How Is Clinical Depression Diagnosed?

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Making an accurate diagnosis of major depression can take several weeks or even months, because there are a number of conditions that can cause the same symptoms as depression, which themselves may vary. Plus, a significant number of patients suffering from depression do not seek the help they need, as they are unaware of the multitude of options available for treatment. Medication may play a role in treating depression, but there are several other effective methods that might be used as well. Keep reading to gain a better understanding of how depression is diagnosed in a clinical setting.

Characteristic symptoms

Physicians are typically alerted to depression in their patients by physical signs like sleep disorders including insomnia or excessive sleeping. Changes in appetite such as binge eating, uncontrolled weight gain, or loss of appetite are common with depression as well. These symptoms involving sleep and appetite may also affect other areas of an individual’s health, creating the need for a dual diagnosis.

Behavioral warning signs

Some family members or friends may urge individuals suffering from depression to get help due to behavioral red flags like lack of interest in social activities, negative self-image, diminishing focus and concentration, or talk of suicide or self-harm. It’s important for loved ones to take these signs seriously, as the problem tends to get worse when others neglect these cries for help.

Clinical exams

In order to diagnose depression, a doctor will have to first rule out other conditions that may present similar signs. These conditions may include thyroid disorders and certain viruses. Blood tests will generally reveal conditions of this nature, which will need to be treated through much different modalities than major depression.

If you or a loved one is facing the challenges of clinical depression, explore the behavioral health services at Good Samaritan Hospital. You can get to know our expert behavioral health team by visiting our website or get a physician referral from our 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse line at (408) 559-2011.

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