In the past, people with mental health issues were given a single diagnosis for just about everything. A doctor will now differentiate between the many disorders and forms of depression in order to better treat their patients. A physician will diagnose a patient’s specific form of clinical depression, such as major depression, chronic depression (including dysthymia), seasonal affective disorder (SAD), bipolar disorder, and so on.
Bringing up the possibility of depression with your doctor might be challenging. In some cases, you may experience feelings of shame or loneliness. You should know that you aren’t as isolated as you feel. An estimated 20% of the population will suffer from a mental disorder at some point in their lives.
Furthermore, without treatment, depression is unlikely to improve and may potentially worsen. That’s why it’s crucial to seek help as soon as you discover symptoms. Talking to your family doctor first is a good idea. They can sort through your symptoms and advise you on whether you need to see a specialist in mental health, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist.
What Methods Does a Doctor Use to Diagnose Depression?
It has become common practice for medical professionals to conduct elaborate laboratory testing, such as specialized blood tests, in order to arrive at a definitive diagnosis. But when it comes to identifying depressive symptoms, most laboratory tests fall short. The doctor’s conversation with the patient is arguably the most valuable diagnostic tool. It has been suggested that all patients should be screened routinely for depression. Pregnancy and postpartum checkups, annual wellness exams, and visits for chronic diseases are all potential settings for this sort of screening.
The doctor has to know what kinds of depression you’re experiencing so that she can properly diagnose and treat it. If they want to check for depression, they might ask a set of typical questions. Although a physical examination will disclose the patient’s general health, additional information helpful in diagnosing depression can be gleaned from a conversation with the patient. Some examples of information that a patient might describe include mood, behaviour, and routines.
How Does a Doctor Determine If You Have Depression?
With the use of a thorough physical examination, an in-depth interview, and a battery of laboratory testing, a doctor can rule out other potential causes of depression. The doctor will do a thorough diagnostic evaluation and ask about mental health issues in the family tree.
The duration, onset, and treatment history of your symptoms will all be considered by your doctor. They will inquire as to how you are doing emotionally and whether you are experiencing any signs of depression, such as:
- Lack of happiness or joy for the majority of the day or on a regular basis
- Despair about the disappearance of pleasure in formerly joyful activities
- Changes in appetite or weight that are significantly larger than five percent in a month’s time
- Chronic insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness
- A manifest state of fatigue or physical restlessness
- A consistent feeling of exhaustion or lack of energy
- Constant feelings of despair, inadequacy, or shame that interfere with daily life
- Frustration with the regular occurrence of inability to focus or make judgments
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviour (planning, attempting, or thinking about suicide)
How Do Symptoms of Depression Help in Making a Diagnosis?
At least five of the aforementioned symptoms must be present, with at least one of the first two occurring almost daily for at least two weeks, for a diagnosis of serious depression to be made.
Depressive episodes can linger for days, months, or even years. They can alter character traits, cause friction in personal and professional relationships, and make it harder for people to empathize with you. Some symptoms are so severe that they make it impossible to carry out even the most basic of tasks. People with severe depression may lose all interest in eating, showering, or even getting out of bed.
Episodes might be one-and-done occurrences or ongoing, persistent struggles. It may seem like they go on forever in some circumstances. Life crises may seem to be the immediate cause of the symptoms. It’s possible that they’ll appear random at other times.
Depression is a serious mental illness that can profoundly affect an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. While there is no single cause of depression, several factors can play a role in its development, including genetic predisposition, brain chemistry, and life events. A proper diagnosis is essential to ensure that individuals receive the most effective treatment for their particular situation.
If you are looking for an practice that offers depression counselling in Calgary, look no further than our expertise here at Virtuous Circle Counselling. We offer a wide range of counselling and assessments that may help you or your loved one get through a tough phase in life. Call us today to book your first counselling session with us.