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How Do I Know If My Depression Is Getting Better?


Updated October 17, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: How Do I Know If My Depression Is Getting Better?
I've been in treatment for depression for a few weeks now. I think I'm doing better, but I'm just not sure. How do I know if my depression is getting better?

As you begin treatment for depression, it may take a bit of time for you to feel back to normal. If your progress is very slow, it is natural that you will question whether you are really improving. This is why it is good for you and your doctor to set some goals for you to use as benchmarks in assessing your progress. Some measures that you may want to use to determine your treatment progress include the following:

  • Are my symptoms improving?
    One way you can judge whether your symptoms are improving is to 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.

  • Am I better able to function in my daily activities?
    If you are 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 are 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.

  • Am I experiencing any unbearable side effects from my 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.

  • Am I 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 are getting better.

  • Am I making needed changes in my 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 is important that you make necessary changes in your life, such as living a healthy lifestyle and improving the way you relate to others.
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  4. Am I Depressed?
  5. Depression Symptoms
  6. How Do I Know If My Depression Is Getting Better?

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