How Is Depression Diagnosed
If you are concerned about your mental health, or the mental health of someone you care about, its important you speak with a health professional, such as a GP. A mental health assessment usually involves a discussion or answering a questionnaire, as well as a physical examination. This will help your doctor differentiate between mental and physical health problems.
Your doctor will want to understand how you feel and think, and check for any symptoms of depression, such as in your energy levels, appetite, sleep and whether you are feeling restless, hopeless or sad. If you have a family history of mental illness either depression or some other condition tell your GP since this can help with your diagnosis. Your answers will help your GP determine whether a specialist such as a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist might be helpful.
Rule Out Other Conditions
If you identify with the symptoms of depression, your next step should be a visit to your family doctor or general practitioner for a thorough exam and screening. Your provider will ask you about your health history and risk factors and may use written questionnaires to assess your symptoms.
Your family doctor or general practitioner will also want to rule out several medical conditions that can contribute to symptoms of depression, such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies, female hormonal changes, and thyroid conditions. In addition, several medications may have depressive symptoms as a side effect.
If your general practitioner doesn’t find any of these factors as a cause of your depression, they may prescribe an antidepressant or refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor.
In 2017, an estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States experienced at least one episode of severe depression, or 7.1% of all adults. For adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, the percentage is even higher, with an estimated 3.2 million adolescents in the U.S. experiencing at least one major depressive episode in a year.
There Are Many Resources Available To You
Even if you are unable or unwilling to take the big step yet by seeing a psychiatrist, you should at least do some more research. There are a number of internet resources on depression which range from providing information, personal accounts, ways of promoting recovery. Here is a list of some useful sites:
General information about depression:
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You Have Little Or No Energy Most Of The Time
When youre struggling psychologically, your body feels it, too. Depression can drain your energy quickly, and you might find yourself feeling fatigued on most days. Moving slowly, forgoing exercise and longing just to lie down are all common with depression.
You might lack the energy to upkeep your household or care for children or pets, and even small tasks like showering can feel like insurmountable chores.
Medications To Treat Depression
- 9 minute read
While depression is a common mental health condition that can begin at any age in life, its most commonly diagnosed in early adulthood. Because depression affects the brain, some medication for depression has proven beneficial for treatment. The American Psychiatric Association estimates that anywhere from 80% 90% of people who seek treatment for their depression see positive results.
Antidepressant medication is often the first line of treatment for depression medications. However, there are options for other types of medication and holistic or therapeutic treatments for depression, too.
Depression can have a major impact on your life, and while depression medication isnt necessarily a cure, it might help reduce or relieve some of the symptoms you may be experiencing. Major symptoms of depression can include:
- Having a short temper or reacting quickly
- Persistent and often uncontrollable thoughts about bad things happening
- An inability or lack of motivation to take care of yourself
- Feeling unable to carry out your daily responsibilities
- Psychotic symptoms in extreme cases including hallucinations or delusions
- Thoughts of death, self harm, or suicidal thoughts
When symptoms of depression last for multiple weeks or begin to have a significant impact on how you function, you may be experiencing whats known as severe depression.
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Economists Who Say This Recession Will Be The Next Great Depression
Leading economists believe the United States may have already entered a recession as the coronavirus crisis unfolds. | Image: REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman
- Theres little doubt that a recession is inevitable in the wake of coronavirus.
- More people are Googling recession and unemployment than during the financial crisis.
- But maybe they should start Googling depression. Because these leading analysts say were headed for another Great Depression.
The U.S. economy will probably slip into a recession this quarter and next. While the stock market is now back where it was three years and $11.5 trillion ago, unemployment has rocketed to catastrophic highs.
Goldman Sachs projects a sharp swing into recession with 6% negative growth in quarter one, and a 24% contraction in quarter two.
Because of the suddenness and intensity of job layoffs, economists fear this one will be worse than the Great Recession. Analysts say even the $2 trillion stimulus package wont hold back a recession.
While people are lighting up Google search with queries for coronavirus, searches for unemployment and recession are far outpacing volume after the financial crisis. But we might be heading or a depression instead.
A recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, while a depression is much more severe and lasts far longer. These five economists say thats whats coming.
You’re Dealing With Unexplained Aches And Pains
“Emotional pain from depression that you aren’t getting help for can be channeled throughout your body and show up as physical ailments, like headaches, stomach problems, neck and back pain, even nausea,” says Thomas. “I see this with many of my patients they’re holding so much sadness and distress inside, these feelings end up playing out in other ways.” Not every cramp or twinge is a symptom of depression, of course. But if you’re suffering from a chronic ailment you can’t attribute to another cause that isn’t clearing up on its own, “see a doctor to get it checked out, but also consider it a possible sign of depression too,” says Thomas.
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Natural Treatment For Depression
Traditional depression treatment uses a combination of prescription medication and counseling. But there are also alternative or complementary treatments you can try.
Its important to remember that many of these natural treatments have few studies showing their effects on depression, good or bad.
Likewise, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesnt approve many of the dietary supplements on the market in the United States, so you want to make sure youre buying products from a trustworthy brand.
Talk to your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your treatment plan.
Why A Mental Health Professional Is Best
It’s very importantespecially if this is your first time seeking treatment for depressionthat you obtain a referral to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional if your general practitioner suspects depression.
Though your family doctor or general practitioner may offer to prescribe you an antidepressant, they are not always the best-qualified doctor to treat depression. They do not possess the training to offer you psychotherapy nor are they experienced in the nuances of prescribing psychotropic medications the way that a psychiatrist is.
Psychiatry is a blend of art and science. Treating depression is not quite as simple as giving someone a prescription for Zoloft or Prozac and sending them on their way. Some individuals will need several trials of different medications to find one that best relieves their symptoms with the least amount of side effects.
Some people will need more than one medication to counteract side effects or to boost positive effects. Most will likely benefit from adding psychotherapy to the mix. Discussing options with your psychiatrist will determine the best path.
Depression Discussion Guide
Besides the medication specifics, you may have a completely different mental health condition and not depression. Bipolar disorder is one such disorder that may be initially misdiagnosed as depression but requires a very different course of treatment.
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They Might Not Look Depressed
Due to media and cultural stereotypes, most of us have assumptions about how someone behaves and looks if theyre struggling with depression. We imagine someone who rarely leaves their room, doesnt dress themselves well, and constantly looks miserable, but people with depression do not all behave in the same way.
All people are, of course, different from each other, and the symptoms and coping abilities of people with depression also differ. Many are able to keep up a facade of good mental health to protect themselves, but they arent suffering any less simply because they can do this. Similarly, those who are unable to keep up such a facade are not weaker than those who can.
Major Or Clinical Depression
Major depression is much less common than mild or moderate and is characterized by severe, relentless symptoms.
- Left untreated, major depressive disorder typically lasts for about six months.
- Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but major depression can be a recurring disorder.
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Your Energy Level Has Hit The Wall
Depression-related lethargy may be simply the consequence of not eating enough or sleeping too much. But it’s also the result of having a black cloud of sadness or hopelessness over you all the time. Dealing with chronic emotional pain is an energy suck, and it makes you too dragged and tired to tackle routine tasks, not to mention work and family responsibilities. “You feel overwhelmed by day to day life even getting out of bed and taking a shower becomes exhausting,” says Wolkin. When you’re always tired and that fatigue impairs your life, it’s time to seek help.
What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment
If you are not happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor to see if they can suggest changes,
- get an advocate to help you speak your doctor,
- ask for a second opinion if you feel it would help,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
An advocate is independent from the NHS. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. They arent available in all areas.
You can ask an advocate to help you make a complaint. Advocates that do this are called NHS complaints advocates. They are free to use and don t work for the NHS. They re available in all areas.
You can search online to search for a local advocacy service. If you cant find a service you can call our advice service 0808 801 0525 . You can email us too at . We will look for you.
Talk to your doctor about your treatment to see if you can resolve the problem with them first. If you dont agree with their decisions about diagnosis or treatment, you could ask for a second opinion. You are not legally entitled to a second opinion, but your doctor might agree to it if it would help with treatment options.
- Advocacy by clicking here.
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Beyond Treatment: Things You Can Do
Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:
- Try to be active and exercise.
- Set realistic goals for yourself.
- Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative.
- Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
- Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately.
- Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
- Continue to educate yourself about depression.
The Brain’s Impact On Depression
Popular lore has it that emotions reside in the heart. Science, though, tracks the seat of your emotions to the brain. Certain areas of the brain help regulate mood. Researchers believe that more important than levels of specific brain chemicals nerve cell connections, nerve cell growth, and the functioning of nerve circuits have a major impact on depression. Still, their understanding of the neurological underpinnings of mood is incomplete.
Signs You Should Talk With Your Doctor About Depression
Havent felt like yourself lately or longer than just lately? When you feel tired all the time, disinterested in the people, places and activities you love and altogether fatigued in body and mind, you might be facing depression. But you dont have to struggle with it alone, and you can receive help.
Depression isnt a dirty word. Its an extremely common mental health condition almost 17 million Americans have major depressive disorder and most importantly, you can overcome it. Depression might come and go during your lifetime, but its nothing to be ashamed of, and its fully treatable.
If you feel like you might have depression, its normal to feel nervous talking about it. However, your health care team wants to help you feel like yourself again. Your physician, as well as the whole team of compassionate people at the AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute, are here to talk through your symptoms with you non-judgmentally and help you get the treatment that works.
Onset Of Depression More Complex Than A Brain Chemical Imbalance
It’s often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but that figure of speech doesn’t capture how complex the disease is. Research suggests that depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.
To be sure, chemicals are involved in this process, but it is not a simple matter of one chemical being too low and another too high. Rather, many chemicals are involved, working both inside and outside nerve cells. There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.
With this level of complexity, you can see how two people might have similar symptoms of depression, but the problem on the inside, and therefore what treatments will work best, may be entirely different.
What follows is an overview of the current understanding of the major factors believed to play a role in the causes of depression.
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Depression Treatment And A Psychiatrist
On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons to start with a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or therapist right away.
Some of these are psychological you may want to begin treatment with a clean slate, or with someone you dont already have a rapport with.
But more importantly, a therapist offers immediate access to specialized skills for treatment.
Starting with a therapist or psychiatrist allows you to begin therapy immediately, voicing your concerns and problems and introducing yourself with a focus on what you want to address.
This initial assessment will set you up for what your depression therapy sessions will look like in the future, whether you meet once a week or more or less often, depending on your needs.
And while a healthcare professional may only spend a few minutes on your mental health during a checkup, a therapist will give you the entire session of between 30 and 50 minutes.
And therapy may also give you the space to work on some relationships, because it can be done with other people.
While both psychiatry practitioners and general healthcare providers will be able to prescribe you medication, the regularity of therapy visits will give you a more effective way of judging the medicines effectiveness, as youll be meeting regularly to discuss progress over months or even years.
Therapists will also help you set your own goals based on what youve asked for help with.
Should You Treat Depression With Medication
Your doctor or psychiatrist can fully discuss your treatment options and go over everything you need to know about any depression medication youre considering.
Its important to keep in mind that the earlier you treat your depression, the more effective treatment tends to be. Equally important is understanding that there is no shame in taking medication for your depression. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 13% of Americans took an antidepressant within a 30-day time period between 2015-2018. That number continues to grow, which means youre not alone in dealing with your depression.
When you talk to a prescriber or psychiatrist, you can ask any of the following.
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Is It Depression Or Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves serious shifts in moods, energy, thinking, and behavior. Because it looks so similar to depression when in the low phase, it is often overlooked and misdiagnosed.
This can be a serious problem as taking antidepressants for bipolar disorder can actually make the condition worse. If youve ever gone through phases where you experienced excessive feelings of euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior, consider getting evaluated for bipolar disorder.