Diagnosing clinical depression 

If you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day for more than two weeks, you should seek help from your GP.

It is especially important to speak to your GP if you experience:

  • symptoms of depression that are not improving
  • your mood affects your work, other interests, and relationships with your family and friends
  • thoughts of suicide or self-harm

Sometimes, when people are depressed they find it hard to imagine that treatment can actually help. But the sooner you seek treatment, the sooner your depression will lift.

There are no physical tests for depression, though your GP may examine you and do some urine or blood tests to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms, such as an underactive thyroid.

The main way in which your GP will tell if you have depression is by asking you lots of questions about your general health and how the way you are feeling is affecting you mentally and physically.

Try to be as open as you can be with the doctor. Describing your symptoms and how they are affecting you will really help your GP understand if you have depression and how severe it is.

Read more about the symptoms of depression.

Any discussion you have with your GP will be confidential. Your GP will only ever break this rule if there's a significant risk of harm to either yourself or others, and if informing a family member or carer would reduce that risk.

Find out about the treatments you may be offered for depression.

Depression

Depression is a serious illness. It is very different from the common experience of feeling unhappy, miserable or fed up for a short period of time. In this video, psychiatrist Dr Cosmo Hallstrom explains the disorder.

Media last reviewed: 16/09/2013

Next review due: 16/09/2015

Page last reviewed: 19/08/2014

Next review due: 19/08/2016