In order to improve, you need to find a good doctor to help with your depression. Many people who have depression find that working with a psychiatrist who manages medication and a therapist that provides talk therapy is a helpful combination. Finding the right doctor or therapist to help you with your depression may sometimes be intimidating.
Here are some considerations for finding a doctor to manage your depression, followed by a list of tips and questions to ask your newfound therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.
• Resources – Ask your doctor for a recommendation, talk to organizations such as the National Association for the Mentally Ill or NAMI, or check your medical insurance to see which providers are covered under your plan. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act gives benefits to low-income persons so they can get health insurance. Some clinics or doctors also offer patients a sliding scale based on their earnings.
• Consider what kind of expert you need to see – Those with depression often see more than one expert. A medical doctor, such as a psychiatrist can prescribe and manage medication, and some of them also offer talk therapy. A licensed therapist or a clinical psychologist can offer talk therapy.
• Consider the type of therapy you need – Psychiatrists and therapists use several different approaches. There are specific types of psychotherapy that have been used for depression, such as CBT, which is one of the more common approaches, but not all therapists are as well trained in it.
You’ll find that many therapists use a mixture of styles and have their specialties. For example, some are experts in PTSD, while others are experts in CBT. When you first talk to a psychiatrist or potential therapist, ask about their approach to see whether or not it is appropriate for your condition. If it isn’t a good fit, find another person.
You may also want to look for a person who specializes in a specific problem you have. For example, if you have a problem with alcohol or drugs, find a therapist who specializes in addictions, if your depression stems from PTSD, then find one whose specialty is PTSD.
• Man or woman – This can also be an important consideration when it comes to choosing a therapist that will be a good fit for you. Some people simply do not feel comfortable disclosing highly intimate details of themselves or their lives to the opposite sex.
Steps In Preparation Of Your First Appointment
It is easy to become flustered when you are in the first meeting with a doctor or therapist. It’s better to be prepared and decide what you want to ask them before the appointment.
Here’s how you prepare:
Write some questions down—come up with some specific things you want to ask. Don’t assume that your therapist or doctor will be able to tell you everything you might need to know.
For example, you might ask your doctor a few of these questions:
o What type of depression do I have?
o Do I need medications for my depression?
o What kind of medication will they prescribe?
o Will any herbs or supplements you use interact with medications?
o How quickly will medications work?
o How often will I need to take medication?
o What are the side effects and risks?
o Can I still drink alcohol?
o Should I change my diet?
o What type of depression do I have?
o Is my depression mild, moderate, or severe?
o Can depression or medication affect my sleep?
o How much does each session cost and what is their policy for missed appointments or cancellations?
o How do we decide whether therapy will be long-term or short-term?
o How often will I have to be here?
o What are the expectations of treatment?
o What if I feel worse?
o What if I cannot function during a normal day?
o Will they give you specific assignments to do between sessions?
o What kind of approach do they take in terms of talk therapy?
o What are the goals of treatment?
Keep A Journal Or Log
Keeping a journal throughout treatment can really help. Just jot down a little bit of information each day, including medication taken, sleeping habits, mood, any issues that made your mood or symptoms worse or better, and any new or recurring symptoms you may have had.