Aging & Health A to Z
Diagnosis & Tests
If you have some of the symptoms of depression, you may be suffering from the condition and should seek treatment. Contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible. Even if your depression isn’t severe, your healthcare professional can assess your situation and make sure that you receive the care that you need.
When you see your healthcare professional, he or she will ask you questions about your mood. Although you may feel uncomfortable talking about your feelings, it is extremely important that you do so. Your healthcare professional will probably also use screening tests and questionnaires that are helpful in diagnosing depression.
It’s a good idea to bring a family member or caregiver who knows your normal moods and can report changes when you visit your healthcare professional. This person may be able to provide additional helpful information, such as recent mood changes or whether depression runs in your family.
Other problems can cause symptoms similar to those of depression. Your healthcare professional can determine whether you are depressed or have these symptoms as a result of other health problems, such as:
- Congestive heart failure
- Parkinson’s disease
- Thyroid problems
- Chemical imbalances (for example, low potassium levels)
- Nutritional deficiencies (such as low vitamin B12 levels)
- Other mental disorders (such as dementia or delirium).
Updated: March 2012
Posted: March 2012