Should I Have Contact With The Doctor Who Is Treating My Family Member For Depression?

Question: Should I have contact with the doctor who is treating my family member for depression?

Answer: Well it's somewhat controversial: should a family member have contact with the person treating someone for depression. It really depends on the situation.

In the end, a patient has a right to not have the doctor talk to someone else and that's the way it should be.

But in practicality it's usually good to have a family member or friend be in contact with the clinician just to provide additional information. No one's trying to pry and you shouldn't give out private, personal information, but information about the symptoms of depression, whether they're taking their medicine or not.

These are things that can often help a clinician manage a case better. Some people are embarrassed to tell them that "I've missed the last two weeks of medication" and it's often good to have a family member involved.

It really depends on the situation. For some families, it's very appropriate to have the family in full contact with the clinician.

Other situations, where maybe problems in the relationship between the family members, it may not be a good idea. Certainly prying and giving personal information is not the goal. It's to get the person better and if it's done in that light, it's usually quite appropriate.

But you need the patient's permission to speak with the clinician. The clinician can hear what the family member has to say, but the clinician really cannot share information with someone else without the patient's permission.

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