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How is depression diagnosed?

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The diagnosis of depression is made when several core features are present:

  • Pervasive low mood.
  • Loss of interest and enjoyment (anhedonia).
  • Reduced energy and diminished activity.

Other features can also be present, including:

  • Poor concentration and attention.
  • Poor self-esteem or self-confidence.
  • Ideas of guilt and unworthiness.
  • A bleak pessimistic view of the future.
  • Thinking about, planning, or attempting suicide.
  • Crying for no reason.
  • Disturbed sleep.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Decreased interest in sex.

Depression is often more difficult to diagnose in men because they do not complain of these typical symptoms so often. They are less likely to admit to distress and if they do consult their doctor, tend to focus on physical complaints.

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