What Tests Results Mean
When the results of your blood work come back, there may be a clear next step for you to take. For example, if you have low levels of vitamin B12, your doctor may recommend you start taking a vitamin supplement or receive injections.
If you are diagnosed with a medical condition such as hypothyroidism or diabetes, you may find your depression symptoms start to get better as soon as you begin treatment for the underlying condition. They may even resolve once the condition is managed.
When blood tests indicate you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend making some lifestyle changes. You may find that adjusting your diet and getting regular exercise help ease your depression symptoms, too.
The results of your blood tests may prompt your doctor to ask you about your alcohol and drug use as well. If you are using substances or dealing with addiction, it’s crucial that you are honest with your doctor. Getting support and treatment for addiction is part of addressing depression.
For your safety, as well as the efficacy of treatment, your doctor needs to know if you are using drugs or alcohol, as it may influence the medications they prescribe.
Patients With Chronic Medical Conditions
The incidence of depression is higher in patients with chronic medical conditions. A Canadian study demonstrated a 1.45 times greater risk of depression in these patients.44 A study of the relationship between depression and diabetes and coronary artery disease specifically showed it to be bidirectional.45 Given these findings, physicians should consider screening patients with chronic medical conditions for depression. Physicians should also be mindful that many symptoms commonly attributed to chronic medical conditions are also symptoms of underlying depression.
Are There Physical Signs Of Depression
Yes. In fact, a great many people with depression come to their doctor first with only physical issues. You might notice:
- Back pain
- Gut problems
- Constant tiredness
- Sleep problems
- Slowing of physical movement and thinking
You might notice these symptoms and signs even before you notice the mental health symptoms of depression, or you might notice them at the same time. Your doctor can help you figure out the source of your symptoms.
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Who Can Diagnose Depression
Primary care providers often diagnose depression. They may refer an individual to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist for treatment. Typically, says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University, the provider uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to make a diagnosis.3 They go through the criteria in the DSM to see how many criteria the person meets, Hollon says.
About Your Mental Health
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How Long Does It Take To Diagnose Depression
It can take weeks after depression begins before it is diagnosed. This is partly because people may be resistant to ask for help, 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.
When a primary care doctor is looking into whether a person is depressed, they may initially think the symptoms could be caused by a physical illness, Nydegger explains. Often, a primary care doctor may be looking at the persons medications or whether something is going on physiologically, he says. They are trying to rule out medical causes as the reason for the symptoms, which is appropriate, but then it can take longer to get a diagnosis.
Hamilton Depression Rating Scale
The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale is a questionnaire designed to help healthcare professionals determine the severity of depression in people who have already been diagnosed. It also consists of 21 questions. Each relates to a particular sign or symptom of depression. Multiple-choice answers are given a score of zero through four. Higher total scores indicate more severe depression.
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New Specifiers For Depression In Dsm
The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , the DSM-5, added two specifiers to further classify diagnoses:
- With Mixed Features â This specifier allows for the presence of manic symptoms as part of the depression diagnosis in patients who do not meet the full criteria for a manic episode.
- With Anxious Distress â The presence of anxiety in patients may affect prognosis, treatment options, and the patientâs response to them. Clinicians will need to assess whether or not the individual experiencing depression also presents with anxious distress.
Receive Treatment For Your Depression
If you believe you have depression, you are not alone. Since depression is a common condition, experts have developed multiple treatment options to help patients deal with a wide range of symptoms, life experiences, and barriers. The only way to know how to treat your depression is to speak with your doctor.
If you believe you have depression, schedule an appointment with a mental health professional as soon as possible. Your doctor can evaluate your condition, determine which treatment options are right for you, and develop a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms. Through this treatment, you can gain the skills and strategies you need to cope with difficult moments and restore your quality of life.
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Screening Your Adult Patients For Depression
Family physicians are well-placed to catch depression in patients early and get reimbursed for it.
Fam Pract Manag. 2016 Mar-Apr 23:16-20.
Although depression screening is not new for many family physicians, the United States Preventive Services Task Force in January recommended expanding those screens to most adult patients, with a particular focus on women in the peripartum period.1 Prior recommendations had suggested screening only when staff resources were sufficient to provide support and treatment however, the USPSTF has concluded that mental health supports are now more widely available than in 2009 when the previous recommendation was made.
The USPSTF is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts that makes evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, and preventive medications. Following a review of the available evidence, the USPSTF assigns one of five letter grades to a recommendation. Grade A and B recommendations represent services with high or moderate evidence to support their use. Depression screening in adults and adolescents is a grade B recommendation, meaning there is high certainty that the net benefit of depression screening is moderate or there is moderate certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial.2
Irritability And Angry Outbursts
Typically, symptoms must last at least two weeks for depression to be diagnosed, so take this into consideration throughout the depression quiz then ask for an assessment from a mental health professional for further information and treatment, Furthermore, medical conditions such as vitamin deficiency can be mistaken for symptoms of depression so it is important to fully consider all possible causes as you take any depression quiz or inventory. Mental health can impact your energy levels, how tired you are, your stress, sleeping habits, mood, thoughts, and so much more. Keep reading to find out more about what treatment might be right for you.
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Who Is This Depression Quiz For
Below is a list of 10 questions designed to help you determine if you might be experiencing depression. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have depression. Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few weeks.
Hamilton Rating Scale For Depression
The Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression is a multiple item questionnaire used to identify depression and to evaluate recovery. Its designed for adults and is used to rate the severity of a persons depression by evaluating their mood, feelings of guilt, suicidal ideation, anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, and somatic symptoms.
Read Also: How Do Parents Deal With Teenage Depression
Diagnosing Depression And Other Testing Methods
The doctor may include other standard tests as part of the initial physical exam. Among them may be blood tests to check electrolytes, liver function, toxicology screening, and kidney function. Because the kidneys and liver are responsible for the elimination of depression medications, impairment to either of these two organs may cause the drugs to accumulate in the body.
Other tests may sometimes include:
- CT scan or MRI of the brain to rule out serious illnesses such as a brain tumor
- Electrocardiogram to diagnose some heart problems
- Electroencephalogram to record electrical activity of the brain
How Is Depression Diagnosed
Depression presents with symptoms that range from mild to severe. Feelings of sadness, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, feeling worthless or guilty, loss of energy or increased fatigue, and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed are common. Children and adolescents who are depressed may come across as irritable rather than sad.
A health care professional looks for symptoms that are interfering with the persons relationships and with their work and that represent a change in the persons previous level of functioning.1 To receive a diagnosis of depression, the person must have five depression symptoms every day, and nearly all day, for at least two weeks.2
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If The Diagnosis Is Depression
Depression is treatable. Consequently, a depression diagnosis can start you on the road to a healthier life without feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
Once your doctor makes a depression diagnosis, you need to follow the treatment program to get better. It’s important to take the medications as prescribed. You also need to follow through on making lifestyle changes and working with a psychotherapist if that’s what your doctor recommends. Millions of people with depression suffer needlessly because they don’t get professional help that starts with a doctor’s diagnosis.
How Can Depression Symptoms Lead To A Depression Diagnosis
To be diagnosed with major depression, you must have at least five of the symptoms listed above with at least one of the first two nearly daily for at least 2 weeks.
Depression symptoms can last weeks, months, or sometimes years. They can affect personality and interfere with social relationships and work habits, potentially making it difficult for others to have empathy for you. Some symptoms are so disabling that they interfere significantly with your ability to function. In very severe cases, people with depression may be unable to eat, maintain their hygiene, or even get out of bed.
Episodes may happen only once in a lifetime or may be recurrent, chronic, or longstanding. In some cases, they seem to last forever. Symptoms may appear to be precipitated by life crises. At other times, they may seem to happen at random.
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Who Has The Highest Rate Of Depression
Adult women have a higher rate of depression at any given point in time as compared to adult men . The age group that has the most adults who have had a major depressive episode in the past year is the 18 to 25 age group.4
Children and teenagers get depressed, too, but it can be tricky to diagnose, 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. We know that between 2% and 6% of children experience depression, he says. About 14% of teenagers age 12 to 17 will experience one episode of major depression. And about 9% of teenagers report a major depressive episode in a given year.
Blood Test Offers New Hope To People With Depression
The test would avoid the years of trial and error that currently characterise diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions.
A blood test using RNA markers is offering new hope to people with mood disorders such as depression in what could be a significant breakthrough in the diagnosis of mental health conditions.
A team from the USs Indiana University School of Medicine launched the blood test in April, claiming it to be psychiatrys first-ever biological answer to diagnosing a mood disorder.
Our study shows that it is possible to have a blood test for depression and bipolar disorder, that have clinical utility, can distinguish between the two, and match people to the right medications, said psychiatrist and geneticist Dr Alexander Niculescu, who led the research.
This avoids years of trials and error, hospitalisations, and side-effects. As these are very common disorders, we think we can do a lot of good with this and other tests and apps we have developed.
The study delved into the biological basis of mood disorders, developing a tool to distinguish which type of mood disorder a person has depression or bipolar disorder.
To develop the test, Dr Niculescus team drew on its 15 years of previous research into how psychiatry relates to blood gene expression biomarkers measurable indicators of a biological state in the form of RNA, DNA, proteins or other molecules.
Conversely, an immune activation or inflammation would affect the brain.
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How Do I Know When To Seek Help
The biggest hurdle to diagnosing and treating depression is recognizing that someone has it. Unfortunately, about half of the people who have depression never get diagnosed or treated. And not getting treatment can be life threatening: More than 10% of people who have depression take their own lives.
- When depression is hurting your life, such as causing trouble with relationships, work issues, or family disputes, and there isn’t a clear solution to these problems, you should seek help to keep things from getting worse, especially if these feelings last for any length of time.
- If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or feelings, seek help right away.
See A Mental Health Professional
If your doctor diagnoses you with depression, you may then be referred to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will further evaluate your mood and determine whether or not medication is needed.
Some people will do fine being treated by their primary care physician. Others may benefit from seeing a psychiatrist, especially if symptoms are not improving with the first trial of an antidepressant or the depression is severe from the start.
Research suggests that the combination of medication and therapy is most effective for treating depression. If you would benefit from psychotherapy, your psychiatrist may handle this as well, although some elect to refer patients to another mental health professional, like a psychologist.
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Can Depression Be Detected With A Blood Test
When you’re ill, your doctor may run a battery of tests to help figure out what’s causing you to feel unwell. In the case of common infections, a simple blood test can make the diagnosis and guide your doctor in prescribing the right treatment.
When you have symptoms of mental illness, however, diagnosis and treatment can be a far more complex process. Promising research is being done, but we don’t yet have a simple blood test that can diagnose depression.
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Also Check: Depression Warning Signs For Adults
What Questions Are Asked In A Depression Screening
A typical depression screening will ask you to think about how youve been feeling over the past two weeks. The PHQ-9 will ask you to assess how often youve experienced the following:
Youll go down the list and assign a frequency to each question. Your choices are:
- Not at all
- More than half the days
- Nearly every day
The important thing is to be honest with your responses. Youre trying to learn more about your mental health, and this is a good entry point for doing so.
Its not foolproof, like anything, but its another tool that we can use, explains Anandhi Narasimhan, MD, a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist in a private clinical practice in California who also serves as staff psychiatrist at Masada Homes in Gardena, California.