see a specialist, do you ever feel swept into and out of their office so fast it makes your head spin? You’re not alone.

I have learned from my many visits to doctors, that while they may seem uninterested or unconcerned, it’s more likely that their schedules are booked solid.

The good ones want to help you, but they are probably trying to do the most work they can get accomplished in a limited about of time.

Try not to take it personally.

You can make good use of the time you have.

But if you don’t speak up for yourself and take the time you need, the doctor doesn’t know how much that is.

They prepare to move on to their next patient. The key to a productive meeting is good communication.


1. Prepare for your appointment in advance.

Try to compose a list of notes on paper. Know what you want to tell them. To the best you’re able, take notes between visits. In a small notebook, write the date and the symptom or side effect you’re feeling.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be legible to anyone but you.

Sometimes I find I don’t have the clarity or consistency to do this myself. Enlist the help of a family member or friend.

2. Once you’ve made notes, narrow them down.

Be succinct. Don’t try to tell your doctor everything.

If you go off on tangents or try to make your point in excessive detail, you risk losing their attention.

Ask good questions.

They’ll be more likely to take the time to talk with you and less likely to lecture.

3. Be your own advocate.

The doctor is an authority on medication.

You are the only authority on you. Speak up for yourself. If you feel uncomfortable taking up their time, remember that first and foremost, it’s your time. They are there for you. The more you can tell them — briefly — the more puzzles pieces with which they will have to work. Your doctor doesn’t know how you have been doing during the past one, three or six months. Make your thoughts and opinions known. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

4. Allow for some give and take.

Hear out the doctor and give their ideas a chance. Psychiatry isn’t exact. The same medicine or combinations of meds work (or don’t work) differently with each individual. The doctor doesn’t automatically have the answers for your specific chemistry. They are working with you to determine the best results.

5. Once you’ve given your current doctor a chance, you may honestly feel the relationship isn’t working.

It’s perfectly acceptable to seek out another psychiatrist. Maybe your doctor isn’t giving you the opportunity to participate in decisions, or perhaps they make choices with which you aren’t comfortable. Sometimes the two of you just don’t click. Don’t be afraid to seek out other options.

6. At the same time, do not give up your current psychiatrist until you find a new one.

It may take longer than you’d like or expect. But do not risk running out of medication by terminating with one doctor before you’ve found a new one. Get an appointment and meet with a new person before you end your relationship with the previous doctor.

7. Do not stop your current meds.

It’s much easier said than done, especially when you’re not happy with the medications you are taking, but this is a time of emotional change and uncertainty. It is the worst time to tamper with your medications on your own. Work to find someone who will understand your needs and help you taper off anything that you need to. You’re looking for a provider with whom you work well, but it’s imperative to be consistent with your medications in the meantime.

8. If you can’t find someone on your own, ask another health provider.

Meet with a therapist, general practitioner or even a gynecologist, if appropriate. Oftentimes, a doctor won’t accept a new patient without a referral from another provider. Seek out that referral.

Finding the right psychiatrist largely determines your quality of life. Don’t give up. You deserve the best treatment available.

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