Depression | Diagnosis & Tests


How does my doctor know if I’m feeling depressed?

You need to tell your doctor about your symptoms. Don't expect your doctor to be able to guess that you're depressed just by looking at you. You may feel embarrassed, or it may be hard for you to imagine treatment will actually help you feel better. But don’t wait to talk to your doctor. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner the depression will lift.

How is depression diagnosed?

Once you tell your doctor how you're feeling, he or she may ask you some questions about your symptoms, about your health, and about your family history. Your doctor may also give you a physical exam and do some tests. It is important to tell your doctor about any medicines that you are taking.

Reasons to get help for depression

  • Early diagnosis and treatment helps keep depression from getting worse or lasting a long time.
  • Diagnosis and treatment can help you return to your "normal" self and enjoy life.
  • After you’re diagnosed, treatment can help prevent depression from coming back.
  • Thoughts of suicide are common in people with depression. The risk of suicide is higher if you don't get help for your depression. When depression is successfully treated, the thoughts of suicide will go away.


See a list of resources used in the development of this information.

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 08/12
Created: 06/96