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A Guide to Mental Wellness in Older
Age: Recognizing and Overcoming Depression
Monitoring Your Symptoms of Depression
As you progress
through your treatment for depression, it is important
to self-monitor your progress and
actively check how you are doing.
When your physician
first talks about your diagnosis and treatment plan,
it is important to have a thorough
discussion of what you can expect from treatment
and how you can actively participate in your
track your treatment:
- Keep a record of your medications and any side
effects that you experience. You want to work with
your physician to ensure that all of your symptoms
are monitored, side effects are addressed, and
your treatment is the best you can get.
- Monitor your progress of positive health behaviors.
Your lifestyle changes—exercise, diet, sleep,
and alcohol use—all affect how effective
your treatment for depression will be.
- With the assistance of a counselor, relearn the
way you think about your life. Every day, rate
how you feel, from 1 being the lowest to 10 being
- Identify your negative thinking patterns. When
people are depressed, they tend to think negatively
about themselves, which may make the depression
worse and slow recovery. Identify brief disappointments
for what they are and don’t blame yourself.
For example, if someone doesn’t like you—it
is not because you did something wrong or there
is something wrong with you. Try to improve negative
thoughts with realistic statements of fact.
- Keep a record of your progress, record how you
feel, and plan and record activities that you do
or plan to do.
- Once you have recovered from depression, remain
vigilant. Maintain regular check-ups with your
primary care physician. At the first sign of depression,
seek assistance immediately.
Guide to Mental Wellness in Older Age: Recognizing
and Overcoming Depression
Geriatric Mental Health Foundation 2004
7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1050
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Expert assistance was provided by
Lissy F. Jarvik, M.D., Professor Emerita of Psychiatry
Sciences, University of California-Los Angeles, School
of Medicine; Susan Lieff, M.D., M.Ed., Assistant
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of
Stephen J. Bartels, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor
of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School.
Mental Health Foundation grants permission to print,
photocopy, and distribute this material.
Please cite the Foundation, including the address,
phone and website.