Diagnosis-Depression? 8 Questions to ask
When moodiness creeps in, it is best to know who to talk to. The quickest and most convenient is an assessment without leaving for an appointment; it is online counseling.
Feel more comfortable consulting your family doctor, especially if you have a neurologic condition?
Fran Kritz,1”Too often people with neurologic conditions think depression is something they just have to live with or can “shake off” without help from their doctor”, says Melissa Armstrong, MD, FAAN, a movement disorders specialist at the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “Neither is true”, she says. “First, depression is sometimes caused by the illness itself. And second, depression is treatable. But many patients are uncomfortable talking about depression with their doctor and may miss out on a chance to feel much better. Here’s how—and why—to get the conversation started”.
8 Questions to ask (even without that neurologic condition):
- HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M DEPRESSED?“If you have persistent feelings of sadness and lose interest in activities you previously enjoyed, trouble concentrating or sleep too much or too little, thoughts of death”, says Dr. Armstrong. “Untreated, it can interfere with daily living and may contribute to suicidal thoughts”.
- DOES DEPRESSION AFFECT MORE THAN JUST MOOD?“Yes”, says Scott Hirsch, MD, assistant professor of neurology, psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City. “If you’re depressed, you may not take your medication, miss doctor’s appointments, avoid people or stop exercising—all of which makes it harder to manage a chronic condition”.
- SHOULD I WAIT FOR MY DOCTOR TO BRING IT UP?“No. But you may not have to”, says Dr. Hirsch. “Most doctors use screening questions to evaluate for depression especially for patients in advanced stages of illness who may not be able to speak for themselves”.
- WHAT SORTS OF MEDICATIONS CAN HELP? Doctors will consider each patient’s situation when selecting a treatment: pain, trouble sleeping, lost appetite.
- HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR DRUGS TO WORK?“Some antidepressants can take a few weeks to kick in”, says Dr. Hirsch,
- ARE DRUGS THE ONLY WAY TO TREAT DEPRESSION?“No. Talk therapy, support groups, and adopting healthy habits such as exercising, sleeping, and eating well are all helpful”, says Dr. Hirsch.
- CAN EXERCISE HELP?“Definitely”, says Dr. Armstrong. “We’re learning more and more about the positive effects of exercise on people with brain disease and depression”.
- WHAT IF I’M NOT DEPRESSED? Says Dr. Hirsch, “I explain what changes to look for so that we can intervene early on. The goal”, he says, “is to make daily life as good as possible”.
Questions 1 & 8 are what Counseling on Demand can help with…right away.2
We are online at CounselingonDemand.com
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- Kritz, Fran, Questions to Ask About Depression: Feeling low? Your physician can help, Neurology Now, December, 2016, American Academy of Neurology
- Depression assessment, http://www.counselingondemand.com/counselors/matthew-hunt/