Depression and how is it diagnosed

 Depression and how is it diagnosed

Depression is a medical condition that can influence your mood and capacity to operate. Bipolar depression, Clinical depression, dysthymia, seasonal affective disorder, and other kinds of depression are among them. Counseling, medicine, brain stimulation, and complementary therapies are all available as treatment options.

Feeling depressed can entail sadness, anxiety, or hopelessness. In addition, the condition could make it challenging to recall things, eat, and sleep. You must experience these feelings daily for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with severe depressive disorder i.e., clinical depression, which also includes other symptoms such as trouble sleeping, a lack of interest in activities, or changes in eating.

Sadness is a normal, healthy emotion. Some people experience sudden sadness that is brought on by something as simple as a song playing on the radio. Others, however, struggle to identify the cause of their unhappiness, and their sad feelings persist. They are unable to manage it or snap out of it. It results in persistent emotions and thoughts. Many people struggle to focus, lose interest in routine daily chores, and feel exhausted. These are all symptoms of depression, a mood condition sometimes known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression.

Symptoms of depression

Your emotions, intellect, and body can all be impacted by depression. Feeling extremely depressed, hopeless, or anxious are among the signs of depression.

  • Not delighting in activities that once brought you joy.
  • Being prone to annoyance or frustration.
  • Eating too little or too much.
  • Alterations in your sleep patterns.
  • Having trouble focusing or recalling information.
  • Having issues, such as a headache, a stomach ache, sexual dysfunction, or difficulty.
  • Considering harming or killing oneself.

Causes of depression

Many things can lead to depression, including:

Brain chemistry: Brain chemistry issues could be the cause of depression.

Genetics: You may be more prone to developing depression if a family member already struggles with it.

Life events: Depression can be brought on by stress, the loss of a loved one, traumatic experiences, loneliness, and a lack of social support. 

Medical condition: Chronic physical discomfort and ailments might contribute to depression. Depression frequently coexists with other conditions in humans, including cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and others.

Medication: Depression is a side effect of some drugs. Alcohol and recreational substances can both induce depression or exacerbate it.

Personality: People who struggle with managing their time or get easily distracted may be more prone to depression.

Types of Depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD)

Clinical depression, often known as major depression, is characterized by severe or overpowering symptoms that persist for more than two weeks. These symptoms make daily life difficult.

Postpartum or perinatal depression

Depression during pregnancy and after delivery is referred to as "perinatal" depression. This is frequently referred to as postpartum depression. Perinatal depression can happen at any time throughout pregnancy or even up to a year after giving birth. The baby blues, which produce slight melancholy, concern, or stress, are only one set of symptoms.

Bipolar depression 

Manic moments with extremely high levels of energy are occasionally followed by depressive episodes in people with bipolar illness. At this time, they may suffer depression symptoms including melancholy, hopelessness, or exhaustion.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

PDD stands for persistent depressive disorder; another name for it is dysthymia. PDD symptoms are milder than those of major depression. However, in some people, PDD symptoms might linger for up to two years.

Psychotic depression 

Those who suffer from psychotic depression experience significant depressive symptoms as well as hallucinations or delusions. Hallucinations involve seeing, hearing, or feeling touched by things that aren't truly there, whereas delusions are beliefs in things that aren't grounded in reality.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

A very severe form of the premenstrual disorder (PMS) is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). In the days or weeks before their period cycle, women are affected.

Seasonal depression

Often known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), typically begins in the late fall or early winter. Typically, during the spring and summer, it disappears.

Diagnosis of depression

Your doctor may determine that you have depression based on:

Physical exam. Your physician might do a physical examination and inquire about your health. Sometimes a physical health issue may be the underlying cause of depression.

Lab testing. For instance, your doctor might check your thyroid to see if it is functioning properly or perform a blood test called a complete blood count.

Psychiatric assessment. Your mental health expert will enquire about your signs, patterns of thought and behavior, and feelings. To assist in addressing these inquiries, you might be requested to complete a questionnaire.

DSM-5. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association contains criteria for diagnosing depression. Your mental health provider may make use of these criteria.

Treatment for depression

There are several different ways to treat depression. You might need to combine many strategies or attempt different tactics. What works well for one depressed individual might not work for another. Your medical staff will let you know about the choices that are secure for you.

You might need to learn to treat your depression in the treatment center, or an inpatient mental health care facility, or participate in outpatient treatment programs if your symptoms are extreme or your mental health team believes you are at risk of injuring yourself or another person.

Remember that the procedure may take some time. In reaction to changes in your life, you might also need to modify how you handle your depressive symptoms.


For treating depression regular exercise, adequate rest, and quality time with loved ones should be considered. It can be quite difficult to take care of your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs while you are depressed. You can feel guilty and ashamed if you have trouble taking care of yourself, such as taking a shower or cleaning your house, going grocery shopping, working, or engaging in other regular activities.

Asking for assistance can seem impossible, but even simple, healthy changes can help you cope with depressive symptoms. Making sure you can go to your doctor or therapy appointments, getting your trash carried out, filling your kitchen with simple-to-prepare meals, and having help with household chores are just a few examples.

Counseling or therapy

Speaking with a mental health practitioner is counseling or psychotherapy. Your therapist aids in problem-solving and coping skill development. Sometimes only a short course of therapy is required. Some people stay in therapy for longer. Another well-liked option for treating depression is psychotherapy, both by itself and in conjunction with antidepressants. Working one-on-one or in a group with a therapist during psychotherapy allows you to discuss your feelings, experiences, and perspectives on the world and yourself. Together, you might be able to pinpoint some underlying factors or depression triggers. Once you are aware of them, you may start developing efficient coping mechanisms.


Antidepressants, a class of prescription drugs, can help alter the brain chemistry that underlies depression. It may take a few weeks for antidepressants to start working. Even while some antidepressants have side effects, these effects typically improve with time. If not, speak with your provider. You might see better results from other drugs. Medication is one of the first-line therapies for clinical depression. Antidepressants come in a variety of forms, but those from the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) class are the ones that are most usually given.

Doctors and patients alike typically prefer SSRIs like Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram), Zoloft (sertraline),  and Paxil (paroxetine) since they typically have fewer and less annoying side effects compared to previous classes of antidepressants.

Brain stimulation therapy: Brain stimulation therapy may help those who experience severe depression or depression paired with psychosis. Examples of brain stimulation therapies include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

Alternative medicine

Those with mild depression or recurrent symptoms of the disorder can benefit from complementary therapy. Massage, acupuncture, hypnosis, and biofeedback are all forms of therapy.

Physical exercise

According to research, exercising your body can help with both the physical and emotional symptoms of depression. Your body releases endorphins during exercise, which can improve your mood. Additionally, regular exercise helps maintain strong muscles and bones, enhances cardiovascular health, and supports a healthy weight.

Activities and hobbies

Losing interest in past interests or pastimes is a common sign of depression. When you are depressed, it might be difficult to stay motivated and focused. Finding ways to keep your mind active is difficult, but it's a crucial component of learning how to deal with depression.

Start with a pastime or activity you already know you enjoy, and attempt to set little goals for yourself to strive toward. While learning a completely new skill may not be something you feel capable of doing while you're depressed, keeping your mind active without placing too much weight on yourself can be a beneficial coping mechanism.

You could feel overwhelmed by all the varied facets of life with a mental illness if you or a loved one suffers from clinical depression. Even though each person's experience with depression will be different, there are some similarities among symptoms, causes, and treatments. You should talk to your mental health care team about your specific symptoms. They will assist you in determining the safest and most efficient course of treatment for you, which may involve either therapy, medication, or both. You may rely on your support system, whether it be in-person or online, as you develop coping mechanisms for depressive symptoms. Asking for assistance from others can be challenging when you're depressed. It's crucial to keep in mind that you don't have to deal with every facet of living with depression at once and you don't have to go through it alone.

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