Depression Diagnosis


Viewing Depression Diagnosis

Depression is quite common among the population worldwide. It is a mental illness that is characterized by extended periods of low moods. This illness can be mild or severe. In the extreme, a depressed person will entertain thoughts of death and suicide and may go as far as attempting to take their own lives. For this reason, it is important to get a depression diagnosis as early as possible so as to prevent any unnecessary deaths.

Most doctors will not be quick to make a depression diagnosis . This is because depression manifests itself in several different types of symptoms. Depression appears in many different ways and for this reason many sufferers are not diagnosed. Also, there is no specific medical test that can be carried to make a definite diagnosis. Depression is often confused with other mood disorders such as manic depression and schizophrenia.

There are a number of different types of depression. These include major depression, seasonal depression, post-partum depression, dysthymia, atypical depression and psychotic depression. The different types of depression will exhibit similar symptoms but the duration, severity or timing will differ. Before making a depression diagnosis, a doctor will question the patient to find out details about his symptoms. The doctor aims to gather as much information as possible on the patient. The physician will not only be interested in the patient symptoms but also their medical history and their family medical history. Family medical history is particularly important in making a depression diagnosis as depression has been proven to run in families.

A doctor may order certain laboratory tests to be carried out. This is because there may be an underlying cause to the depression. He may also carry out a physical examination. The personal interview however is the most critical part of the depression diagnosis. The doctor will listen to your list of symptoms which could include disinterest or lack of pleasure in activities, fatigue, restlessness, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness or guilt, irritability, insomnia or excessive sleeping, weight loss or weight gain, lack of concentration, thoughts of suicide and physical symptoms with no cause.

Doctors use what is referred to as the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition) to make their depression diagnosis. The manual lists the different types of symptoms categorized into four groups namely; affective (or mood) symptoms, behavioral symptoms, cognitive symptoms and somatic symptoms.

Once a depression diagnosis is made, the doctor will make a further specification based on more detailed information. Depression will differ based on specific features of the symptoms. The words used to describe them include mild, moderate, atypical, rapid cycling, chronic, melancholic, catatonic, seasonal, single episode or recurrent, in partial or full remission and so on.