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 Bestmed - offering you quality healthcare and freedom of choice Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare Medihelp - quality, affordable medical scheme cover 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 News Triumph for traditional healers Medical Formula 1 noise can damage eardrums Parenting Parent work schedules affect relationships with kids Lifestyle Women find sexually explicit ads unappealing Lifestyle Number of UK teenage smokers a concern Lifestyle Blacks happier at work than whites From our sponsors Your retirement - a healthy mindset So many people, why so alone? You can still enjoy the sweet things in life Take the sugar test, it could save your life. Live healthier Stress » Childhood stress PTSD and weight Managing work stress The symptoms of stress Take a look at the symptoms of the acute fight-or-flight stress reaction and the effect of long-term, unmanaged stress. Men's health » Exercise and sperm Best sperm season Smoking and sperm How to boost the health of your sperm You’d think that with millions of babies being born each day, the average sperm is a pretty healthy swimmer. Not so. Here are a few things you can do to boost the health of yours.