Beginning the Journey

As you begin your journey to recovery, there are three important things you should do for yourself:

1. Seek good medical care.

At least once a year, and whenever your symptoms change or worsen, have a complete physical examination. This will determine if a medical problem is causing or increasing your symptoms. When you see your doctor, take a written listing of:

  • All medications and health care preparations you are taking.
  • Any new, unusual, uncomfortable or painful symptoms, and when you experience them.
  • Any questions you need to ask your doctor about the above or other issues. Be prepared to take notes on your doctor’s answers.

2. Manage your medications carefully by taking the following steps:

  • Learn about your medications, how they work, what to expect, possible side effects and dietary/lifestyle restrictions. Take them only as prescribed. Learn how a local DBSA support group can help with medication management.
  • Use a daily reminder/medication saver system to make sure you are taking all of the necessary medications.
  • Throw away old medications or those you are no longer taking.
  • Realize that medications work best when you are making other healthy choices. Don’t expect a pill to fix a bad diet, lack of exercise or an abusive or chaotic lifestyle.
  • Reduce or discontinue the use of alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant and makes recovery even more difficult. It can also interfere with the way your medication works.

3. Seek psychotherapy (talk therapy)

  •  Choose a psychotherapist with whom you feel comfortable.
  • Work with your psychotherapist to find a treatment plan that works.
  • Stay in touch with your psychotherapist and other health care providers. “Booster” visits can be useful in keeping symptoms from returning.

Content Provided by Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Website