A good diagnostic evaluation will include a complete history of symptoms
The first step to getting appropriate treatment for depression is a physical examination and depression test by a physician.
If a physical cause for the depression is ruled out, a psychological evaluation / depression test should be done, either a physician or by referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Certain medications, as well as some medical conditions such as a viral infection, can cause the same symptoms as depression, and the physician should rule out these possibilities through examination, interview, and lab tests. If a physical cause for the depression is ruled out, a psychological evaluation should be done, by the physician or by referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist.
A good diagnostic evaluation will include a complete history of symptoms, i.e., when they started, how long they have lasted, how severe they are, whether the patient had them before and, if so, whether the symptoms were treated and what treatment was given.
The doctor should ask about alcohol and drug use, and if the patient has thoughts about death or suicide. Further, a history should include questions about whether other family members have had a depressive illness and, if treated, what treatments they may have received and which were effective.
Last, a depression test should include a mental status examination to determine if speech or thought patterns or memory have been affected, as sometimes happens in the case of a depressive or manic-depressive illness.
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