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How to Tell Your Doctor You're Depressed

By Julie Boehlke ; Updated August 14, 2017

If you have been experiencing feelings of sadness and emptiness that have lasted more than a few weeks or months, you may be facing depression. The only way to get a definitive diagnosis is to visit your doctor for a complete evaluation. It is important to understand the basic signs and symptoms of depression and be willing to open up to your doctor about what you have been experiencing.

  1. Recognize the symptoms of depression. If you are feeling helpless or hopeless you may have a bleak or unsettling outlook on your life. If you have sudden weight fluctuations where you are either gaining or losing weight rapidly, you could be suffering from depression. Other indicators of depression include loss of energy, self loathing, insomnia, oversleeping, loss of interest in day-to-day activities, isolation from family and friends, suicidal thoughts and trouble concentrating.

  2. Set up an appointment. Make sure your appointment includes enough time for you to be able to explain all of your symptoms and concerns.

  3. Explain all of your symptoms. You may want to create a journal or jot down symptoms in a notebook. Notate the time and date when you have symptoms and if there are any particular triggers leading to your symptoms. Don’t hold back how you feel; you want your doctor to be able to offer you the best form of treatment for your type of depression.

  4. Mention any underlying illness or non depression-related symptoms. It is important to talk about your overall health when talking with your doctor. Don’t be afraid to tell him about anxiety symptoms, aches and pains, gastrointestinal problems or issues with your joints or skin. Some symptoms may indicate a disease that could trigger your depression symptoms and they need to be treated accordingly.

  5. Speak honestly about thoughts of harming yourself. Don’t be ashamed to tell your doctor about any suicidal thoughts or attempts. He may immediately guide you to get one-on-one help that could save your life.

  6. Tip

    Make sure your doctor or health care provider knows how serious your symptoms are. If it is affecting your everyday health be sure to say so. Follow your doctor’s orders precisely and take medication as directed.


    If you feel like you could harm yourself or someone else, seek immediate medical attention. Have someone stay with you until the feelings pass or you are safely under medical supervision.

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