Sadness is a normal human emotion, and while it can be disabling, it’s usually temporary and manageable. Depression, on the other hand, is an illness that entails more chronic and consistent episodes. Being informed about the nature and symptoms of depression can help you recognize the disease in yourself or in a loved one. As with any disease, a proper, early diagnosis is a major key to effective treatment.
What are the Problems with Depression Diagnosis?
Because depression is often perceived as a purely psychological ailment, symptoms may be overlooked or disregarded. On the surface, sadness and depression are very similar, and depression is often characterized by overwhelming feelings of sadness. Depression also comes with a number of quantifiable physical symptoms such as lack of sleep or oversleeping.
Depressive symptoms can result from other physical ailments like thyroid illness and certain viruses, making the disease even more difficult to diagnose. If you think you may be suffering from depression, consult your primary care physician first for an initial opinion. A physical examination can rule out other potential sources of your symptoms, ensuring an accurate diagnosis.
What to Expect When Visiting a Doctor for a Diagnosis
When you visit a mental health professional to determine whether or not you are suffering from depression, she will typically begin by evaluating your family history. Depression can be inherited, and persons with a family record of depression may be genetically predisposed to the disease.
A doctor will ask questions pertaining to how long you have been experiencing the symptoms, how intense they have been and if you have ever experienced them before. Having an otherwise clean bill of health from your primary care physician will help establish primary depressive symptoms and provide avenues for possible treatments, which range from therapy and holistic measures to prescription drugs that regulate serotonin inhibitors in the brain.
Drugs and Alcohol
Mental health professionals will always ask if the patient uses drugs or alcohol. If you have been battling depression for the first time, and have also been using drugs and alcohol, the likelihood of a correspondence is high.
Depression might be a side effect of not only illegal drugs, but prescribed drugs you might be taking for another condition, so be thorough with your doctors.
If you have been contemplating causing harm to yourself, finding a psychiatrist to treat your depression is imperative.