Saturday, July 27, 2013

Physical Tests for Depression

I'm looking online now for different ways to determine the source of your depression.

Here is what I've found so far.

- Bionetics. Apparently this test requires a hair sample and some electronic equipment to determine physiological depression causes - infections, illnesses, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals, lack of certain nutrients or damage by certain diets. The convenience of this test is that the results include recommendations for certain natural remedies to help with your depression and dietary advice. The results also can be received online or by post within a week, and are relatively inexpensive.

- Spit sample. Researchers found that they can monitor levels of stress and signs of impending depression by checking the levels of stress hormone cortisol in your saliva. If they are too high you're most likely depressed. But you would want to confirm this with blood test as well.

- Physical exam. When you go to the doctor, he/she might decide to do the physical exam to rule out the problems with your nervous system or hormonal imbalance causing your depression disorder. As you know, any major physical illness may cause depression.They will check for hyperthyroidism, tumors of central nervous system, head trauma, different types of cancers, multiple sclerosis, stroke and even syphilis. Consequently they might require a CT scan or MRI of your brain to rule out brain tumors, electrocardiogram (ECG) to check how your heart functions and electroencephalogram (EEG)to check your brain activity.

Of course, physiological tests don't exclude in any way psychological ones, where you have to answer certain questions to a mental health practitioner to determine if you have depression disorder and how severe it is. The questions will include your symptoms and how long you had them, the history of alcohol and drug abuse, physical illnesses and family mental history.

But nearly all the physicians agree that if your depression is sudden, happens in later years, you had no prior history of mental health problems or certain problems in your environment causing your depression disorder to develop slowly over time, then they should check your blood, urine, thyroid, kidneys and liver functions, and also heart and central nervous system for underlying physical illness. So don't be surprised if you have to go through additional tests, be grateful that you are being checked thoroughly. And as I said before, if you don't agree with the diagnosis, always try to obtain second and even third opinion. Better be safe than sorry.

I'm really curious if anyone knows any other tests you can go through? If you do, please, share!

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