Top Tips To Improve Communication With Your Primary Care Physician About Depression
The National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association revealed depressing
results about doctor patient communication: in a survey they found that consistent
and open communication about treatment for depression and antidepressant side
effects simply does not occur often enough-or thoroughly enough-between patients
and their primary care doctors. This information is particularly troubling,
since the survey also showed that people with depression rely chiefly on their
primary care doctors for treatment of their mental illness. This communication
gap can result in problems with troublesome and unaddressed side effects, lack
of compliance with antidepressant therapy, and failed or delayed recovery for
people suffering from depression.
The National DMDA offers the following tips
to get you started towards better communication with your doctor:
- First, make a list of what you want to discuss with your doctor and
take notes. Write down your questions if necessary. Refer
to your notes during your appointment so you can remember each issue you want
to cover. It's also a good idea to write down the doctor's recommendations
and instructions - and confirm what you have heard.
- Ask about side effects. If your antidepressant side effects
are bothersome, persistent or if your depression is less than completely controlled,
you may have other treatment options. . .ASK. Let your doctor know about
your concerns and work together to choose a treatment plan that is acceptable
to you. Do not skip doses or stop taking your antidepressant without
talking to your doctor first!
- Work with your doctor to identify "hidden" side effects you might
experience. It can be difficult to distinguish certain side effects
of antidepressant medication from symptoms of depression itself. For example,
weight gain and sexual problems can be caused by either the disease or by
antidepressants. Pay close attention to areas where you expected to see improvements
that have not occurred, or physical changes that you may not understand.
- Discuss the most important or most difficult question(s) first.
Help ensure that your doctor understands the importance of your concerns
by bringing up your most pressing issues at the beginning of your appointment.
- Help your doctor make time for you. If you need more
than 10 minutes to discuss your progress or concerns at your next doctor's
appointment, let the doctor's office know in advance. Also, if you have a
number of questions or if you want to discuss a subject that may be awkward,
such as sexual problems, request to begin your appointment in the doctor's
office rather than the exam room. You may feel more comfortable discussing
these issues if you are dressed.
Created: 3/25/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
All the content contained herein is copyrighted pursuant to federal law. Duplication or use without
the express written permission of DrDonnica.com subjects the violator to both civil & criminal penalties.
Copyright © 2006 DrDonnica.com. All rights reserved.
| Today on DrDonnica.com
| Meet Dr. Donnica
| TV Appearances
| Clinical Trials
Diseases & Conditions
| Celebrity Speak Out
| Guest Experts
| Women's Health Champions
| Women’s Health Resources
| Books & Tapes
| Site Certification
| Advanced Search
| What’s New?
| Press Room
| Contact Us