How to Know When Your Depression Is Getting Better

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As you begin treatment for depression, it may take a bit of time for you to feel like you're back to your normal self. If your progress is very slow, it's natural that you will question whether you're really improving. This is why it's good for you and your doctor to set some goals for you to use as benchmarks for assessing your progress.

Questions to Assess Your Improvement

Some measures that you may want to use to determine your treatment progress include:

Are your symptoms improving? One way you can judge whether or not your symptoms are improving is to periodically take a test like the Wakefield Questionnaire, which asks a series of questions about your depression symptoms and then provides you with a numerical score. By comparing changes in your score over time, you can see objectively whether your symptoms are indeed improving.

Are you better able to function in your daily activities? If you're having an easier time functioning in your daily activities, such as getting up to go to work or maintaining your personal hygiene, this is a good indicator that you're on your way to recovery. In order to assess your progress in these areas, you might want to set easily measurable goals for yourself, such as missing fewer days of work or taking a shower every day.

Are you experiencing any unbearable side effects from your medication? Although relief from depression symptoms is the primary goal of treatment, it can detract from your quality of life if you are experiencing unbearable medication side effects. An additional goal as your doctor fine-tunes your treatment plan is to come up with a medication regime that minimizes these side effects while still providing you with adequate control of your depression symptoms.

Are you experiencing any relapses? Another important goal of depression treatment is to make sure that you do not experience future episodes of depression. If your symptoms remain under control over time, this is an important indicator that you're getting better.

Are you making needed changes in your lifestyle? Although depression is an illness with a biological basis, the way you live your life can increase your stress level and trigger a relapse in your condition. In order to prevent a recurrence of your illness, it's important that you make necessary changes in your life, such as living a healthy lifestyle, minimizing stress, and improving how you relate to others.

Depression Symptoms

If you think you are depressed or you're being treated for depression and don't feel any better, watch for these common symptoms of depression:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Losing joy in your daily activities or passions
  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Overwhelming feelings of anxiety
  • Feeling sad, worthless, and/or guilty
  • Having difficulty doing normal daily activities
  • Irritability
  • Waking during the night or early in the morning
  • Difficulty concentrating or staying focused
  • Physical symptoms such as stomachaches or headaches
  • Thinking about or trying to commit suicide

If you have these symptoms for two weeks or more or if you are being treated for depression and these symptoms are not getting any better, be sure to consult a mental health professional for help. Untreated and undiagnosed depression can get worse and stop you from living a fulfilling life. Treatment can help you get back to your life and feeling more like your old self.

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