To diagnose depression, your healthcare provider will consider your symptoms in relation to the symptoms of depression listed in a medical guide called the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,”or DSM-5. It’s published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM-5 is the authoritative guide to diagnosing mental disorders in the United States. It contains disorder descriptions and symptom information. The DSM-5 states that at least five or more of the above symptoms must be present during the same two-week period to confirm a diagnosis of depression.
Along with that information, there are a number of medical tests your doctor can use to help confirm a diagnosis and rule out other conditions, including:
- Questionnaire: Your doctor or primary care physician may ask you how you’ve been feeling about your moods lately, and they may ask you to take a short questionnaire to help identify any symptoms.
- Physical exam: This is used to gather information about your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs.
- Lab tests: A complete blood count test and thyroid test can help rule out other conditions, such as thyroid problems, which can cause symptoms similar to depression.
- Psychological tests: Your doctor may refer you to a psychologist or other mental health provider who can administer a more detailed psychological evaluation to assess your feelings, thoughts, and patterns of behavior that may indicate depression.
There are many different types of depression, and these tests can help diagnose a specific form of depression. Depression can manifest in many ways, including:
- atypical features
Depression often goes undiagnosed. See a doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms. It’s important to get a diagnosis from a doctor or healthcare professional and to not self-diagnose.