If you suspect that you are experiencing teenage depression you should talk to your parents about making an appointment with your doctor immediately. Depression is a serious medical condition that requires proper treatment. The sooner you begin treatment for teenage depression, the sooner you will begin to experience relief of your symptoms.
Diagnosing Teen Depression
In diagnosing teen depression, your doctor conducts a variety of medical tests to determine whether you have depression or possibly some other medical disorder with depression-like symptoms.
Your doctor will first ask you about the symptoms you have been experiencing. This is the most important step in your depression diagnosis. Your doctor can look for physical signs of depression during the office visit, but the real key to diagnosing teen depression is finding out how you act, think and feel on a day-to-day basis.
Your physician will probably ask you questions such as:
- Do you have a family history of depression?
- Have you had thoughts about hurting yourself?
- How have you been feeling lately?
- How long have you been feeling this way?
- Is there anything going on in your life that has been bothering you?
Prepare your answers to these questions and write down your symptoms before you visit your doctor so that you wonÃ•t forget important information that your doctor may need in order to make an accurate depression diagnosis. You might bring a family member with you who can help you provide information about all of your symptoms. You may have symptoms of teen depression you are not even aware of.
Diagnosing Teen Depression: Physical Exam
A physical examination can help your doctor to determine whether you have depression or another medical condition that is causing your symptoms. For example, a lack of sleep can be an important symptom of teen depression, but sometimes a physical disorder or a medication causes sleeplessness. Your doctor can check for conditions that are associated with insomnia.
Diagnosing Teen Depression: Neurological Examination
A neurological exam is a series of questions and tests that provides information about the health of your brain and nervous system. Your doctor will test things like your:
- Responsiveness to certain stimuli.
Diagnosing Teen Depression: Psychiatric Examination
Your doctor may also conduct a psychiatric exam to test some of your mental functions, such as your attention span and memory. Both of these are negatively affected by teen depression.
With these tests, your doctor will be able to give you a clear depression diagnosis and prescribe the treatment for depression that you need in order to feel better. According to the Nemours Foundation, four out of five people begin to feel better once they start treatment for depression.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Preparing for your appointment. Retrieved May 6, 2010, from the Mayo Clinic website: www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175/DSECTION=preparing-for-your-appointment.
National Alliance on Mental Illness Staff. (n.d.) Depression symptoms, causes and diagnosis. Retrieved May 4, 2010, from the National Alliance on Mental Illness website: www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Mental_Illnesses/Depression/ Depression_Symptoms,_Causes_and_Diagnosis.htm.
Nemade, R., et al. (n.d.) Major depression and other unipolar depressions. Retrieved May 5, 2010, from the MentalHealth.net website: www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=438&cn=5.
The Nemours Foundation Staff. (n.d.) Getting help. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from the TeensHealthÂ¨ website: http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/feeling_sad/depression.html#a_Getting_Help.