Physical exam: This may include measuring your height and weight; checking your vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature; listening to your heart and lungs; and examining your abdomen.
Laboratory tests: For example, your doctor may suggest you to do a blood test called a complete blood count (CBC) or test your thyroid to make sure it’s functioning properly.
To be diagnosed with major depression, you must have five or more of the following symptoms over a two-week period.
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, such as feeling sad, empty or tearful (in children and adolescents, depressed mood can appear as constant irritability)
- Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day (in children, failure to gain weight as expected can be a sign of depression)
- Insomnia or increased desire to sleep nearly every day
- Either restlessness or slowed behavior that can be observed by others
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
- Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
- Trouble making decisions or trouble thinking or concentrating nearly every day
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or a suicide attempt
To be considered major depression:
- Your symptoms aren’t due to a mixed episode — simultaneous mania and depression that can occur in bipolar disorder
- Symptoms must be severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others
- Symptoms are not due to the direct effects of something else, such as drug abuse, taking a medication or having a medical condition such as hypothyroidism
- Symptoms are not caused by grieving, such as temporary sadness after the loss of a loved one