6. How can we make my treatment plan as simple as possible?
The simpler your treatment regimen, the easier it is to stick to it. So, if you're confused about what your doctor wants you to do, ask questions. For instance, what time of day should you take your medication? Does the schedule make sense for your lifestyle? Do you need to take your medicine on a full or empty stomach? Keep in mind that costs -- and your insurance coverage -- might affect the specific drugs your doctor suggests.
7. Could any health conditions or medicines be affecting my depression or interfering with my treatment?
Many health issues - such as heart disease, cancer, thyroid problems, and substance abuse -- can trigger or worsen the symptoms of depression. Some drugs could affect how well your antidepressants work. Make sure your doctor knows your complete medical history and all of the other medications you take -- including supplements and vitamins.
8. Should I consider experimental treatments?
If standard treatments haven't worked, you could consider enrolling in a clinical trial of an experimental treatment. These are approaches or medications being studied in clinical trials but not yet approved by the FDA as depression treatments. Ask your doctor if you might be a good candidate for a clinical trial. Information about research treatment studies for depression can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov.
9. What changes do I need to make to my lifestyle?
There are many things that you can do on your own to support your treatment and potentially ease your symptoms. Ask your health care provider for recommendations on physical activity, sleep habits, and diet.
10. What should I do in an emergency?
You and your doctor should have an explicit plan for crises. If you are ever in danger of hurting yourself or others, you -- and your family -- need to know what steps to take.