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Where Can I Get Checked for Depression?

Written by Dr. Anjali Talcherkar

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If you’re wondering, “Do I have depression?” or if you are seeking an assessment for depression, you’re taking a commendable step in prioritizing your mental health. To get checked for depression and receive a diagnosis, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare professional. A depression doctor or depression therapist can conduct a clinical evaluation and screening for depression. Clinical depression is a serious condition that warrants expert assessment and treatment. Seeking professional help is crucial for an accurate diagnosis, as well as for developing a tailored treatment plan to address your specific needs and enhance your emotional well-being. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health specialist or mental health facility if you suspect you may be experiencing depression or anxiety. 

What Is Depression?    

Depression, often referred to as major depressive disorder (MDD), is a complex and pervasive mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyable activities. It can affect anyone, irrespective of age, gender, or background, making it a highly prevalent and debilitating global health concern. 

Throughout history, depression has been viewed and understood in various ways. In ancient times, it was often linked to spiritual or supernatural causes. However, in the modern era, it is recognized as a complex interplay of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.

Types of Depressive Disorders

There are different types of depression, including: 

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): The most common form, characterized by prolonged and severe periods of low mood and loss of interest. 
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): A chronic, milder form of depression, lasting for at least two years. 
  • Bipolar Disorder: Involves episodes of depression alternating with periods of mania or hypomania. 
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Occurs during specific seasons, often in response to reduced daylight. 
  • Postpartum Depression: Affects some new mothers after childbirth. 

Depression can manifest differently in individuals, and its impact varies widely. It can result in physical and emotional symptoms, affecting daily functioning and overall quality of life. Effective treatment options, including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes, are available to help individuals manage and overcome depression, offering hope and support for those who are affected.  

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression? 

Noticing signs of depression is crucial as early recognition allows timely intervention, offering a better chance for effective treatment and improved mental well-being. The signs and symptoms of depression, taken from DSM-V criteria, can vary among individuals but often include: 

  • Persistent Sadness: A deep and enduring feeling of unhappiness, hopelessness, or emptiness. 
  • Loss of Interest: Diminished interest or pleasure in activities or hobbies once enjoyed. 
  • Fatigue: A constant lack of energy and motivation, leading to physical and mental exhaustion. 
  • Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia or excessive sleeping, accompanied by disturbances in sleep patterns. 
  • Changes in Appetite: Significant weight loss or gain due to overeating or loss of appetite. 
  • Irritability: Unexplained irritability, restlessness, or mood swings. 
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Reduced ability to focus, make decisions, or remember details. 
  • Physical Symptoms: Unexplained aches, pains, and digestive problems. 
  • Social Withdrawal: Isolation from friends and family, and a loss of interest in social interactions. 
  • Thoughts of Death or Suicidal Ideation: Frequent thoughts about death, self-harm, or suicide. 

Experiencing several of these symptoms persistently for at least two weeks may indicate clinical depression, and seeking professional help is essential for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.  

How Is Depression Diagnosed?  

Depression is diagnosed through a comprehensive assessment by mental health professionals, such as therapists or psychiatrists. They employ specific criteria, as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), to diagnose depression. The DSM-5 criteria include: 

  • Depressed Mood: A pervasive feeling of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness, experienced most of the day, nearly every day. 
  • Loss of Interest or Pleasure: A significant decrease in interest or pleasure in almost all activities. 
  • Appetite and Weight Changes: Unexplained weight loss or gain due to changes in appetite. 
  • Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day. 
  • Psychomotor Agitation or Retardation: Observable restlessness or slowed physical movements. 
  • Fatigue or Loss of Energy: Constant tiredness or diminished energy levels. 
  • Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt: Excessive and inappropriate guilt or feelings of worthlessness. 
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Reduced ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions. 
  • Suicidal Thoughts: Recurrent thoughts of death, suicide ideation, or a suicide attempt. 

A diagnosis of depression often requires the presence of at least five of these symptoms over a two-week period, including either a depressed mood or loss of interest/pleasure. It is essential to consult a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis and to determine the severity and subtype of depression, as this helps guide appropriate treatment and support. 

What Are the Signs of Depression?

Depression is diagnosed through a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional following specific criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Therapists assess the presence of specific symptoms over a specified period, including: 

  • Depressed Mood: Persistent sadness or emptiness. 
  • Diminished Interest or Pleasure: Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. 
  • Significant Weight Loss or Gain: Changes in appetite leading to weight fluctuations. 
  • Insomnia or Hypersomnia: Disturbances in sleep patterns. 
  • Psychomotor Agitation or Retardation: Observable physical movements that are either agitated or slowed. 
  • Fatigue or Loss of Energy: Persistent feelings of tiredness and low energy. 
  • Feelings of Worthlessness or Excessive Guilt: Negative self-perception or self-blame. 
  • Diminished Ability to Think or Concentrate: Reduced ability to focus or make decisions. 
  • Recurrent Thoughts of Death or Suicide: Persistent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation, or suicide attempts. 

Meeting several of these criteria for at least two weeks, accompanied by impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning, may lead to a diagnosis of depression. Therapists use this criteria-based approach to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment planning for individuals with depressive symptoms.  

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Where Can I Get Checked for Depression? 

You can get checked for depression at various healthcare facilities and treatment centers staffed with skilled and certified depression doctors and depression therapists. 

A depression consultation typically begins with an assessment by a mental health professional, which can include a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed therapist. During this consultation, you will discuss your symptoms, emotions, and experiences. The professional may ask questions about your mood, sleep patterns, appetite, and overall well-being. They might inquire about your personal and family history, including any previous mental health concerns. You might be asked about your daily routines and any recent life changes or stressors. 

A clinical evaluation like this is a crucial step in the diagnostic process, helping the professional determine if your symptoms align with the criteria for depression as defined in the DSM-5. In some cases, a standardized “depression test” or “depression quiz” may be used to assess the severity of your symptoms. Based on the evaluation, the mental health expert can provide a diagnosis of clinical depression and recommend an appropriate treatment plan, which may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Seeking help from these professionals is a vital first step in understanding and managing your condition effectively.  

Depression Treatment at Footprints to Recovery Mental Health 

Footprints to Recovery Mental Health offers a diverse range of treatment options, ensuring individuals receive the care they need to manage depression effectively. Our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) provides structured therapy and support while allowing individuals to maintain their daily routines, making it a flexible and comprehensive choice.  

Additionally, our less intensive outpatient care allows for a gradual transition from more immersive levels of treatment. Footprints to Recovery recognizes the importance of a holistic approach to healing and offers a continuum of care that prioritizes long-term recovery. Our team of experienced professionals collaborates to create personalized treatment plans, empowering individuals to navigate their mental health challenges and promote emotional well-being. 

If you are seeking structured programs to help overcome depression, FTR New Jersey has a team of dedicated professionals ready to provide the necessary support. Contact us today for more information on how to get started.  


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