Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How to Diagnose Depression

Depression is a medical condition. It is not just on one's mind. It is not an imaginary illness. It is a real disorder that requires diagnosis. Hence, a person who suspects himself or herself of being depressed must undergo a depression test to confirm the existence of the said disorder. Eventually, depression is like any other illness that demands treatment.

Medical practitioners and mental health experts usually conduct several depression tests to diagnose whether a patient is suffering from depression or is merely experiencing other medical diseases that manifest symptoms similar to that of depression. Physical, laboratory and other examinations are included during a patient's evaluation aside from the depression test. However, the primary tool to diagnose depression is through the symptoms experienced by the affected person.

Mental health professionals generally devise an assessment tool for depression. This tool is consists of questions that pertain to the symptoms of depression. It attempts to elicit what symptoms are experienced by the person seeking for mental health assistance. A person who manifests or experiences five or more of the symptoms for two weeks or longer is considered depressed. The following symptoms of depression are included in the tool used for depression test:

1. Loss of appetite that results to weight loss
2. Over eating that results to weight gain
3. Insomnia or difficult of sleeping during sleeping hours
4. Hypersomnia or oversleeping during waking hours
5. Feeling of worthlessness
6. Feeling of helplessness
7. Feeling of hopelessness
8. Feeling of too much guilt
9. Lack of energy or always feeling tired
10. Loses interest on previously enjoyed activities
11. Problem on concentration or focus
12. Difficulty of making decisions or remembering trivial details
13. Frequent suicidal thoughts
14. Restless, aggressive or irritable

The abovementioned symptoms are to be evaluated during the depression test. However, other medical conditions must be ruled out first through other diagnostic examinations.

The other tests conducted to ensure that the patient is not suffering from other diseases include blood tests, CT scan or MRI, electrocardiogram and electroencephalogram. The blood tests are done to verify that the symptoms manifested by the patient are not caused by anemia or thyroid hormone imbalance. Another component of the depression tests are radiology examinations such as CT scan and MRI. These are used to confirm presence of brain tumor. Furthermore, electrocardiogram is used to test existence of any cardiac condition that might have caused the symptoms or the depressive disorder itself. Lastly, electroencephalogram is utilized to assess variation or abnormalities in the brain activity of the affected person. All of these diagnostic examinations are done together with the depression test. But then again, these examinations are intended for ruling out other medical conditions, not exactly to diagnose depression per se.

Indeed, depression is a serious illness. It can cause functional and social disabilities to the affected person. In fact, it is one of the most common causes of death these days. Therefore, as early as possible, a person suspected for depression must submit himself/herself for depression test and treatment. Depression test is a reliable examination to diagnose depression. However, the result of a depression test must be analyzed by a medical or mental health expert to ensure that the diagnosis is accurate.

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