Dealing with Depression and Anxiety
Coming to the doctor to talk about depression or anxiety?
Talking to your GP about a change in your mental health is a very good place to start to get you on the road to recovery. GPs care for many people who are feeling low or distressed. They can help you find a way back to a better frame of mind.
If you are coming to see the doctor about feeling sad, overly worried, irritated, or generally tired and stressed, there are some things you can do to get the most out of the consultation.
1. Keep a diary leading up to the consultation. Some things doctors are interested in include:
- what time you went to bed
- what time you got up in the morning
- use of alcohol or other drugs
- mood – how did you feel each day
- any particularly bad times, and what happened at that time
- any particularly good times, and events around that
An example of an excellent mood diary is this daily mood chart from the Black Dog Institute.
2. Take a standardised questionnaire about mood. There are some questionnaires that help your doctor know where you are at – try the K10 here. *need to update this form link*
If you are pregnant or have a new baby, it may be useful instead to try the Edinburgh postnatal depression score, here. *need to update this form link*
Each of these can be printed out, filled in and reviewed with your doctor at your consultation.
3. Book a longer appointment. It will take time for you and your doctor to talk about your problems, and come up with the best treatment plan. A 30 minute appointment is suitable for this. We have many of these available, so please ask when making the appointment for a long appointment.
4. Come with an open mind. Many things help improve mood, but they all involve change from one’s current lifestyle, habits and thoughts. It can be challenging to be kinder to yourself, change your habits, walk more, drink less and go to talk to a mental health professional or take medication. However in the end, it will make life much better for the person suffering from depression or anxiety, and their family, so be prepared to consider all the options to find what is best for you.
There are Medicare rebates for psychological services available if it is decided that this will be beneficial.