Diagnosis of Depression
]]>Main Page]]> | ]]>Risk Factors]]> | ]]>Symptoms]]> | Diagnosis | ]]>Treatment]]> | ]]>Screening]]> | ]]>Reducing Your Risk]]> | ]]>Talking to Your Doctor]]> | ]]>Living With Depression]]> | ]]>Resource Guide]]>
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. He can also perform a mental health evaluation and search for physical causes of depression. Your doctor uses these findings to make the diagnosis. There is no blood test or specific diagnostic test for depression.
Depression is often diagnosed based on the following:
Initial assessment—Your doctor will ask about your symptoms:
- When the symptom started
- Any triggering events
- How severe the symptoms are
- How symptoms affect your daily activities
- Their association with chronic pain
- Whether you have had these symptoms before and, if so, whether the symptoms were treated and what treatment was given
- Physical exam—Your doctor will give you a thorough physical exam. Certain medications, as well as some medical conditions, such as viral infection, can cause the same symptoms as depression. Your doctor can rule out these possibilities through a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. The physical exam may include a mental status exam to determine if your speech, thought patterns, or memory have been affected. This may indicate a neurologic cause of depression.
- Psychological evaluation—A psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or mental health counselor can give you a psychological exam. You may take a special screening test for depression, such as the Beck Depression Inventory or the Hamilton Rating Scale. These tests have limitations, however, and must be interpreted in the context of your symptoms and personal situation.
- Evaluation for other conditions that may coexist with depression (such as ]]>alcohol]]> and ]]>drug abuse]]> , ]]>anxiety disorders]]> , and personality disorders)
National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/ .
American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th ed. Text Revision. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2000.
Depression. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/healthinformation/depressionmenu.cfm . Accessed March 24, 2007.
Last reviewed March 2009 by ]]>Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2007 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.