Testing And Diagnosis Of Major Depression
If you believe your child suffers from major depression, talk to your childs pediatrician or seek out either a therapist or psychiatrist who specializes in children and adolescents. An accurate diagnosis and early treatment are keys to success in managing major depression. Depression can also occur alongside other behavioral health disorders, such as substance abuse or anxiety disorders. With the level of complexity often involved in diagnosing and treating depression, finding a highly trained professional, such as a pediatrician, licensed clinical social worker, a child psychologist, or a child and adolescent psychiatrist, is important.At Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, a specialist will perform a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. The evaluation may assess:
Your child’s age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of your child’s current symptoms, behaviors, and functioning
Expectations for the course of the condition
Family dynamics and environmental stressors
Family psychiatric and medical history
Input from teachers and other care providers
What Does The Doctor Look For To Make A Depression Diagnosis
A doctor can rule out other conditions that may cause depression with a physical examination, a personal interview, and lab tests. The doctor will also do a complete diagnostic evaluation, discussing any family history of depression or other mental illness.
Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms, including how long you’ve had them, when they started, and how they were treated. Theyâll ask about the way you feel, including whether you have any symptoms of depression such as:
- Sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
- Loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
- Major change in weight or appetite
- Insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
- Physical restlessness or sense of being run-down that others can notice
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness or excessive guilt almost every day
- Problems with concentration or making decisions almost every day
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide, suicide plan, or suicide attempt
Can You Be Born With Anxiety And Depression
When a person gets anxiety or depression, they are more likely to be related to it if they are younger. If you have older family members who have anxiety and depression, it can still be a genetic trait. There are new conditions in people that are over the age of 20 that can be related to life events.
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Consider Seeing A Psychiatrist First
There’s a tendency for some new patients to visit a counselor or psychologist for their initial mental health evaluation rather than a psychiatrist. This can be beneficial for many people, especially if your case is not severe, but for others, it’s often not enough.
Only psychiatrists are also medical doctors, which means that they are able to prescribe medications.
If your depression stems from a chemical imbalance, talk therapy will not be sufficient to treat you. It’s best to make your initial visit to a psychiatrist, who can both prescribe medications and offer you psychotherapy if it’s needed. This two-pronged approach of medication and talk therapy is often the most beneficial to patients.
Psychotherapy is a broad term for a variety of different verbal and psychological techniques that are employed to help an individual work through their mental health condition or source of underlying stress. These techniques include but are not limited to psychoanalytic therapy or psychodynamic psychotherapy, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy . Oftentimes, other mental health professionals in the field such as counselors and social workers will draw from psychotherapeutic techniques and use them with their clients.
How Is Depression Different From Sadness
What is the difference between depression and sadness? Given that the primary symptom associated with depression is sadness it can be hard to know how to make a distinction between the two psychological states.
But depression is more than just sadness, and not simply by a measure of degree. The difference doesnât lie in the extent to which a person feels down, but rather in a combination of factors relating to the duration of these negative feelings, other symptoms, bodily impact, and the effect upon the individualâs ability to function in daily life.
Sadness is a normal emotion that everyone will experience at some point in his or her life. Be it the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or the death of a loved one, sadness is usually caused by a specific situation, person, or event. When it comes to depression, however, no such trigger is needed. A person suffering from depression feels sad or hopeless about everything. This person may have every reason in the world to be happy and yet they lose the ability to experience joy or pleasure.
With sadness, you might feel down in the dumps for a day or two, but youâre still able to enjoy simple things like your favorite TV show, food, or spending time with friends. This isnât the case when someone is dealing with depression. Even activities that they once enjoyed are no longer interesting or pleasurable.
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Major Depressive Disorder With Seasonal Pattern
Previously called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, this type of depression is related to the reduction in daylight during the fall and winter.
It lifts during the rest of the year and in response to light therapy.
People who live in countries with long or severe winters seem to be affected more by this condition.
Does Depression Look The Same In Everyone
Depression can affect people differently, depending on their age.
Children with depression may be anxious, cranky, pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.
Older children and teens with depression may get into trouble at school, sulk, be easily frustrated feel restless, or have low self-esteem. They also may have other disorders, such as anxiety and eating disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or substance use disorder. Older children and teens are more likely to experience excessive sleepiness and increased appetite . In adolescence, females begin to experience depression more often than males, likely due to the biological, life cycle, and hormonal factors unique to women.
Younger adults with depression are more likely to be irritable, complain of weight gain and hypersomnia, and have a negative view of life and the future. They often have other disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and substance use disorders.
Middle-aged adults with depression may have more depressive episodes, decreased libido, middle-of-the-night insomnia, or early morning awakening. They also may more frequently report having gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.
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Personal Factors That Can Lead To Depression
Personal factors that can lead to a risk of depression include:
- family history depression can run in families and some people will be at an increased genetic risk. However, this doesnt mean that a person will automatically experience depression if a parent or close relative has had the condition.
- personality some people may be more at risk because of their personality, particularly if they tend to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, or are self-critical and negative
- serious medical conditions these can trigger depression in two ways. Serious conditions can bring about depression directly or can contribute to depression through the associated stress and worry, especially if it involves long-term management of a condition or chronic pain
- drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression. Many people with depression also have drug and alcohol problems.
Talking To Your Gp About Depression
When you’re depressed it can be difficult to imagine that treatment can actually help. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner your depression will improve.
Conditions such as an underactive thyroid can cause symptoms of depression. Your GP will do a urine and blood test to rule this out. There are no physical tests for depression. Your GP will tell if you have depression by asking you lots of questions. You will be asked about your health and how it is affecting you mentally and physically.
Try to be as open and honest as you can be with your answers. Describe your symptoms and how they’re affecting you.
Any discussion you have with your GP will be confidential. If you have thoughts or urges to harm yourself or others your GP would speak to your family and friends.
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Managing Symptoms: Staying Healthy
Being healthy is important for all children, and can be especially important for children with depression or anxiety. In addition to getting the right treatment, leading a healthy lifestyle can play a role in managing symptoms of depression or anxiety. Here are some healthy behaviors that may help:
- Having a healthy eating plan centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes , lean protein sources, and nuts and seeds
- Participating in physical activity each day based on age
Signs And Symptoms Of Major Depression
Each child may experience symptoms of major depression differently. To be diagnosed with major depression, a child needs to show at least one of the following two symptoms for most days of the week, for most of the day, during the same two-week period:
Persistent feelings of sadness or irritability
Loss of interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities once enjoyed
In addition, several of the following symptoms must also be present:
Feeling hopeless or helpless
Frequent physical complaints, such as a headache, stomachache, or fatigue
Thoughts of wishing to be dead
Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Its crucial to remember that depression symptoms and suicidal thoughts and behaviors must be taken very seriously.
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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Major Depressive Disorder
While someone with MDD can feel hopeless at times, its important to remember that the disorder can be treated successfully. There is hope.
To improve your outlook, its critical to stick with your treatment plan. Dont miss therapy sessions or follow-up appointments with your healthcare professional.
Never stop taking your medications unless your therapist or healthcare professional advises you to.
A friendly, supportive voice could be just what you need to get you through a difficult time.
Creatinine And Blood Urea Nitrogen
Creatinine and BUN levels reflect how well the kidneys are working. Not only can kidney disease lead to symptoms similar to depression, but its also important for doctors to know if kidney function is impaired before prescribing an antidepressant. When the kidneys arent working well, they may not be able to metabolize certain medications properly.
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How To Get Diagnosed With Depression: Everything You Should Know
Depression is more than just grief in reaction to life’s difficulties and misfortunes. Depression alters how you think, feel, and operate in everyday tasks. Major life experiences, such as a divorce or loss of employment, can trigger depression. You can get depressed when you experience chronic sadness for weeks or months rather than just a few days.
Feelings of grief are only considered depression if they become prolonged and interfere with your daily functioning. Depression can cause a range of mental and physical challenges, as well as a decrease in your productivity both at work and at home.
Luckily, depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is treatable. Seeking help early can have a significant impact on someone suffering from depression.
Learning about emerging symptoms or early warning signs, and acting on them, can make a huge difference. Early intervention can serve to lessen the severity of the depression disorder condition. It may even be able to slow down or avoid the condition entirely.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed
The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.
Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .
When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
- having less energy to do certain things,
- losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
- reduced concentration,
You may also find that with low mood you:
- feel less pleasure from things,
- feel more agitated,
- find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
- have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.
There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.
On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/
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What Is Major Depressive Disorder
Sadness is a natural part of the human experience. People may feel sad or depressed when a loved one passes away or when theyre going through a life challenge, such as a divorce or serious illness.
These feelings are usually short-lived. When someone experiences persistent and intense feelings of sadness for extended periods, then they may have a mood disorder such as major depressive disorder .
MDD, also referred to as clinical depression, is a significant medical condition that can affect many areas of your life. It impacts mood and behavior as well as various physical functions, such as appetite and sleep.
MDD is one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States. Data suggests that more than 7.8 percent of U.S. adults experienced a major depressive episode in 2019.
Some people with MDD never seek treatment. However, most people with the disorder can learn to cope and function with treatment. Medications, psychotherapy, and other methods can effectively treat people with MDD and help them manage their symptoms.
How Is Depression Syndrome Diagnosed
Everyone may feel sad or down from time to time. However, clinical depression has more intense symptoms that last two weeks or longer.
To determine whether you have clinical depression, your healthcare provider will ask questions. You may complete a questionnaire and provide a family history. Your healthcare provider may also perform an exam or order lab tests to see if you have another medical condition.
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How It All Fits Together
Getting a diagnosis of depression is a multi-step process that often begins when someone notices they do not feel quite like themselves. In some cases, a person’s friends and family may notice the subtle signs of depression first and encourage them to seek treatment.
While it’s vital to work with a qualified medical and mental health professionals who can diagnose and treat depression, you might find it helpful to use patient-friendly online screening tools or quizzes to help assess your symptoms. Having this information on hand when you go to your doctor might make it easier to talk about how you’re feeling.
Clinicians also use screening tools, questionnaires, and other tests to assess someone for depression. Many of these scales and checklists are similar, if not the same, as those patients can access online. What’s important to remember is that doctors and mental health professionals are specially trained to administer and interpret the results.
After evaluating someone’s symptoms and comparing them to the diagnostic criteria for major depression laid out by the DSM-5, a provider might decide a person needs additional testing to rule out other possible causes for their symptoms .
The updated DSM-5 introduced several subtle, but important, changes to the way doctors, mental health providers, and researchers approach depression.
What Risks And Complications Can Depression Cause
Having depression can cause other problems. It can affect your mental health as well as your physical health, and it may affect other areas of your life too. For example, depression may cause:
- disturbed sleep,
- difficulties with work and your hobbies,
- difficulties keeping contact with friends and families, or
- suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harming.
Some people might also drink more alcohol to try and relieve depression. However, as we said in the previous section above, this can actually make depression worse.
If you have any of these problems, speak to your GP.
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How Is Major Depressive Disorder Treated
MDD is often treated with medication and psychotherapy. Some lifestyle adjustments can also help ease certain symptoms.
People who have severe MDD or have thoughts of harming themselves may need to stay in a hospital during treatment. Some might also need to take part in an outpatient treatment program until symptoms improve.
Causes & Risk Factors
There is no single cause of depression.
Potential triggers of depression include:
- genetic or family history of depression
- psychological or emotional vulnerability to depression
- biological factors such as imbalances in brain chemistry and in the endocrine/immune systems
- major stress in the person’s life.
Depression and physical illness
- the result of another illness that shares the same symptoms
- a reaction to another illness
- caused by neurological changes resulting from a physical illness .
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