How Is Depression Syndrome Diagnosed
Everyone may feel sad or down from time to time. However, clinical depression has more intense symptoms that last two weeks or longer.
To determine whether you have clinical depression, your healthcare provider will ask questions. You may complete a questionnaire and provide a family history. Your healthcare provider may also perform an exam or order lab tests to see if you have another medical condition.
What Tests Results Mean
When the results of your blood work come back, there may be a clear next step for you to take. For example, if you have low levels of vitamin B12, your doctor may recommend you start taking a vitamin supplement or receive injections.
If you are diagnosed with a medical condition such as hypothyroidism or diabetes, you may find your depression symptoms start to get better as soon as you begin treatment for the underlying condition. They may even resolve once the condition is managed.
When blood tests indicate you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend making some lifestyle changes. You may find that adjusting your diet and getting regular exercise help ease your depression symptoms, too.
The results of your blood tests may prompt your doctor to ask you about your alcohol and drug use as well. If you are using substances or dealing with addiction, it’s crucial that you are honest with your doctor. Getting support and treatment for addiction is part of addressing depression.
For your safety, as well as the efficacy of treatment, your doctor needs to know if you are using drugs or alcohol, as it may influence the medications they prescribe.
What Does The Doctor Look For To Make A Depression Diagnosis
A doctor can rule out other conditions that may cause depression with a physical examination, a personal interview, and lab tests. The doctor will also do a complete diagnostic evaluation, discussing any family history of depression or other mental illness.
Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms, including how long you’ve had them, when they started, and how they were treated. Theyâll ask about the way you feel, including whether you have any symptoms of depression such as:
- Sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
- Loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
- Major change in weight or appetite
- Insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
- Physical restlessness or sense of being run-down that others can notice
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or excessive guilt almost every day
- Problems with concentration or making decisions almost every day
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide, suicide plan, or suicide attempt
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How Does It Work
Following screening, you will be provided with information, resources and tools to help you understand and improve your mental health.
Please note: Online screening tools are meant to be a quick snapshot of your mental health. If your results indicate you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, consider sharing your results with someone. A mental health provider can give you a full assessment and talk to you about options for how to feel better.
If you provide us your information and are in need of support, we will do our best to respond. However, we are not a crisis support line. If you are in need of immediate assistance, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at , or text MHA to 741-741 to talk to a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line. Warmlines are also an excellent place for support.
For all other screening-related questions and non-emergency support, please contact
Mental Health America Inc., sponsors, partners, and advertisers disclaim any liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from the use and application of these screens.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed
The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.
Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .
When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
- having less energy to do certain things,
- losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
- reduced concentration,
You may also find that with low mood you:
- feel less pleasure from things,
- feel more agitated,
- find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
- have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.
There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.
On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/
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Worry Vs Anxiety: Understanding The Difference
Everyone feels worried from time to time. Worry is part of everyday life and, in the right circumstances, can be a powerful motivator. But an anxiety disorder causes excessive worry that interferes with your daily life. For example, people with social anxiety disorder may avoid work or school. People with panic disorder might stay away from situations that trigger their attacks.
How Is Depression Treated
Depression is a serious health issue and should be managed by a qualified health practitioner. Your GP can assess your mood and your overall health, and will suggest treatment approaches based on several factors, including what type of depression you have, how severe your symptoms are and whether you are experiencing a first or recurrent episode.
There are 3 main approaches to treating depression: lifestyle changes psychological treatments and physical therapies . Often these treatments are used in combination.
A wide range of medicines are used in treating depression, and your doctor will work with you to find the one that is right for you. It can take several weeks for an antidepressant medicine to work fully, and often your doctor may need to adjust your dose.
It is important that you receive full support during this time and Beyond Blue has a free telephone counselling support line with trained mental health professionals.
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Can Depression Be Detected With A Blood Test
When you’re ill, your doctor may run a battery of tests to help figure out what’s causing you to feel unwell. In the case of common infections, a simple blood test can make the diagnosis and guide your doctor in prescribing the right treatment.
When you have symptoms of mental illness, however, diagnosis and treatment can be a far more complex process. Promising research is being done, but we don’t yet have a simple blood test that can diagnose depression.
If The Diagnosis Is Depression
Depression is treatable. Consequently, a depression diagnosis can start you on the road to a healthier life without feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
Once your doctor makes a depression diagnosis, you need to follow the treatment program to get better. It’s important to take the medications as prescribed. You also need to follow through on making lifestyle changes and working with a psychotherapist if that’s what your doctor recommends. Millions of people with depression suffer needlessly because they don’t get professional help that starts with a doctor’s diagnosis.
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Who Has The Highest Rate Of Depression
Adult women have a higher rate of depression at any given point in time as compared to adult men . The age group that has the most adults who have had a major depressive episode in the past year is the 18 to 25 age group.4
Children and teenagers get depressed, too, but it can be tricky to diagnose, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief in the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York. We know that between 2% and 6% of children experience depression, he says. About 14% of teenagers age 12 to 17 will experience one episode of major depression. And about 9% of teenagers report a major depressive episode in a given year.
What Is Social Anxiety
Social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition in which social interactions cause irrational anxiety. Social anxiety is more than just feeling shy. People with social anxiety have an intense fear of situations where they could be watched, judged, embarrassed, or rejected by others. The symptoms are so extreme that they interfere with the persons daily routine and prevent them from taking part in ordinary activities.
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When Should I See My Doctor
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, its best to seek help early and your GP is a good place to start. There’s no need to struggle on your own. Seek help:
- if you are feeling sad, teary or overwhelmed most of the time
- if these feelings have been with you for 2 weeks or more
- if your low mood affects how you cope at home, work or school.
Your GP can suggest effective treatment options, and the sooner your symptoms are addressed, the better the outcome will likely be.
Some people with depression feel that life is too difficult, not worth living or even that they themselves are worthless. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, dont wait seek help now.
How Do I Get Tested For Depression
Talkspace offers free depression tests to help you understand your symptoms of depression. For a clinical depression diagnosis, it is important to see a licensed therapist or mental health professional. During your initial appointment with a Talkspace therapist, they will likely ask you several questions about your mood and how it impacts your daily functioning in order to determine if a diagnosis for depression is applicable to you.
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How Do I Access A Depression Screening Tool
Your primary care provider might give you a copy to fill out in the waiting room. Or you might receive a questionnaire to complete when waiting to see a specialist.
You can also go online to complete a self-assessment. Organizations like the United States Preventive Services Task Force and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America offer depression screening tools like the PHQ-9 on their websites. However, none of these self-assessments are substitutes for a formal evaluation by a mental health professional.
Pregnant And Postpartum Women
The prevalence of depression in the postpartum period has been estimated at 10%.26,27 The onset of postpartum depression occurs during the prenatal and antepartum periods in approximately 50% of pregnancies.28 For cases that begin after delivery, roughly 90% occur in the first four months.29
Postpartum depression has significant effects on the entire family. It is associated with abnormal development, cognitive impairment, and psychopathology in children.30 It can interfere with breastfeeding, maternal-infant bonding, and the mother’s relationship with her partner.26 It is often overlooked and may be mistaken for normal behavioral changes that occur during this period, known as the postpartum blues. Postpartum depression is not listed as its own diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. , but rather as a qualifier to the diagnosis of major depressive disorder.31
The USPSTF, American Academy of Family Physicians, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend screening all postpartum women for depression.16,17,23,32,33 Patients should be screened for depression at least once during the perinatal period. Evidence supports the use of the PHQ-2, PHQ-9, or Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale .33 The Postpartum Depression Screening Scale is a more in-depth tool however, it requires additional time to administer with more than 20 questions, limiting its use during routine outpatient office visits.
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Reach Out To Someone Youre Comfortable Talking To And Talk About Whatever You Feel Like Whether Thats How Youre Feeling Or Something You Saw On Twitter
Strong relationships are one of the best ways to help you feel better. Connecting with a friend or family member can provide a natural boost and let you find a reliable source of support and encouragement.
Symptoms that last two weeks or more may be an indication you have depression, anxiety, or both. Severe symptoms may include:
- problems with sleep
- sudden loss of interest
- feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
If youre not feeling like yourself and want help understanding, make an appointment to see your doctor. Its important to be open and honest so they can fully understand whats happening and get a clear picture of what youve been feeling.
How Doctors Identify And Diagnose Anxiety Disorders
Some illnesses are simple to identify. Take , for example. All your doctor needs to make a diagnosis is a simple throat swab. Anxiety disorders, however, can be more complicated to diagnose.
A diagnosis is based on:
Your symptoms including your behaviors, thoughts and feelings
How your symptoms affect your life
When your symptoms occur
How long youve had symptoms
Whether your symptoms are caused by something else, like medication side effects
If you think you might have an anxiety disorder, see your doctor. Most people diagnosed with anxiety find that their symptoms improve with treatment.
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How Can My Healthcare Provider Tell Whether I Am Sad Or Depressed
Throughout life, people face many situations that result in feelings of sadness or grief: death of a loved one, loss of a job, or the ending of a relationship. Your healthcare provider, during your appointment, will likely have an unstructured conversation with you to figure out whether you might be clinically depressed or whether you are struggling with a temporary sadness that is not depression.
While depression shares some characteristics with grief and sadness, they are not the same. Typically, people experiencing grief will feel overwhelming sad feelings in waves, according to the American Psychiatric Association. In the case of grief, self-esteem is usually maintained.
With Major Depressive Disorder , the painful emotions tend to persist without much relief and often are paired with feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing. The National Institutes of Health writes that Major Depressive Disorder causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. These symptoms must be present for at least two weeks in order to be diagnosed with depression.