Diagnosing Depression: An Overview
There is no one specific test that can be used for diagnosing depression
. Therefore, in order to make a diagnosis, the healthcare provider will begin by asking a number of questions. This is known as taking the patient's medical history. Some of these questions may be related to:
- Current symptoms, including:
- Any thoughts of suicide
- Feeling of hopelessness
- Preoccupation with issues related to death
- Other medical conditions, including a recent history of stroke or heart attack
- Current medications
- Recent events in one's life
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse
- A family history of any medical conditions.
After asking these and other questions, the healthcare provider will perform a physical exam, looking for signs of conditions known to cause depression. There are no specific lab tests that can help in making a depression diagnosis.
Is the Diagnosis Depression or Another Medical Condition?
Before diagnosing depression, the healthcare provider will also consider other conditions that share a number of symptoms with depression. Some of these conditions include: