Diagnosis Of Depression

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Diagnosis Of Depression
Diagnosis Of Depression

Video: Diagnosis Of Depression

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Video: Depression: Diagnosis and Treatment 2023, January

Depression: diagnosis

Depression is diagnosed on the basis of various symptoms and taking into account the patient's life situation. Various diagnostic methods are used, such as the important anamnesis discussion or neurological tests. Don't hesitate to get help on time. The diagnosis of depression is based on so-called core symptoms and other possible signs. Physical symptoms can also occur. Once a diagnosis of depression is made, the disease is classified into mild, moderate, or severe forms.

Depression is characterized by a single or repeated occurrence. They can be diagnosed on the basis of characteristic symptoms and after excluding other diseases.


  • Continue reading
  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • What are the symptoms of depression?
  • How is Depression Diagnosed?
  • Recognizing suicide risk can save lives
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?

What are the symptoms of depression?

Mood swings are common in everyday life. How do you recognize a real depression? In this case, so-called core symptoms and other possible symptoms appear.

Main symptoms

The main symptoms are

  • depressed, depressed mood or "inner emptiness",
  • Interest and joylessness as well
  • Reduced drive, easy fatigue (even after minor exertion) Restrictions in activity.

Additional symptoms

Other symptoms include:

  • social withdrawal,
  • decreased concentration and attention,
  • decreased self-confidence,
  • Feelings of own worthlessness,
  • Feelings of guilt,
  • pessimistic or negative thoughts about the future,
  • Thoughts of suicide, self-harm, suicidal acts,
  • Sleep disorders,
  • decreased appetite as well
  • cognitive impairments.

In mild and moderate depressive episodes, it can also be classified whether a so-called somatic syndrome is present in addition to the main and additional symptoms:

  • Morning low (including particularly depressed mood in the morning),
  • Difficulty reacting with feelings to joyful events or friendly environments,
  • waking up early in the morning (approx. two or more hours before the usual "getting up" time),
  • significant loss of appetite,
  • Weight loss of often more than five percent of body weight per month
  • psychomotor inhibition or agitation as well
  • significant loss of libido (sexual desire).

In addition, the following symptoms, which are not directly indicative of depression, may be present:

  • Fatigue, physical exhaustion,
  • Indigestion,
  • A headache,
  • Feeling of pressure in the neck area, "globe feeling" (feeling as if you had a lump in your throat)
  • Problems with breathing or the cardiovascular system (fainting, rapid palpitations, etc.),
  • Dizziness,
  • Vision problems,
  • Muscle tension, nerve pain as well
  • Memory problems.

Note It is essential to clarify these physical symptoms medically in order to rule out that they are organic!

Women, men and children often differ in their depressive symptoms. If a patient is stuck in the middle of a depression, passivity, social withdrawal and physical exhaustion have the effect of maintaining the disease. The tendency to addictive behavior often increases during depression (e.g. alcohol dependence). Anxiety disorders and depression can often coexist.

How is Depression Diagnosed?

The following criteria, among others, are decisive for a diagnosis:

  • At least two main symptoms (three for a severe episode) for at least two weeks (shorter if symptoms are severe or occur particularly quickly) occur.
  • To determine the severity: in addition to the main symptoms, at least two additional symptoms appear for a mild episode, three to four for a moderate episode and more than four for a severe episode.
  • A somatic syndrome must have a mild or moderate depressive episode and four of the above characteristics must appear.

In the severe form, a distinction is made between whether psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations are present. For more information on the different forms of depression and their characteristics, see Depression: Forms & Gradients. If physical complaints that occur in a depressive disorder (e.g. headache or nausea) are not correctly interpreted, this can make the diagnosis of depression more difficult or significantly delayed.

People with depression often suffer from additional diseases (comorbidity). For example mental illnesses such as anxiety and panic disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, somatoform disorders and personality disorders. But also pain, dementia, diabetes mellitus, cancer and other chronic diseases occur together with depression.

Diagnostic options

The conversation with the patient and the taking of the anamnesis (medical history including illnesses in the family) are important cornerstones of the diagnosis of depression. In the area of ​​mental illness there are various symptoms that are specifically queried. The physical, emotional and social influences are always taken into account. At the first consultation with a doctor, only physical complaints (e.g. pain) or symptoms such as tiredness and listlessness are often mentioned. However, these can indicate depression. A physical examination is always necessary and includes one.

The examining doctor can also use laboratory tests (blood sampling) or radiological imaging (CT or MRI of the brain, ultrasound of the vessels supplying the brain, etc.) for diagnosis. Special interview questionnaires facilitate the diagnosis of depression, e.g. questionnaires for the diagnosis of depression according to DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). In addition, the origin of the depression must be investigated.

The so-called "two-question test" offers a very simple, short, but targeted recording for orientation. These two questions are asked:

  • "Have you felt down a lot, sadly depressed, or hopeless in the past month?"
  • "In the last month, have you had significantly less pleasure and pleasure in things that you normally enjoy doing?"

If both questions are answered with "yes", further clarification is important in any case.

Recognizing suicide risk can save lives

Since depressed people are at greater risk of killing themselves, it is important to recognize suicidal intentions in good time and to take countermeasures. Recognizing the risk of suicide in good time can save lives! You can find more information on this on the public suicide prevention portal.

Whom can I ask?

Early detection of depression and thus timely treatment are - as with other diseases - of high value. It is therefore important not to hesitate to consult a doctor in the event of suspicion or to sensitively draw the attention of an affected person to possible help.

If you feel down or if you suspect that you are suffering from depression, you can contact:

  • General practitioner
  • Specialist in psychiatry
  • Psychotherapist
  • Clinical psychologist

For more information on how to find a place to go, see Health Search.

How are the costs going to be covered?

The costs for the medical examination are covered by social insurance. For more information about visiting a doctor, see Costs and Deductibles.

A full assumption of costs for psychotherapy is possible in own or contractually bound institutions of the health insurance carriers as well as in institutions that are subsidized by the public purse. In these cases, there is the option of paying a deductible. Otherwise, you have the option of applying for a subsidy from the health insurance company if you are undergoing psychotherapy with a resident psychotherapist. If this is approved, the health insurance provider will reimburse you for part of the fee paid to the psychotherapist. However, the health insurance carriers only provide a subsidy if there is an illness-related disorder.You can find further information on "Psychotherapy on sickness certificate", cost subsidies and addresses of resident psychotherapists under Services.

Clinical-psychological diagnosis is a service provided by the health system, the costs of which are borne by the health insurance carriers. With a medical or psychotherapeutic referral, patients can take advantage of a psychological examination by a contract psychologist for clinical-psychological diagnostics. You have to bear the costs for treatment or advice from resident clinical psychologists, as this is not a benefit from health insurance.

You can also find more information about costs at:

  • What does the hospital stay cost?
  • Prescription fee: This is how drug costs are covered
  • Rehabilitation & cure
  • Health Professions AZ

and via the online guide to reimbursement of social insurance costs.

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