Home > Medical > Depression > Overview 06 February 2013 How is depression diagnosed? A health professional will do a full evaluation including questions regarding family history, personal history of illness and recent stressors. A physical examination may be carried out to exclude underlying physical illnesses. Special investigations such as blood tests or sometimes even a brain scan may be requested if an underlying organic problem is suspected. 0 Pin It Talk Man Talk forum » Quiz Could you be bipolar? » Ask CyberShrink » Quiz Are you depressed? » Climate change hit list 10 salty food culprits In order to diagnose a depressive disorder the health professional or family doctor would do a full evaluation including questions regarding family history, personal history of illness and recent stressors. Other family members and friends may be interviewed in order to obtain further information and to assess the level of support. A physical examination may be carried out or requested in order to exclude underlying physical illnesses, which could cause or contribute to a depressive disorder. Special investigations such as blood tests or sometimes even a brain scan may be requested if an underlying organic problem is suspected.Specific diagnostic criteria have been set down in the DSM–IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, 4th edition) to diagnose a Major Depressive Episode. These are described below:The presence of five of the following nine symptoms occurring for most of the time during the same two week period, resulting in a change in the level of functioning. The symptoms cause significant distress or obvious changes in social and occupational functioning.One of the first two symptoms following must be present in order to make the diagnosis:• A depressed mood (possibly irritability in children) • Loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities • Appetite changes with significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain • Increased sleep or insomnia • Slowing or speeding up of physical activity • Fatigue or loss of energy • Feeling of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt • Decreased ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness • Recurrent thoughts of death or recurrent suicidal ideation (Previously reviewed by Dr Piet Oosthuizen, Dept. Psychiatry, University of Stellenbosch, January 2008)(Reviewed by Dr Stefanie van Vuuren, Psychiatrist, MB ChB (Stell), M Med (Psig) (Stell), FC (Psych)SA, May 2011) More in Medical What are the symptoms of depression? More: DepressionOverview advertisement Get a quote Selfmed - the one with the apple Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare Medihelp - quality, affordable medical scheme cover Frank.Net - save on life insurance! advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Add your comment Thank you, your comment has been submitted. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical Acne pill benefits outweigh blood clot risk: EU agency Fitness Doping in professional sport Lifestyle Scientists say humans are causing global climate change Medical Nanotechnology to help fight diabetes Diet and nutrition Living near fast-food outlets ups obesity risk Mental health 1 in 5 teens have a mental disorder From our sponsors There are more than 200 different viruses which can cause a cold A clinically proven skin care range is now available Medihelp’s regional information sessions Superior comfort and support Live healthier Keep your bones healthy » Osteoporosis risk The beauty of bones Ask the expert Osteoporosis facts Here are some interesting facts about the condition that you might not have known: Fight cold and flu » Myths and facts Cold or flu? Where germs hide 15 tips to stay healthy in winter Don't let colds and flu stop you this winter.