What is the diagnostic test for depression?
There are so many conditions in which the symptoms resemble depression. Also, so many people search for diagnostic tests for depression on the internet nowadays. But there is no specific test is available for the diagnosis of depression.
Certain conditions like thyroid disorders or other endocrine disorders may cause symptoms like sadness, mood swing, etc. Also if a person is suffering from any other serious medical illness, this may cause symptoms like depression.
A physician may do some physical testing to find out other medical issues that cause symptoms like depression, but if there is no significant findings are available then your doctor may refer a licensed mental health consultant.
Diagnostic criteria according to DSM-V for the depression
According to www.psycom.net which is a very known website the diagnostic criteria according to DSM-V are as follows;
- Depressed mood during all of the day, almost every day.
- Remarkably decline in interest in all activities done throughout all of the day, similarly every day.
- Marked weight loss even without dieting or in some cases weight gain or decline or incline in appetite almost every day.
- Delay in thought process and a reduction of physical gesture, which can be observed by people surrounding the person.
- Fatigue or loss of energy in daily routine.
- Feelings like ineffectiveness or excessive or inappropriate guilt almost every day.
- Marked reduce inthe ability to think or focus or concentration in daily routine.
- Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
These are some criteria for the diagnosis of depression, physician may take depth history of the patient to find out any of the above symptoms to rule out depression.
Physical examination for the diagnosis of depression.
As we told above in the article that there is no particular diagnostic test is available for depression, but the doctor may do a physical examination for other medical findings.
Physician’s first and main priorities are to do test for neurological and endocrinal findings. Defect or dysfunction in these two major systems may lead to the development of symptoms like depression. as for example
In endocrine overactivity of the thyroid gland lead to hyperthyroidism and low activity of the thyroid gland lead to hypothyroidism, both conditions produce symptoms like depression.
Other examples are
- Cushing’s syndrome and
- Other endocrinal disorders
Some time damage to any part of the nervous system or illness of the central nervous system may cause a depressive state to the person. These include; (Source)
- Tumors in the central nervous system
- Trauma or injury to head
- Prostate, Pancreatic, Breast and other types of cancers
- Multiple sclerosis
- Venereal disease like syphilis
These conditions sometimes may lead to depression, So physical examination is must be done from the site of a physician to find out the underlying physical cause.
Different scales used for diagnosis of depression
There are mainly the following scales used as a rating scale for the diagnosis of depression which is as follows;
Several rating scales are available to rate the severity of depression and some for mania also. It is mainly used in clinical studies not needed routinely in clinical practices.
Some rating scales used in Depression :
- BDI (Beck Depression Inventory)
- HAM-D (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression)
- Zung self-rating scale for depression
BDI ( Beck Depression Inventory )
- Self-rating scale
- 21 questions, each rated on a scale of 0 to 3
- Lowest possible overall score :0
- Highest possible overall score :3
One suggested scoring:
- Up to 10: borderline depression
- 11 to 16: mild depression
- 21 to 30: moderate depression
- 31 to 40: severe depression
- Above 40: extreme depression
HAM-D (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression)
It is also based on a questionnaire designed to help healthcare doctors to find out the severity of depression in people who have already been diagnosed.
- 21 questions are asked and the particular question is related to particular signs and symptoms.
- 4 multiple choices are given
- The highest score defines the severity of depression.
Zung self-rating scale for depression
It is one of the self-rating scales used for the diagnosis of depression and helps to determine the severity of depression by self-use.
- 20 questions are designed
- Each Q&A rated score between 20 to 80 points.
- The score between 80 to 69 remark to more depressed people
- A score above 69 remarks to severseverelyessed people