How is depression diagnosed?

How is depression diagnosed?

How is depression diagnosed?

Depression can be difficult to diagnose as it is able to manifest in a number of ways that differ from one individual to another. For example, someone who has clinical depression may show symptoms of social withdrawal or apathy, another person suffering from the same condition may react through agitation or irritability.

The following is a list of tests and exams that are able to assist in ruling out any other issues that may result in the symptoms of depression, provide an accurate diagnosis and check for any related complications:

  • Conducting a physical exam – Here, the doctor will ask questions on the patient’s health and symptoms and conduct a physical exam. In some situations, the patient’s depression can be linked or caused by an underlying health issue that is often physical.
  • Conducting lab tests – In this case, the doctor may conduct a blood test known as a complete blood count (CBC), in addition, the doctor may also check the performance and functioning of the patient’s thyroid so as to ensure that the underlying cause is not related to hormonal issues.
  • Conducting a psychological evaluation – Doctors or a mental healthcare professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist will most likely ask a series of set questions that help reveal the cause of the condition, these are regarding the patient’s behaviour, past events and present happenings. For example, the patient can report on things such as their behaviours, lifestyle habits and daily moods. In some cases, the patient will be asked to fill out a questionnaire.
  • Utilising the DSM-5 criteria – The doctor or mental healthcare professional may use the DSM-5 criteria, or otherwise known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which was published by the American Psychiatric Association. This is a set of criteria that are used by doctors in the diagnosis of mental conditions such as depression.
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