See a doctor Skip to content

How is depression diagnosed?

Our doctors need to understand how depression is affecting you before they can recommend effective treatment.

Speak to a doctor today. You can have a private, confidential discussion from the comfort of your own home, workplace or on the go, at a time that suits you.

How our doctors diagnose your depression?

Before you speak to our doctors, it’s worth completing the standard self-assessment questionnaire, which will let you know if you’re showing signs of depression.  

content provided by NHS Choices

 

However, this is only a guide. Regardless of its results, if you’re feeling depressed, our doctors will listen to you and offer support.

They’ll go through a questionnaire with you to understand the severity of your symptoms and the impact they’re having on your life. These questions aren’t trying to catch you out, so it’s important you’re honest. The doctor needs to get an accurate picture of your depression.

They may ask:

  • How long you’ve been experiencing your symptoms
  • Whether you have a family history of depression
  • Whether you’ve stopped enjoying things you used to enjoy
  • How you’re sleeping
  • What you’re eating
  • Whether you’ve been feeling low on energy
  • Whether you’ve had trouble concentrating
  • How much alcohol you’re drinking
  • Whether you’ve recently used drugs
  • If you’ve lost weight unexpectedly
  • If you’ve had thoughts of suicide or self-harm

While these questions may not be easy to answer and you might feel self-conscious, your answers will remain completely confidential.

The only time our doctors could break this confidence is if they have reason to believe you might harm yourself or others. They will need to get you the help that you need in these circumstances.

Depression can be caused by a totally different condition, such as an underactive thyroid, so the doctor may want to rule that out by referring your for tests.

What happens next?

Based on your answers and previous medical history, your doctor can recommend the most appropriate treatment or combination of treatments that may be of benefit to you.

If you are happy with the treatment plan, they can issue you with a prescription straight away.

They will then suggest a follow-up appointment in a week or two. This is to make sure you’re not having any side effects from the medications and that your mood is at least stable, if not improving.

They may decide to wait until the results of any tests are available before prescribing any new medication, if they think something else may be the cause of the way you are feeling.

Find out more about how depression is treated.

How long does it take to diagnose depression?

Because everyone’s experience of depression is different, it’s difficult to say exactly how long it will take to treat. Our doctors will provide help and support for as long as you need it, to ensure you can beat depression.

Your doctor will recommend a course of treatment and then arrange a follow-up consultation in 1-2 weeks time to see if this has had any effect on your mental health.

Feel better with the Headspace mindfulness app

Download the Headspace app to start practising mindfulness today.

“I recommend mindfulness in a range of situations, both proactively for maintaining well being and good mental health, and reactively for tackling problems.”

Dr. Katie Amelia, GP specialist in mental health & well being.

Get the Headspace app for free today.

Find out more