How is depression diagnosed?

If you are concerned that you are suffering from depression, you should urgently contact your family doctor or a psychiatrist or psychotherapist directly. The doctor will first talk to you in detail in order to take your medical history ( anamnesis ).

The following questions, aimed at typical symptoms of depression, are often part of this initial consultation:

  • Has your mood often been depressed or depressed in the past few weeks?
  • Have you often felt unhappy lately?
  • Have you often been listless and tired lately?
  • Have you had a lot of self-doubt, guilt, or negative thoughts lately?
  • Do you suffer from insomnia?
  • Have you had trouble concentrating lately?
  • Has your appetite changed recently?
  • How long have these symptoms lasted?

The diagnosis is more difficult when physical symptoms are the main focus. Many patients complain of headaches, backaches, abdominal pains and cardiovascular problems. Describe all symptoms to the doctor in as much detail as possible.

Physical exams for diagnosis of depression

Various examinations make it possible to rule out physical causes of depression symptoms. This includes a blood test , possibly also a computed tomography (CT) of the brain. Because sometimes depressive symptoms can be traced back to, for example, low blood sugar levels, a lack of vitamin B12 , substance abuse, dementia , hypothyroidism or changes in the brain.

If the suspicion of depression is confirmed, the doctor will refer you to a specialized clinic or an outpatient psychiatrist or psychotherapist.