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 Depression  Holistic-online.com

Diagnosing Depression

Studies show that 74 percent of people seeking help for depression go to their primary care physician, and that 50 percent of these cases are misdiagnosed. Of the cases that are correctly diagnosed by a general practitioner, 80 percent are given too little medication for too short a time. Some of this mishandling may occur because the patients are treated for physical symptoms, such as sleep problems, fatigue or weight loss, without considering depression as a possible root cause. When diagnosing for depression, tests should be given to rule out any organic factors - such as nutrient deficiencies, hypothyroidism, reactions to drugs - that can produce similar symptoms. And here are the steps to do a correct diagnosis:

According to DSM-IV, the diagnostic manual from American Psychiatric Association, criteria used by mental health professionals, you have Major Depressive Disorder if:


You have had an episode of depression lasting at least two weeks with at least five of the following symptoms: 
(1) You are depressed, sad, blue, tearful. 
(2) You have lost interest or pleasure in things you previously liked to do. 
(3) Your appetite is much less or much greater than usual and you have lost or gained weight. 
(4) You have a lot of trouble sleeping or sleep too much. 
(5) You are so agitated, restless, or slowed down that others have begun to notice. 
(6) You are tired and have no energy. 
(7) You feel worthless or excessively guilty about things you have done or not done. 
(8) You have trouble concentrating, thinking clearly, or making decisions. 
(9) You feel you would be better off dead or have thoughts about killing yourself.


These symptoms are severe enough to upset your daily routine, or to seriously impair your work, or to interfere with your relationships.


The depression does not have a specific cause like alcohol, drugs, medication side effect, or physical illness.


Your depression is not just a normal reaction to the death of a loved one.

It is important to recognize that most of us go through ups and downs in our life periodically, as a result of events such as death of a loved one, loss of a job, serious illnesses in the family, etc. These are not signs of clinical depression as we get out of them in a short period of time and spring back to our normal activities. The clinical depression is characterized by persistent depression. At least 5 of the above conditions have to be satisfied to be classified as major depression. It is important for you to recognize the signs of the illness that requires treatment as opposed to occasional "blues."

We will look at the important manifestations of depression in more detail.

Depressed Mood

Decreased Interest or Pleasure in Things

Weight or Appetite Change

Sleep Disturbances

Agitation and Lethargy


Feeling Worthless or Guilty

Difficulty Concentrating or Making Decisions

Feeling As If Life Is No Longer Worth Living (Suicidal Thoughts)

Next Topic: Depressed Mood

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