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Can Depression Be Self Diagnosed

New Mood Disorders Added

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One major area of change in the DSM-5 was the addition of two new depressive disorders: disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder .

The diagnosis of DMDD is reserved for children between the ages of 6 and 18 who demonstrate persistent irritability and frequent episodes of out-of-control behavior. The age of onset must be before the age of 10. The diagnosis was added to address concerns that bipolar disorder in children was being overdiagnosed.

PMDD is a more severe form of premenstrual syndrome . The conditions are characterized by intense depression, anxiety, moodiness, and irritability related to the hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle.

PMDD previously appeared in Appendix B of the DSM-IV under “Criteria Sets and Axes Provided for Further Study.” In the DSM-5, PMDD appears in the depressive disorders section.

Who Should Diagnose Depression

As you likely already know, a mental health professional should be the one diagnosing and establishing a treatment strategy for depression.

Psychiatric drugs are powerful medications, and while theyre certainly effective when used correctly, they can cause a lot of damage when misused, including chemical imbalances that might result in increased suicide risk.

Not only should you never take antidepressants without a healthcare providers guidance, you should also never change your dosage based on anything other than the recommended guidelines established by your healthcare provider.

Taking medications incorrectly and without support can lead to side effects: hallucinations, nausea, sleepiness, sexual dysfunction, panic attacks and, yes, potentially death.

If you believe you may be suffering from depression, that is a conversation you need to have with a healthcare professional not three friends from high school over drinks, not that one coworker youre really close with and not WebMD at 4 a.m. while ordering supplements to naturally cure depression.

All of that is bad for your health.

Information For Family Carers And Friends

You can get support if you are a carer, friend or family member of someone living with depression.

Being a carer might mean you can claim certain benefits that might help you and the person you care for. For more information, please see the Mental Health and Money Advice services

You could also get in touch with carer support groups or sibling support groups. You can search for local groups in your area online or ask your GP.

You can ask your local authority for a carers assessment if you need more practical support to help care for someone.

As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. There are rules about information sharing and confidentiality which may make it difficult for you to get all the information you need in some circumstances.

You can find out more information about:

  • Carers assessments by clicking here.
  • Confidentiality and information sharing by clicking here.

How can I support the person that I care for?

You might find it easier to support someone with depression if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills. You can use this to support them to get help and stay well.

Below are some initial suggestions for providing practical day to day support to someone with depression.

You can find out more information about:

You can find more information about:


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How To Get A Clinical Diagnosis

Theres no single test that can diagnose depression or anxiety. Instead, your doctor will likely conduct a physical exam and a depression or anxiety screening test. For this, theyll ask you a series of questions that help them get a better insight into what youve been experiencing.

If the results arent clear or if your doctor suspects the symptoms may be the result of another condition, they may order tests to rule out underlying issues. Blood tests can check your thyroid, vitamin, and hormone levels.

In some cases, general practitioners will refer you to a mental health expert, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, if they dont feel equipped to properly manage your symptoms and conditions or if they suspect youre experiencing more than one condition.

Although depression and anxiety are two separate conditions, they share many of the same treatments. A combination of these may be used to treat both conditions at the same time.

What Does The Doctor Look For To Make A Depression Diagnosis

What Is Functional Depression? Signs, Symptoms &  Treatment

A doctor can rule out other conditions that may cause depression with a physical examination, a personal interview, and lab tests. The doctor will also do a complete diagnostic evaluation, discussing any family history of depression or other mental illness.

Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms, including how long you’ve had them, when they started, and how they were treated. Theyâll ask about the way you feel, including whether you have any symptoms of depression such as:

  • 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 or appetite
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
  • Physical restlessness or sense of being run-down that others can notice
  • 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, suicide plan, or suicide attempt

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Can Depression Be On And Off

There are some people who have episodes of major depression and others who have persistent depression. This is a form of depression. People with this type of depression may start to feel like their symptoms are just part of their normal outlook on life because of the long time it takes for depression to go away.

Talking To Your Gp About Depression

Conditions such as an underactive thyroid can cause symptoms of depression. Your GP will do a urine and blood test to rule this out.

There are no physical tests for depression. Your GP will try to find out if you have depression by asking you questions. They will ask about your health and how it is affecting you mentally and physically.

Try to be open and honest with your answers. Describe how your symptoms are affecting you.

Any discussion you have with your GP will be confidential. This rule will only be broken if there’s a significant risk of harm to yourself or others, and if informing a family member would reduce that risk.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022 Next review due: 1 September 2025

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Managing Symptoms: Staying Healthy

Being healthy is important for all children, and can be especially important for children with depression or anxiety. In addition to getting the right treatment, leading a healthy lifestyle can play a role in managing symptoms of depression or anxiety. Here are some healthy behaviors that may help:

  • Having a healthy eating plan centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes , lean protein sources, and nuts and seeds
  • Participating in physical activity each day based on age

Body Image Screening Test

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A healthy body image is an integral part of our self-esteem and well-being. This two-in-one brief screening self-test looks at attitudes and behaviours you might have about your body shape and about your eating. While the screen cant tell you if you have an eating disorderonly part of the spectrum of poor body imageit can help you reflect and give you a sense if you may benefit from extra support.

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Uptick In Tiktok Self

Many behavioral health experts like Adeola Adelayo, MD, a practicing psychiatrist with Banner Behavioral Health Hospital, have grown greatly concerned in the last year about the rise in teens and young adults who are self-diagnosing with conditions like ADHD, OCD, dissociative identity disorder , autism and Tourette syndrome.

With more time at home and more idle time for social media apps like TikTok, which boasts 2.4 billion views, experts have seen an unusual spike in mental health cases in hospitals and behavioral health facilities across the country. Just this past month, Dr. Adelayo has seen a surge in physical and verbal tics among teenage girls.

Weve seen an explosion of Tourette-like tics in our unit and every single case has been linked with watching countless TikTok videos about people with Tourette syndrome, Dr. Adelayo said. These kids dont have Tourettes, but they arent pretending either. They have a functional movement disorder as a result of stress and possibly underlying anxiety or depression which may or may not have been properly diagnosed.

After a series of individualized treatment plans and two weeks off of TikTok, the patients were back to normalthe tics were goneshowing just how powerful and influential these TikTok videos can be.

Treatment For Anxiety And Depression

The first step to treatment is to talk with a healthcare provider, such as your childs primary care provider or a mental health specialist, about getting an evaluation. Some of the signs and symptoms of anxiety or depression in children could be caused by other conditions, such as trauma. A mental health professional can develop a therapy plan that works best for the child and family. Behavior therapy includes child therapy, family therapy, or a combination of both. For very young children, involving parents in treatment is key the school can also be included in the treatment plan. Consultation with a healthcare provider can help determine if medication should be part of the treatment.

If you need help finding treatment, visit MentalHealth.govexternal icon.

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About Your Mental Health

  • HiddenHave you ever been diagnosed with a mental health condition by a professional ?
  • Have you ever received treatment/support for a mental health problem?
  • Are you receiving treatment/support now?
  • Think about your mental health test. What are the main things contributing to your mental health problems right now?Choose up to 3.
  • Relationship problems
  • Body image or self-image
  • Financial problems
  • Grief or loss of someone or something
  • Racism, homophobia, transphobia, or discrimination
  • Fatigue Or Low Energy

    Signs of Depression: Depression Symptoms To Look Out For

    Fatigue is a very common symptom of major depressive disorder, affecting over 90% of people with the condition.

    Fatigue can be divided into three subcategories:

    • Physical: Symptoms include tiredness, decreased activity, low energy, reduced physical endurance, requiring more effort to do physical tasks, general weakness or slowness, and poor quality sleep.
    • Cognitive: Symptoms include difficulty concentrating, decreased attention, reduced mental endurance, and slowed thinking.
    • Emotional: Symptoms include feeling less motivated, apathy, decreased interest, feeling overwhelmed, feeling bored, and feeling low.

    These feelings of exhaustion may be related to:

    • The psychological toll of depression
    • Changes in the levels of neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin affecting energy levels
    • Sleep difficulties commonly associated with depression

    Fatigue can also be a side effect of some medications used to treat depression, such as tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors .

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    How Can I Help The Doctor Make A Proper Diagnosis

    Before your appointment, write down your concerns about depression and specific symptoms of depression you might have. Itâs also helpful to get an in-depth family history from relatives before meeting with your doctor. This information can help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis and ensure effective treatment. Before your visit, think about and write down:

    • Your mental and physical health concerns
    • Symptoms you’ve noticed
    • Causes of stress in your life
    • Questions you have about depression and depression medications

    Types Of Depressive Disorder

    There are several types of depression, and while they are all characterised by intense low mood, there are also important differences.

    Major depression is also known as major depressive disorder. The most recognised symptom is low mood and loss of interest in activities that were once considered pleasurable. These symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe, but will probably interfere with daily life and relationships. The low mood will persist for at least 2 weeks, and will be experienced on most days. Sub-types of major depression include:

    • melancholic depression, a severe form of depression that includes physical as well as emotional symptoms
    • psychotic depression, which includes hallucinations delusions or paranoia .

    Bipolar disorder is characterised by extreme mood changes that disrupt daily life. Symptoms of manic episodes include showing extremely high energy in speech and activity, agitation and a reduced need for sleep.

    Symptoms of depressive episodes are similar to those of major depression. People who have bipolar disorder can also experience episodes of psychosis .

    Cyclothymic disorder is sometimes described as a milder form of bipolar disorder. The person experiences changing moods for at least 2 years. They have periods of hypomania and episodes of depressive symptoms. They may also have very short periods of even moods, with fewer than 2 months in between. Symptoms tend to be less severe and are shorter lasting than in bipolar disorder or major depression.

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    Symptoms And Causes Of Depression

    Symptoms of depression can be very different from person to person. However, as a general rule, if you are depressed you feel hopeless, sad and lacking interest in things that used to make you feel happy.

    Depression symptoms are bad enough to interfere with work, social life and family life, and can persist for weeks or months.

    Doctors describe depression in one of three ways, depending on how serious it is:

    • mild depression it has some impact on daily life
    • moderate depression it has a significant impact on your daily life
    • severe depression this makes it nearly impossible to get through your life day to day

    A few people with severe depression may have symptoms of psychotic depression.

    Below is a list of depression symptoms it’s unlikely that one person would have all of them.

    What Is The #1 Cause Of Depression

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    The number one cause of depression is the tough stuff, the major life events that go wrong, says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University. Depression can occur when people experience adverse life events such as the death of someone close, the loss of a job, or some type of psychological trauma. Depression can lead to more stress and dysfunction, which can worsen the depression itself.

    There also is a connection between depression and physical health. For instance, cardiovascular disease can lead to depression .4,5

    Thankfully, there are effective treatments for depression. We know that depression is a very treatable condition and that over 80 percent of people who receive appropriate treatment for their depression will improve significantly, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of psychology and management at Union College and chief in the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, both in Schenectady, New York. Unfortunately, the large majority of people with depression never get appropriate treatment.

  • American Psychiatric Association. What is depression? Page Last Reviewed October 2020. Accessed July 9, 2021.
  • National Institute of Mental Health. Depression: What is depression? Page Last Revised in 2021. Accessed July 9, 2021.
  • American Psychiatric Association. DSM 5 Frequently Asked Questions. Accessed July 9, 2021.
  • National Institute of Mental Health. Major depression. Revised 2021. Accessed July 9, 2021.
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    Its So Easy To Get Roped In

    Ms. Hawkinss son, Ronan Cosgrove, 16, who has been on TikTok for about four years, said that among some of his peers it has become trendy to identify with a mental health disorder. For them, he added, it is considered a personality trait rather than something you want to heal.

    On TikTok they show Oh, Im this, and look at how cool I am, and then people will look up to those people and its just so skewed and not, like, reality, Ronan said. Its so easy to get roped in.

    Kids are searching for a community, and are using their current struggle with mental health symptoms as a way to find like-minded people, sometimes wearing their symptoms as a badge of pride or a shorthand way to explain themselves to others, Dr. Prinstein said.

    And some adolescents may seek mental health information online because the adults in their lives are not open to talking about it.

    Its incredibly disheartening, he added.

    A study published in March analyzed 100 videos on TikTok with the hashtag #mentalhealth that had collectively received more than 1 billion views. It showed that adolescents appear to be turning to TikTok as a source of support, and the advice there is largely driven by users conversations.

    On the flip side, she added, finding a positive, supportive community online can be powerful, especially for those who are marginalized or who lack access to mental healthresources.

    It kind of brought me into a world that I would have never otherwise have seen, he said.

    What Treatment Should I Be Offered

    The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence writes guidance on what treatment doctors should offer you. But your doctor does not have to give you these treatments. And the treatments may not be available in your area.

    Different treatments may be available in your area. Your doctor might think these suit your symptoms more than the recommended treatments.

    NICE recommend that depression is treated in different steps depending on how severe the condition is for you. The steps are as follows.

    Step 1: Everyone who may have depression

    Your doctor should offer you:

    • an assessment of your symptoms,
    • support, such as regular appointments in person or by telephone,
    • information on how to deal with your symptoms,
    • monitoring of your symptoms and follow-up, and
    • referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.

    Step 2: Mild to moderate depression

    Your doctor may offer you:

    • low-intensity interventions, such as self-help guided by the doctor or computerised cognitive behavioural therapy ,
    • physical activity programmes,
    • group cognitive behavioural therapy ,
    • medication if you have a history of moderate or severe depression, or you have had symptoms for a long time, and
    • referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.

    Step 3: Moderate to severe depression, or mild to moderate depression when other treatments havent worked

    Your doctor may suggest:

    Step 4: Severe and complex depression or if your life is at risk Your doctor may suggest:

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