Friday, July 19, 2024

Can You Self Diagnose Depression

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Dont Even Try To Self

Diagnosing Depression

Dr. Internet isnt going anywheremany people still find peace of mind in Googling health symptoms. Being able to check your symptoms online can equip you with much-needed knowledge and empower you to make better health choices, but if you try to diagnose yourself based on what you read, think again.

So many people rely on the internet for health information, says Lauren Parkes, D.O., a board certified family medicine physician. While it can be beneficial in many ways, using the internet to diagnose yourself can be quite harmful.

The problem with self-diagnosing yourself isnt that you may be completely wrong in the actual diagnosis its that you may skip critical treatment and wind up letting a condition or disease do further damage to your body as a result, Dr. Parkes says.

While some ailments may be more easily identified using the internet, here are five that you should see a doctor about, as self-diagnosing them could be more harmful than helpful.

Chest pains.

You may think that a pain in your chest is only that, but how can you be sure its not signaling a larger issue?

Many people think that if they can rule out a heart attack, chest pain is no big deal, says Dr. Parkes. The truth is that chest pain could be a heart attack, or can be indicative of so many other diseases and ailments. Its best to get chest pains checked out by a doctor.


Sinus infection.

If a bacterial cold is left untreated, it can turn into pneumonia or worse, says Dr. Parkes.

Do Something You Enjoy

Depression can push you to give in to your fatigue. It may feel more powerful than preferred emotions.

Try to push back and do something you love something thats pleasurable or meaningful. It could be playing an instrument, painting, hiking, or biking.

The byproduct of engaging in meaningful activities can be a lift in your mood or energy, which can further motivate you to continue to engage in helpful activities that help with navigating symptoms.

Research suggests that walks in nature may improve depressive symptoms in people with clinical depression.

Time in natural spaces may improve mood and cognition, and lower the risk of mental health disorders. However, theres only limited research on the direct effect of nature on those with clinical depression.

Consider taking a walk at lunch among the trees or spending some time in your local park. Or plan a weekend hike. These activities can help you reconnect with nature and soak in some rays at the same time.

The Risks Of Self Diagnosis

The major risk of self diagnosis as opposed to professional diagnosis is incorrect diagnosis, and thats sort of obvious.

Short of you having a medical degree, self diagnosis isnt a safe strategy for getting the right cognitive care, and to be blunt, even the experts who are capable of diagnosing professionally dont diagnose themselves mental health professionals are smart enough to seek the support of other mental health professionals when in need.

In the larger, what could go wrong? sense, the most obvious answer is that you wont get the treatment you need. Or worse, you seek treatment for something that isnt wrong with you.

The good news, however, is that at least you cant write yourself prescriptions.

As for consequences, the worst-case scenario for an incorrect diagnosis includes using the wrong medications, using life-threatening medications for no reason, racking up unnecessary medical costs, and actually giving yourself depression from treating the wrong condition without success.

This is a big enough problem for women already, who often struggle to have their symptoms taken seriously. We dont need to add fuel to that wildfire.

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Risks Of Self Diagnosis

People who do not have the benefit of professional diagnosis and care run two risks when they try to diagnose and treat themselves using self-help methods:

  • Risk of Misdiagnoses. The first risk is that they might miss something subtle but important about their problem or issues which would, in turn, cause them to misdiagnose themselves, possibly with disastrous results. For example, someone might think they have an anxiety condition of some sort, but closer professional examination might uncover an underlying serious medical problem such as an heart arrhythmia The affected person might treat themselves as though they have an uncomplicated anxiety problem and completely miss the fact that they have a serious medical condition that requires medical treatment. There is really no good way to reduce this type of risk except to go to a professional for a professional diagnosis.

It is never a good idea to take someone elses pills, by the way, and never a good idea to treat a problem with street drugs! Weight loss pills can be habit forming, for one thing, and may lead to an addiction. They can also cause medical problems. Medication might be safe for another person, but actually dangerous for you! Do not use medication except under the supervision of a licensed physician or other appropriate health professional.

Helping A Suicidal Friend Or Relative

Before You Diagnose Yourself with Depression...

If you see any of the above warning signs:

  • get professional help for the person
  • let them know they’re not alone and that you care about them
  • offer your support in finding other solutions to their problems

If you feel there is an immediate danger, stay with the person or have someone else stay with them, and remove all available means of committing suicide, such as medication.

Over-the-counter drugs such as painkillers can be just as dangerous as prescription medication.

Also, remove sharp objects and poisonous household chemicals such as bleach.

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What Is Samhsa’s National Helpline

SAMHSAs National Helpline, , or TTY: is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

What Is The Biggest Danger That Can Happen When Someone Tries To Self

One of the most dangerous risks when it comes to self-diagnosing a mental health condition is that the patient can mistake a serious physical condition for a mental disorder. Thyroid disorder and heart disease can mimic or produce depressive symptoms. When someone believes they have clinical depression based on a dubious self-diagnosis, they can miss an underlying heart condition, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke, and death.

Also, sometimes cancerous brain tumors can cause people to experience psychological symptoms. If someone assumes they have depression and begins to treat that and only that, a brain tumor can continue to grow until it is too late to reverse the course of the disease. The ultimate risk people face when self-diagnosing any mental health disorder, not just depression, is permanent disability and death.

Its true that some people may not want conventional medical treatment for depression. Many depressed patients can recover from their symptoms with therapy or deep brain stimulation techniques. But these patients may want conventional treatment for serious physical conditions like cancer or heart disease.

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Signs That You Need Help Immediately

If you think you have some of the symptoms listed above, there is no reason to panic. It is important to pay attention to the warning signs and be responsible for your mental health. Below are some signs that can help you know that you or someone you know should seek help for depression immediately.

  • Exhibiting reckless behavior
  • Talking about suicide or self-harm
  • Acting like everything is okay after long periods of showing depressive behaviors
  • Starting to work on a will, selling things in their house, or telling people they love goodbye

Who Is Most At Risk

My thoughts on self-diagnosis

One of the biggest risk factors for developing depression after Covid-19 or after any major illness is having a diagnosed mental health disorder before you get sick. People who had severe Covid-19 symptoms and had to stay at a hospital during their illness also have increased chances of depression, said Megan Hosey, a rehabilitation psychologist who works with I.C.U. patients at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

According to W.H.O. estimates, young people are disproportionately at risk of suicidal and self-harming behaviors after Covid. Women are more likely than men to report mental health effects after Covid. And people with pre-existing physical health conditions, such as asthma, cancer and heart disease, are more likely to develop symptoms of mental disorders after Covid.

Additionally, people who experience extensive sleep disruption, social isolation or a significant change in other behaviors, like the amount of alcohol they consume or the type of prescription medications they take, may be more likely to face depression after the physical symptoms of Covid-19 fade away. We know that having additional stressors on your plate can predict depressive symptoms later on, Dr. Hosey said. Some studies suggest that people who experience these stressors may be more vulnerable to developing long Covid in general.

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Center For Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale

This 20-item screening test measures how often you have experienced depression symptoms during the past week. Each response is scored on a scale from 0 to 3, with 0 indicating no symptoms and 3 indicating recurring symptoms. For example, one item asks if youve felt sad during the past week. A score of 0 indicates rarely, while a score of 3 indicates youve felt sad most days of the week. In general, the higher the score, the more depressed a person may be.

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:

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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.

Who May Need A Depression Screening

Before You Diagnose Yourself With Depression Quote / Depression Quotes ...

Any teenager or adult over the age of 12 should be screened for depression. People who display early symptoms of depression, such as persistent sadness or a loss of interest in otherwise enjoyable activities, should also receive a screening.

Its important to remember a screening is different from a diagnosis. Screening tests are helpful in deciding if you need further assistance from a health care provider. For example, a high score on a screening test may prompt your primary care physician to refer you to a psychologist. However, screening tests shouldnt take the place of a diagnosis.

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Are There Physical Signs Of Depression

Yes. In fact, a great many people with depression come to their doctor first with only physical issues. You might notice:

  • Constant tiredness
  • Slowing of physical movement and thinking

You might notice these symptoms and signs even before you notice the mental health symptoms of depression, or you might notice them at the same time. Your doctor can help you figure out the source of your symptoms.

When Do Covid Blues Become Clinical Depression What Are Some Early Signs

While you are in the thick of things, fighting off viral infection, it is normal to feel tired and headachy. When you feel physiologically terrible, it can interfere with your mood, Dr. Hosey said. I would never diagnose somebody with a clinical depression in the acute phases of a Covid infection.

But if your exhaustion and feeling of being overwhelmed persist for two to six weeks after your Covid infection and start to interfere with day-to-day activities or negatively affect your relationships with others, it could be a sign of depression, Dr. Hosey said.

Some people with depression may also experience persistent sadness, tearfulness, irritability, changes in appetite or weight, trouble thinking or concentrating, or feelings of immense guilt, worthlessness or hopelessness. Those with severe depression may think frequently of death and develop suicidal ideation, Dr. Hosey said.

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If Youre Up For Exercise Consider A Walk Around The Block

On days when you feel as if you cant get out of bed, exercise may seem like the last thing youd want to do. However, exercise and physical activity can help to lower symptoms of depression and boost energy levels.

future depressive episodes.

Even when you have the feeling that youre unable to or have very little energy, see if youd be willing to do the opposite of what your mood is telling you to do, such as curling up in bed. Instead, set a small goal for yourself, such as taking a walk around the block.

Information For Family Carers And Friends

The Essential Lesson You Missed in Psych 101- How Self-Diagnosis Can Harm You

You can get support if you are a carer, friend or family member of someone living with depression.

Being a carer might mean you can claim certain benefits that might help you and the person you care for. For more information, please see the Mental Health and Money Advice services

You could also get in touch with carer support groups or sibling support groups. You can search for local groups in your area online or ask your GP.

You can ask your local authority for a carers assessment if you need more practical support to help care for someone.

As a carer you should be involved in decisions about care planning. There are rules about information sharing and confidentiality which may make it difficult for you to get all the information you need in some circumstances.

You can find out more information about:

  • Carers assessments by clicking here.
  • Confidentiality and information sharing by clicking here.

How can I support the person that I care for?

You might find it easier to support someone with depression if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills. You can use this to support them to get help and stay well.

Below are some initial suggestions for providing practical day to day support to someone with depression.

You can find out more information about:

You can find more information about:


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Hamilton Depression Rating Scale

This screening test contains 17 items that are measured either on 5-point or 3-point scales. The questions inquire about various aspects of your life during the past week. The items range from mood and insomnia to thoughts of suicide and how you feel performing work and other activities. A score below 10 indicates the absence of depression. A score between 10 and 13 can indicate mild depressive feelings, while 13 to 17 is moderate depression. Any score over 17 indicates severe depression.

What Are The Differences Between Normal Grief And Depression

  • When a person is grieving, they will still experience fleeting moments of happiness. When someone is depressed, the feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness are constant and pervasive.
  • Depressed patients will lack the ability to feel pleasure and joy from things that would typically bring them happiness. Lack of pleasure is a common symptom of depression. When someone is grieving, they will still be able to feel joy with activities that would typically make them happy.
  • Aches and pains are a common symptom in depression. A person who is grieving will have aches and pains with no discernable physical cause.
  • Self-esteem is severely impacted during an episode of major depression. With grief, self-esteem is intact. A grieving person may feel guilt related directly to the loss or death, but they will not experience pervasive feelings of shame or self-loathing that is typical in depression.
  • Thoughts of suicide and self-harm are common in cases of moderate to severe depression. A person who is grieving may think of death as a way to be reunited with a loved one. Depressed patients will think of suicide as an escape from emotional pain or because they feel overwhelming shame or self-loathing.

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