Take The Depression Test
Depression strikes millions each year, often with debilitating consequences. This psychological disorder is so common that it is sometimes referred to as the “common cold” of mental health, with nearly 10% of the population suffering from a depressive disorder at any given time.
Depression has a high cure rate. Effective treatments exist to help bring people’s lives back under control. Yet tragically many people suffering from this illness go without diagnosis and treatment. This depression test is a tool that may help you recognize the symptoms of depression and decide to get help. Please note that only a licensed professional can diagnose depression.
Can A Blood Test Diagnose Your Depression
Researchers are closing in on a host of helpful blood tests. Heres the latest developments.
When youre running a fever and feeling bad, your doctor will request lab tests to help determine whats making you ill. A simple blood test can pinpoint the diagnosis and help your doctor prescribe the best treatment. But symptoms of mental illness are far more complex to diagnose and treat so researchers are working to develop clinical tests diagnose depression and determine the best treatment.
If you struggle with depression or know someone who does, this news is huge. Seeking treatment and help is the first step towards recovery one that those suffering with depression symptoms often find difficult because their condition has left them tired, disinterested or feeling defeated. Knowing that a doctor or clinic can run blood tests to help kick-start recovery is a game changer.
But is it here now? Researchers have found some promising results:
Doctors routinely use blood tests to rule out medical conditions that may cause symptoms of depression or even contribute to depression, such as anemia, thyroid disease or a vitamin D deficiency. They also use series of questions or a questionnaire to screen for depression, along with a detailed medical history and a discussion of your mood and how it impacts your daily life.
Wondering if you are at risk for depression? Take Dominion Hospitals confidential and free online Depression Risk Assessment.
What Are The Major Causes Of Depression
The exact cause of depression is unknown. However, it may be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.
Certain risk factors for depression
- Parental or familial history of depression
- Stressful events, such as the death of a loved one, financial crisis, physical or sexual abuse, and going through a divorce
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Certain medications, such as barbiturates, corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, opioid painkillers, and specific blood pressure medicine can trigger symptoms
- Personality factors, such as pessimistic people are more prone to depression
Depression might be associated with any of the following conditions:
- Central nervous system tumors
- Withdrawal of drugs, such as steroids, amphetamines, and appetite suppressants
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The Complex Depression Equation: Treatment Options
After your depression severity is determined, your healthcare provider will speak with you about ways to lessen your depression .
According to a quick reference guide, Treating Major Depressive Disorder , available from the American Psychiatric Association , the severity of depression helps your healthcare provider determine an appropriate course of treatment. The provider will likely discuss your history, including medical, psychiatric, prescription, personal, and family. Taking into consideration your clinical condition, they will decide whether your treatment should take place at home or in the hospital .
Your healthcare provider then will choose an initial treatment plan, with the aim to induce remission of the major depressive episode and achieve a full return to the patients baseline level of functioning, states the APA guide. The APA advises healthcare providers to consider the following when selecting the initial treatment:
- Severity of symptoms
- Presence of co-occurring disorders or psychosocial stressors
- Biological, psychological, and environmental factors contributing to the current episode of depression
- Patient preference
- Prior treatment experiences
Talk therapy only works if you feel open and comfortable talking about your depression and other aspects of your life. With talk therapy, what you typically get out of it is based on the effort you put in.
Path To Improved Health
Sometimes it can be hard to start a conversation with your doctor about your mental health. Here are some tips that can help you before, during, and after your appointment.
Before your appointment:
- Your symptoms. These could be physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral changes that youve noticed in your life.
- How your mood affects your everyday life.
- Key personal information, such as traumatic events in your past, or current stressful situations you are facing.
- Your medical information, such as other physical or mental conditions you currently have. Also write down all medicines you are taking, including over-the-counter medicine and herbal supplements.
- Questions you want to ask your doctor.
During your appointment:
After your appointment
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Learn More About Depression
Depression can make you feel alone but you have lots of company. Major depressive disorder , the clinical term for depression, is one of the most common mental health conditions, affecting an estimated 350 million people in all age groups. You should know that depression isnt the same as being sad. Its normal to feel blue or unmotivated from time to time, but depression is more constant. And, it has a real, biological basis.
Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.
The above quiz is based on the Patient Health Questionnaire . If you think you may be suffering from Depression and/or you are experiencing a mental health crisis, we strongly suggest that you reach out to to a qualified mental health professional. To aid in your search please consider our directory of emergency mental health resources.
List Of Tests For Diagnosing Specific Mental Health Conditions
Mental health issues are not matters of opinion. They are medical conditions that arise due to a complex mix of chemistry, environment, and genetics. In other words, mental health conditions are much like physical health conditions. Both come about due to issues that may or may not be under a persons control. Both can be addressed, to some degree, with the proper treatment program.
Tests for Diagnosing Mental Illness
- Patient Health Questionnaire-9
- Center for Epidemiological StudiesDepression
- Hamilton Anxiety Scale
- Schizophrenia Test and Early Psychosis Indicator
- Goldberg Bipolar Spectrum Screening Questionnaire
- Dissociative Experiences Scale
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Risk Factors For Depression
Depression is caused by a mix of heredity, physical, and mental factors. Environment also plays a role. Depression can set in at any age however, it is most common in adults. Depression looks different in children and teens. Rather than a sad mood, children and teens become highly irritable.
In middle-age and older adults, depression can follow the development of a serious illness. Older people with cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are at risk for depression. If depression came first, it often worsens after sickness. In some cases, medications taken for physical illnesses can have side effects that lead to depression.
Other risk factors include:
- Major life changes
Withdrawal From Stopping Or Reducing Dosages
Antidepressants are not necessarily addictive, but some can cause physical dependence. It is important to talk to a doctor before stopping an antidepressant. Withdrawal symptoms can occur after a change in dosage or stoppage of treatment. Depressive symptoms can also worsen during the withdrawal process. This should be done under a physicians supervision to minimize risks and complications. Dosage should be reduced gradually and safely.
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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.
Feeling Depressed Or Suffering From Depression
We often get mixed up between low mood and unhappiness and depression. The two things are very different. Depression isnt about feeling unhappy, its feeling youll never be happy again, explains Colin Grange, Psychologist and Clinical Director of Lifeworks.
If youre feeling low, is it starting to interfere with your day to day life? Are you not doing things that you used to do? Are you losing motivation in and enjoyment of life? Are you starting to not enjoy your hobbies? Is everything becoming an effort?
People suffering from clinical depression often experience a range of symptoms both physical and emotional which can interfere with day to day life. Discovering whether you are suffering from one or more of these symptoms could be an important step towards getting the help you need.
Quiz: Am I depressed?
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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.
Suicide Risks And Antidepressants
Most antidepressants are considered safe. Despite this, the Food and Drug Administration requires all antidepressants to carry a warning. This warns about increased suicide risks in younger people on antidepressants. In some cases, people below the age of 25 may have increased suicidal thoughts or behaviors when taking antidepressants. People of all ages should watch for worsening depression or unusual behavior. If suicidal thoughts happen, get emergency help or talk to a doctor.
Antidepressants are more likely to reduce the risk of suicide for the long-term by improving mood and stopping depressive symptoms. Like any other drug, doctors and patients must balance the benefits against the risks.
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Activity: Working Through Itthinking About Your Diagnosis
Writing your thoughts, concerns, questions and goals down can be a very helpful tool to help you make sense of your diagnosis and next steps. Working it out by writing can also help you describe what you’re going through to loved ones or health professionals. Also, if you need to access different services and supports, various professionals may start to ask you about your diagnosis including who provided the diagnosis and when it happened. Writing things down can help you remember what youve been told. If you add your thoughts and concerns too, writing can help you see your own progress over time in your recovery journey.
Before you can be expected to deal with your diagnosis, you need to be able to put your diagnosis into words. Answer the following questions in your journal:
What diagnosis were you given?
Who provided you with the diagnosis?
When was it given to you ?
Did anyone else confirm this diagnosis? When?
What investigations were done to arrive at the diagnosis?
In lay words, what does this diagnosis mean? What does it involve?
What questions did you ask after you were given the confirmed diagnosis? If you can remember, what answers were you given for your questions?
How much did you already know about depression? Little? Some? A lot?
What attitudes and assumptions did you have about people with depression before this?
How much do you accept this diagnosis? Fully, Unsure, Dont accept it?
How much does it make sense with what you were experiencing?
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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How Many People Are Diagnosed With Depression
Around 17.3 million US adults have had at least one major depressive episode.2 Some 20% of women and between 10 and 12% of men will experience depression at least once in their life, says says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University.
Depression is relatively rare during childhood and comparably distributed across the genders, Hollon adds. The rates just explode during adolescence and that is when gender disparities first emerge. And, he adds, Half of all the folks who are going to be diagnosed with major depression at some point will have at least one episode during adolescence.
How Is Depression Treated
The first step to getting treatment is to see your GP. If your GP thinks you have depression, they will talk to you about the treatments they can offer.
What are talking therapies?
Talking therapy is a general term to describe any psychological therapy that involves talking. You may also hear the terms counselling or psychotherapy used to describe talking therapy.
Therapy should offer you a safe, confidential place to talk about your life and anything confusing, painful or uncomfortable. It allows you to talk with someone who is trained to listen attentively and to help you improve things.
Talking therapy often takes place face to face. But you may also be able to have therapy over the phone, by video call or online. There are different types of talking therapy that you might be offered. These include:
- cognitive-behavioural therapy,
- mindfulness based therapy, and
The type of therapy you are offered will depend on the cause of your symptoms and their severity. Therapies may also have different levels based on how long or intense the treatment is.
Ask your GP about therapy if you think it might help. Some of these therapies will be available in your area. Some areas offer a self-referral option for NHS talking therapies. Please refer to your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service to find out about this option.
You may also be able to access therapy privately or through your employer in an Employee Assistance Programme.
How can exercise help?
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Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About Depression Screening
There are many types of mental health providers who treat depression. The most common types of mental health providers include:
L.C.S.W.s and L.P.C.s may be known by other names, including therapist, clinician, or counselor.
If you don’t know which type of mental health provider you should see, talk to your primary care provider.
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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