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RONALD LEE MD PSYCHIATRIST FOR ALL MA RESIDENTS

Screening for depression can help diagnose the severity of the condition. It indicates the presence or absence of depressive symptoms and can offer a referral for further evaluation if required. We talk about how it works and why one may need it below.

How Depression Screening Works

Unless you have a pre-existing long-term physiologic illness, no preparation is usually needed for a depression screening. The risk is also low to non-existent, except for minor bruising on the site of blood extraction. The general process is as follows:

  1. You will be asked to undergo a physical exam and take an assessment that will determine your sleeping habits, moods, feelings, and thoughts.
  2. Your doctor may also require a blood test to rule out physiologic conditions like thyroid disease, diabetes, anemia, and kidney disease that could cause depression.
  3. If you're already seeing a mental health professional like a depression psychiatrist, you may be interviewed or asked to fill out a questionnaire about your symptoms.

It's important to seek immediate treatment if you've been diagnosed with depression. The sooner you get therapy, the higher your chances of recovery will be. Although depression treatment can take a long time, most people who receive it eventually feel better.

If your doctor has diagnosed you with depression, you will be prescribed a treatment plan based on the type of depression and how severe it is:

  • Major depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychotic depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Postpartum depression

Who Needs To Undergo Depression Screening?

If you have five or more of these common depression symptoms for more than two weeks, or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with work, school, or routine, you should see a doctor for a depression screening:

  • An empty and extremely lonely feeling that persists
  • Sleeping excessively
  • Not being able to sleep or frequently having interrupted sleep
  • Difficulty focusing or remembering
  • Struggling to make logical decisions
  • Increased or lack of appetite
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Thoughts about self-harm
  • Actual self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts

Important: If you are or someone you know is having thoughts about doing self-harm or suicide, immediately call for help. Do not wait for a depression screening appointment. In the US, you have the following resources:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Call 1-800-273-8255)
  • 911
  • The Lifeline (Call 1-800-799-4889)
  • Crisis Text Text Line (Text HELLO to 741741)
  • The nearest hospital emergency room
  • Your depression psychiatrist or psychologist
  • An adult who can provide immediate assistance

Another important thing to keep in mind is that depression screening is not exclusive for those who are showing depressive symptoms. Like breast exams and blood sugar tests, it can also be a preventive measure to avoid a simple worry from worsening.

Psychiatric and counseling services, as well as other mental health resources like depression screening, are available at Luminous Vitality Behavioral Health. Dr. Ronald Lee, our resident depression psychiatrist, will assess your illness, manage your prescription, and create a treatment plan. We conduct in-person and telehealth psychiatry. Reach out to Luminous Vitality  to book an online appointment

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