Are there Specific Tests for Depression?
On the medical side there are blood tests that investigate the possibility of other illnesses that may be associated with depressive symptoms like endocrine problems, inflammatory illnesses, sleep disorders, neurological disorders, genetic disorders, rheumatological disorders and gastrointestinal disorders to name a few. Genetic tests and brain scans are at times useful in specific situations. Psychological screens and tests for depression are helpful for education, initially screening, in professional assessments and to help follow the results of our efforts. All of these tools can help to uncover the wide variety of etiologies that may be impairing abilities to live live to the fullest. Most important is that we and our clinician take the necessary time to carefully review our personal history, family history and present functioning in all the relationships of our life. We are on this earth for a brief time, we want to give and live our lives to the fullest!
Where to Get Help for Major Depressive Disorder
There are many places you can get help for Major Depressive Disorder. Consider the following:
- Many online sites like that of the National Institute of Mental Health, NIMH, can be very helpful.
- Many books are also available here are a few that others have told me were helpful for them:How to Heal Depression by Harold Bloomfield, MD
Ending the Depression Cycle by Peter Bieling, Ph. D.
For Bipolar Depression: The Bipolar Survival Guide by David Miklowitz, Ph. D.
- Support Groups like National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, have web sites (NAMI.org) and local support groups.
- Friends or family members who have successfully dealt with depression themselves. Please have the courage to ask family members what they have found that helped them. Also, if you find an answer to your 'symptom cluster' make sure other family members know. At times others may not have told you that they too suffer depression and taking the opportunity to share what you have found can end years of suffering for them.
- Many churches and communities resources have outreach programs that can provide support or at least direction. Groups led by these institutions can be very helpful combating the aloneness that many times accompanies these symptoms.
- Your family doctor can provide a starting point in these assessments. Often they can also serve as a door to other local resources they have found successful for others.
- Local therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists are trained in this area and are often the resources you are directed to. Ask friends, family members and check our what is being said about them on the internet. Let success be your guide. In therapy, rapport and a careful ongoing evaluation are essential.
- When needed, you can go to a nationally recognized center for treatment or a second opinion. Never give up. If you find that something works for you make sure you talk with your clinicians before you decide to stop anything. Relapse hurts everyone...and there is no guarantee that the same efforts will provide the same response after a relapse!