Depression Health (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Depression Diagnosis

Many providers of health care may help diagnose clinical depression: licensed mental-health therapists, family physicians, or other primary-care providers, specialists whom you see for a medical condition, emergency physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and social workers.

If one of these professionals suspects that you have depression, you will undergo an extensive medical interview and physical examination. As part of this examination, you may be asked a series of questions from a standardized questionnaire or self-test to help assess your risk of depression and suicide.

Depression may be associated with a number of other medical conditions or can be a side effect of various medications. For this reason, routine laboratory tests are often performed during the initial evaluation to rule out other causes of your symptoms. Occasionally, an X-ray, scan, or other imaging study may be needed.

Depression Treatment

If your symptoms indicate that you have clinical depression, your health-care provider will strongly recommend treatment. Treatment may include addressing any medical conditions that cause or worsen depression. For example, an individual who is found to have low levels of thyroid hormone might receive thyroid hormone replacement with levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl). Other components of treatment may be supportive therapy, such as changes in lifestyle and behavior, psychotherapy, complementary therapies, and may often include medication. If your symptoms of depression are severe enough to warrant treatment with medication, you are most likely to feel better faster and for longer when medication treatment is combined with psychotherapy.

Most practitioners will continue treatment of major depression for six months to a year. Treatment for teens with depression can have a significantly positive effect on the adolescent's functioning with peers, family, and at school. Without treatment, your symptoms will last much longer and may never get better. In fact, they may get worse. With treatment, your chances of recovery are quite good.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/8/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Depression - Effective Treatments Question: What kinds of treatments have been effective for your depression?
Depression - Symptoms Question: What are your depression symptoms?
Depression - Medications Question: What was the medications for your depression?
Depression - Prevention Question: What prevention measures do you use to avoid getting a depression?