Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health. Your doctor may search for physical causes of depression. These findings will be used to make the diagnosis. There is no single test to do this.
You will have a:
Physical exam—Certain medicines and health conditions can cause the same symptoms. Your doctor can rule these out. The most common ways are with a physical exam, questionnaires, and lab tests. This may involve tests to see if you have problems with your speech, thought patterns, or memory.
Psychological exam—A mental health expert can give you this exam. You may take a special screening test. These tests don’t provide all the answers. They must also consider your situation and how these problems are affecting you.
How much they keep you from going to work or school
If they come with pain
If you've had them before, if they were treated, and, if so, how
If you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Other people in your family with the same problems
If they bother your sleep patterns
Depressive disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/mood-disorders/depressive-disorders. Updated May 2018. Accessed October 5, 2018.
Depression. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml. Updated February 2018. Accessed October 5, 2018.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 11/13/2020
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