How Do Mental Health Professionals Diagnose Depression?
Updated: Mar 5
Depression is more than just feeling sad. This mental health condition can be debilitating, making everyday life feel challenging. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of depression, the first step is to secure a diagnosis. Here’s how licensed clinical psychologists (PsyD) diagnose depression and create treatment plans.
What to Know About Diagnosing Depression
How Do Psychologists Diagnose Depression?
Obtaining a diagnosis for your depression is key to seeking help. While there are several ways that doctors will diagnose depression, licensed clinical psychologists will use a thorough psychological assessment to interpret your symptoms. So, when you reach out to a clinic about seeking support for depression, the clinician will likely schedule an initial assessment.
Psychological assessments typically take about 90 minutes. During this time, the clinician will ask you questions about your personal history and look for the most common signs of depression. These symptoms can vary, but some of the signs include:
Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
Changes in appetite or weight
Physical symptoms (such as headaches)
Thoughts of death or suicide
During this assessment, it’s important to be completely honest with the psychologist. They will likely ask you about your family history, as well as about traumatic events that may have happened in your past. Being open with your answers and providing details about your symptoms can help ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Psychologists use psychological assessments to diagnose a number of mental health conditions. Some conditions, like anxiety, might occur along with depression. If you’re experiencing more than one psychiatric disorder, the assessment can clarify these diagnoses.
What Happens After Diagnosis?
Once a clinician diagnoses you with depression, they will then create a treatment plan that matches your needs and goals. Holistic treatment plans vary per client, but there are a few services that may benefit individuals with depression:
Individual Therapy: Behavioral therapy for depression on a one-on-one basis can be a critical service for many individuals. These appointments provide a safe and confidential environment to discuss your thoughts and experiences. Your therapist will also provide daily tools to help you cope with your depression symptoms and prioritize self-care.
Group Counseling: Your therapist may recommend group therapy for depression as part of your treatment plan. These sessions are an opportunity to empathize and connect with others who are living with depression as well.
Psychiatric Services: Medication is often part of depression treatment plans. The right prescription can help keep your symptoms in check, so you can enjoy your life again.
Managing your depression isn’t a linear journey. Through a number of holistic behavioral health and counseling services, you can identify and cope with your symptoms. Your psychologist will recommend changes to your treatment plan as your needs change, so you can heal and grow.
Depression can be an all-consuming disease, but the right mental health team can help. The Collective is proud to offer depression counseling Denver residents can rely on. Our set of holistic behavioral health services put your needs at the center. We support our clients through individual and group therapy, psychiatric services, health coaching, and holistic behavioral health services. Contact us today to set up an in-person or virtual appointment.