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Depression Exams and Tests 

Depression may be diagnosed when you talk with your healthcare provider. You may be seeing your healthcare provider because you feel sad or because you have another health problem or concern.

If your healthcare provider thinks you are depressed, they will ask you questions about your health and feelings. This is called a mental health assessment.

Your healthcare provider also may:

  • Do a physical exam.

  • Do tests to make certain your depression is not caused by a disease such as an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or vitamin B12 deficiency anemia.

  • Ask you about suicide.

Depending on your history and risk factors, other tests may be ordered. If you are depressed, your healthcare provider may treat you or refer you for therapy to treat your symptoms.

Tell your healthcare provider

Always tell your healthcare provider if you feel sad or have other symptoms of depression. Many times, people are embarrassed by these feelings and say nothing. Depression can be treated, and the sooner you get treatment, the better your chance for a quick and full recovery.

It’s possible to have periods of both energy and elation (mania) and depression. This may be bipolar disorder. If this happens to you, tell your healthcare provider. The treatments for depression and bipolar disorder are different.

If you have depression only during certain seasons of the year, such as during the fall and winter months, tell your healthcare provider. You may have seasonal affective disorder.

Early screenings

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all people are screened for depression starting at age 12. Screening helps find depression early. And early treatment may help you get better faster. 

Do You Have Thoughts About Suicide?

If you or a loved one has thoughts about death or suicide, call 911 or the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) and press 1, or use other emergency services. Or you can chat with a trained counselor online at

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 9/1/2018
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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