This Is How Doctors Determine Whether You're Depressed Or Not
This quiz is not a diagnosis, but it will help you determine whether you need to visit a therapist.
It used to be that all mood disorders were lumped together. Now, however, a doctor will make a distinction regarding the particular disorder or subtype of depression that you may have. For example, a doctor will determine whether you have major depression; chronic depression including dysthymia (a mild form of just a few longstanding depression symptoms); seasonal affective disorder or SAD; bipolar disorder (manic depression); or some other type of clinical depression.
We've outlined the process through which your doctor might make a depression diagnosis. We have also added some questions that'll help you know when it's time to reach out for professional help. Keep reading to learn how to diagnose depression.
This Is How To Diagnose Depression, According To Doctors
We've become used to doctors using blood tests or other laboratory tests to make diagnoses. But most laboratory tests are not very helpful when it comes to diagnosing depression. In fact, talking with the patient may be the most important diagnostic tool the doctor has. The recommendation is that doctors routinely screen all individuals for depression. This screening might occur during your visit for chronic illness; at your annual wellness visit, or during your pregnancy or postpartum visit.
- Sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
- Loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
- Major change in weight (gain or loss of more than 5% of weight within a month) or appetite
- Insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
- Physical restlessness or sense of being rundown that is noticeable by others
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or excessive guilt almost every day
- Problems with concentration or making decisions almost every day
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide, a suicide plan, or suicide attempt
How can depression symptoms lead to a depression diagnosis?
This is how to diagnose depression.
How to diagnose depression: A Self-test can help you decide what to do
When you’re going through a tough time it’s normal to feel down for a while. Emotions like sadness and grief help make us human. But if you’re feeling sad or miserable most of the time over a long period of time, you might have depression.
Take this self-test to help figure out whether you’re showing any of the warning signs of depression. This won’t give you a diagnosis but it will help you decide the next step.
How often have you been bothered by feeling down, depressed, irritable, or hopeless over the last two weeks?
How often have you been bothered that you have little interest or pleasure in doing things over the last two weeks?
How often have you been bothered by trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much over the last two weeks?
How often have you been bothered that you have a poor appetite, weight loss, or overeating over the last two weeks?
How often have you been bothered by feeling tired, or having little energy over the last two weeks?
How often have you been bothered by feeling bad about yourself – or feeling that you are a failure, or that you have let yourself or your family down over the last two weeks?
How often have you been bothered that you have trouble concentrating on things like work, reading, or watching TV over the last two weeks?
How often have you been bothered by moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite – being so fidgety or restless that you were moving around a lot more than usual over the last two weeks?
How often have you been bothered by thoughts that you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself in some way over the last two weeks?
The truth is if you took the test, then you're worried you may have depression. It is important you get help as soon as you can. If you’re having thoughts most days about hurting or killing yourself please reach out straight away and talk to someone who’s trained to help. Even if you feel like no-one in the world gets you right now, there are people who can support you. These thoughts are common in depression but if you find they are getting more frequent (most days) or you feel more like acting on them - call us straight away.