Mental health has long been neglected. Fortunately, things have started changing and we are all now paying more and more attention to our own psychological wellbeing, as well as to the wellbeing of our family members and friends. We have become more attentive to certain symptoms and we are constantly learning how to behave and what to do when we notice signs of certain disorders in ourselves or in other people.
Among other things, people are now read to learn more about how to actually support a friend that is depressed. Additionally, most of us are also ready to take our own mental health seriously and ask for help when we feel that we need it. Since I have mentioned depression, let us stick with it for a while and talk about some important things in connection with this disorder.
People often have a lot of questions when it comes to depression. The most common ones are connected to the process of diagnosing it and to the process of treating it. So, what we are going to do now is help you get a better understanding of how depression is diagnosed, and then tell you a bit more about what you should do if you believe you are depressed, or if you’ve been diagnosed already.
How Depression Is Diagnosed
We are going to take things one step at a time, and the first thing we need to clear up is the diagnosing process. Diagnosing this disorder is certainly not easy, and before we get to it, I want to explain one thing first. The word “depression” is severely overused and misinterpreted today. We could even say that it is being abused for one reason or another, as people usually have something to gain by declaring that they are depressed when they are feeling a bit down.
This has to stop, though. This is a serious mental disorder that should not be underestimated, and the overuse of the word certainly leads to it not being taken seriously. Being sad is not depression, grieving is not depression, and it is time for everyone to stop misusing the word, since the misuse contributes to the lack of real awareness and objective knowledge regarding this disorder.
Read more about the diagnosing process: https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-diagnosis
The first thing you need to know when the diagnosing process is in question is this. You need to see a professional, because setting the diagnosis yourself and claiming that you’re depressed won’t really get you any far. Of course, if you’re hoping that a simple blood test will provide you with the answer here, then you are wrong once again.
Blood tests could perhaps give the professionals some indicators, and they can be useful in that they can help eliminate some organic disorders from the list of potential causes of your low mood and similar symptoms. Yet, the lab test cannot really do much when it comes to actually diagnosing depression. Instead of doing blood tests, medical professionals that are in this line of work will actually try to set the diagnosis by asking questions.
You’ll need to talk about yourself and you’ll probably need to take certain tests as well. This will help the experts determine the changes in your behavior and the severity of your symptoms. Those behavioral changes are extremely important here, since we are all different, and what might be perceived as depressive behavior in some people might simply be normal for others. Thus, you need to be clear when explaining what is and was normal for you, as well as how your behavior has changed recently.
If the professionals assess that you have had one or more major depressive episodes in a particular period of time, they will be able to give the diagnosis easily. There are some important symptoms that doctors look for during the depression diagnosis process. Usually if a person is experiencing 5 or more of those symptoms over a certain period of time, he or she can be diagnosed with this disorder. The symptoms are:
- Loss of energy and fatigue
- Lack of interest in things that were previously enjoyed
- Depressive mood for the most part of the day
- Appetite reduction, weight loss or weight gain
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pervasive thoughts of death or suicide
- Sleeping issues
What To Do If You Are Depressed
If you’ve been diagnosed with this disorder, then you certainly have a big problem, and nobody can deny that. The good thing is that getting help really isn’t that difficult. There are psychiatrists and psychotherapists that have specialized in treating depression, and they’ll be able to recommend you the right course of treatment, which will usually include medications and talk therapy. So, all you have to do is find the right people and ask for help.