Emotional and Mental Health

How to Diagnose Depression? - A View from a Psychiatrist

Written by Dr. Ravi M Soni and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan

 
Image: How to Diagnose Depression? - A View from a Psychiatrist

It has been said that depression is a common cold of psychiatry and it is very common in our society. There is 12% to 16% risk of developing depression to any individual during his or her lifetime. And it is more common in women than in men.

The etiology is on the basis of bio-psycho-social model; -- meaning there is a genetic component, there are neurotransmitter changes, daily hussles, chronic life stressors -- all these work in the development of depression.

If a person develops depression then, it does not mean that he is weak from his mind. Every individual is susceptible to it. Depression is diagnosed according to cluster of symptoms like duration of more than 14 days, with symptoms like:

  • Persistent sadness most of the time of day.
  • Decreased interest in previously pleasurable activities.
  • Anhedonia.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Appetite changes.
  • Easy fatigability.
  • Weakness.
  • Decreased concentration in work.
  • Excessive inappropriate guilt.
  • Hopelessness-helplessness-worthlessness.
  • Death wishes and
  • Suicidal thoughts.

The last 2 symptoms (Death wishes and Suicidal thoughts) when present, it indicates these are depression and immediate intervention and hospitalization is needed.

It has been researched and proved that up to 70% of the patient improves with anti-depressant medications only and 85% of the patient improves with electroconvulsive therapy. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is safe and very effective in context of its beneficial effects.

Last reviewed at: 25.Apr.2019

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