Monday, May 20, 2013

Diagnosing Depression

Accurately diagnosing depression can be complicated since many psychological, emotional and even some physical disorders can overlap with or mimic the real symptoms of depression. If you suspect that you are struggling with real depression, the first best thing to do is to set up an appointment with your family doctor to undergo a complete physical. This will rule out any obvious physical issues that could be attributing to the problems that you may be having.

Many physical concerns can cause depression such as vitamin deficiencies, thyroid when these problems are managed or resolved, depression will dissipate. Also, there are some medications that can cause depression so if you have other health problems that are being treated with medication, your doctor will also consider the possibility that your medication may be causing a side effect of depression.

Diagnosing Depression

Sometimes after adjusting medications, depression that is related only to the use of the medicine, will entirely disappear. At this point, after ruling out any obvious health problems that can cause depression, he or she will ask some basic questions that are generally used in diagnosing depression such as:

  • What type of symptoms are you experiencing?

  • How long have you had these symptoms?

  • Are the symptoms mild or severe?

  • Is this the first time you've experienced these symptoms?

  • Have you ever been diagnose with depression before?

  • Why type of treatment were you given?

  • Do you have any family members who have been treated for depression?

  • How were they treated?

  • Do you drink alcohol or use drugs?

  • Do you think about suicide or dying?

If your doctor believes that you meet the criteria for a depressive disorder based on these types of questions, your doctor will refer you to a mental health professional or private counseling agency or organization that specializes in helping those who may have a depressive disorder. He or she may also offer a low dose antidepressant or anti anxiety medication to help temporarily relieve depressive symptoms until you are able to secure further help.

General Signs of Depression

If you are not sure whether or not you are depressed, below are some general signs that point to depression:

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Unusual weight changes

  • Disturbed sleep

  • Feeling worthless

  • Thoughts about death

  • Non specific physical aches and pains

  • Feeling extremely empty or sad most of the time

  • Unable to feel happy or enjoy anything

  • Lack of concentration or restlessness

If you experience these conditions everyday for at least two weeks, this may indicate that you are suffering from some form of depression. Diagnosing depression early is important, so be sure to make an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation right away.

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