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Depression may be diagnosed when you talk to your doctor about feeling sad or when your doctor asks you questions and discovers that you are feeling sad. You may be seeing your doctor because you feel sad or because you have another health problem or concern.
If your doctor thinks you are depressed, he or she will ask you questions about your health and feelings. This is called a mental health assessment. Your doctor also may:
Depending on your history and risk factors, your doctor may order other tests.
If you are depressed, your doctor may treat you or refer you for therapy to treat your symptoms.
Tell your doctor
Always tell your doctor if you feel sad or have other symptoms of depression. Many times, people are embarrassed by these feelings and say nothing. Depression can be treated, and the sooner you get treatment, the better your chance for a quick and full recovery.
It's possible to have periods of both energy and elation (mania) and depression. This may be bipolar disorder. If this happens to you, tell your doctor. The treatments for depression and bipolar disorder are different. For more information, see the topic Bipolar Disorder.
If you have depression only during certain seasons of the year, such as the fall and winter months, tell your doctor. You may have seasonal affective disorder. For more information, see the topic Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all people, starting at age 12, be screened for depression.1 Screening for depression helps find depression early. And early treatment may help you get better faster.
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