Common Tests or Labs to Diagnose Depression

Making a proper diagnosis of major depression involves the doctor asking you many questions, performing a physical exam, and possibly running some tests.

The doctor will ask you questions about the history of your depression symptoms, including when they started, how long they have lasted, how severe they are, whether they have occurred before, and if so, how they were treated.

He or she will also ask about life stresses and whether any family members have been diagnosed with depression.

Doctors also use standardized depression questionnaires to gather information to help them make a diagnosis.

The doctor will review any medications you are taking to determine if a medication may be affecting your mood.

A physical examination and lab tests can be performed to rule out other conditions that cause symptoms similar to depression. For example, a blood test can show if you have a condition, such as thyroid disease, anemia, or kidney disease that may be causing your depression symptoms. Treating these conditions can often relieve the depression symptoms. Read more in this patient education guide.