Sadness, feeling down, and losing interest or pleasure in routine activities are common feelings for all of us. But if they continue and affect your lives substantially, you may have depression. In this blog, we will discuss some effective ways that mental health professionals use for a depression diagnosis.
- Depression can be a comprehensive issue and affects a person’s body, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in various ways.
- There are several types of depression, including seasonal affective disorder(SAD), bipolar disorder, atypical depression, dysthymia, and postpartum depression.
- Your doctor may conduct a complete diagnostic evaluation and discuss any family history of depression or other mental illness.
- Some of the most common symptoms of depression may include feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, tearfulness, frequent and recurrent thoughts of suicide and death.
- People can feel symptoms similar to depression due to hypothyroidism or some medical illness or medication like thyroid disorder, infection, or significant hormonal changes.
- Your doctor will diagnose depression through different questionnaires, including beck depression inventory, hamilton depression rating scale, and zung self-rating scale for depression.
Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a severe medical illness that can cause a persistent feeling of sadness and interest loss. You may undergo several emotional and physical issues and face problems while performing daily routine activities. Depression can be a comprehensive issue, and it affects an individual’s body, sentiments, thoughts, and behaviors in various ways. Sometimes you may have a feeling as if life isn’t worth living.
Types of Depression
After combining all the mood disorders, your doctor will determine the type of depression you are experiencing. Your doctor will identify whether you are suffering from chronic depression, major depression, bipolar disorder, or some other type of clinical depression that may include:
- Seasonal affective disorder(SAD).
- Major depressive disorder.
- Atypical depression.
- Postpartum depression.
How to Diagnose Depression?
The most important tool of a mental health professional for depression diagnosis is talking to the patient. Physical examination may help in understanding patients’ overall health state. But, by talking to a patient, a doctor can get to know about the relevant things that will help to diagnose depression. For efficient diagnosis and treatment of depression, your therapist will ask a series of standard questions regarding your behavior, mood, and lifestyle habits.
How Do Doctors Test You for Depression?
You may experience depression once in life, but people usually have multiple episodes. During these episodes, these signs appear almost every day. Your therapist may conduct a complete diagnostic evaluation and discuss any family history of depression or other mental illness. Your doctor will assess your signs, including how long you’ve had them when they began and how they were dealt with. After listening to you, your doctor will determine whether you are experiencing any of the below-mentioned symptoms or not:
- Feeling of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, tearfulness.
- Interest loss in performing daily routine activities.
- Restlessness, anxiety, or agitation.
- Sleep disturbances that may involve insomnia or sleeping too much.
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or self-blame.
- Lack of eye contact.
- Memory loss, lack of concentration, and abstract reasoning.
- Physical problems, including headaches or back pain.
- Angry outbursts, irritation, or frustration.
- Frequent and recurrent thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
In many cases, people with depression may experience severe symptoms that cause notable issues in day-to-day activities and affect their relationship with others adversely. Some people may feel unhappy and worthless without knowing the reason.
Your doctor will suggest some lab tests, like blood work, after reviewing the information you gave at your first appointment, including symptoms, family history, and physical examination. These tests are essential to check for other conditions that could be adding to your mood. People can feel symptoms similar to depression in case of some medications or illness, like thyroid disorder, infection, or significant hormonal changes. You may also feel symptoms of depression due to hypothyroidism. Your doctor will ask about the medications you are currently taking as well as the alcohol or recreational drugs you may be utilizing.
If no other reasons are identified for your symptoms, your doctor may refer to you a licensed mental health expert for evaluation. He will ask you to complete a depression-rating questionnaire. It can help in assessing your level of depression.
Examples of such questionnaires include the following:
- Beck Depression Inventory
The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is used for depression diagnosis that contains 21 self-reported depression questions. Each question has a score of zero through three that indicates the symptom’s severity. They help mental health professionals assess the symptoms, mood, and behavior of their patients.
- Hamilton Depression Rating Scale
The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) also contains 21 questions that help doctors determine the severity of depression. Each question is related to a specific depression symptom with a score range of 0 to 4. The higher the total score, severe is the depression.
- Zung Self-Rating Scale for Depression
The zung self-rating scale is a screening tool that helps identify the level of depression in people. It is a questionnaire having 20 questions with a score range from 20 to 80. In the case of most depressed people, this score comes between 50 and 69. If the score is above 69, it means that a person is suffering from severe depression.
After identifying the type of depression and severity level, your mental health professional will suggest the best-suited treatment for you.