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 Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare 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 Lifestyle Drug-resistant bacteria cause stubborn infections Lifestyle Your 'bacteria types' are as individual as you are Medical Belgian doctors transplant windpipes Mental health Football players' brains take a beating Parenting Researchers discover how sperm and eggs 'hook up' Medical Free samples may lead to expensive prescriptions From our sponsors Momentum Health OatWell Dual Cross Is being overweight or obese dangerous? Tips to keep your immunity strong this winter Smile your way to better health Live healthier Strenghten your immunity » Keep your immunity strong Immune system boosters Boost your family's immunity 5 immune boosters in your kitchen You don’t need a handful of vitamins and supplements to keep your body healthy, check out these five immune boosting foods you probably already have in your kitchen. Laugh a little » Eat yourself happy Laugh more and live longer Laughing yoga the best medicine The healing power of laughter A good chuckle doesn't only make you feel happy for a moment, it's beneficial to your health too.