Difficulty with Diagnoses

If your doctor tells you that you may be depressed, what does that really mean?

Maybe some of the “symptoms” you have could be from something else like:

  • trouble adjusting to a new situation at school or home
  • a bad break-up, a friend who let you down, or you didn’t make the football or basketball team and its just been a tough month for you
  • there is a lot of bullying at school and you feel like if you went to a new school or graduated, everything would start looking up
  • a medical problem where you have belly pain or headaches all the time – if that got better, you’d feel much better
  • you have too much homework to do plus have to wake up super early to get to school and you are just tired all the time
  • another mental health or physical problem like ADHD, anxiety, or a low blood count

Don’t some people even have thoughts of harming themselves but in the end they don’t end up having depression?

The fact is you are right – it can be hard to diagnose depression. And sometimes you might have depression AND something else that is bringing it on or making it worse like a low blood count. That’s why health professionals might have to see you for several visits – like 3 or 4 times – before they can really get an idea of what is going on.

Even so, if you do have some of the symptoms – there are two important reasons why if they tell you to see a therapist or start a medication it might be a good idea to consider:

  • If you do have depression and you wait to treat it, it can get worse. It can affect your grades, put you at risk for getting involved in harmful behaviors or situations, affect your relationships, and keep you away from achieving your goals.
  • Seeing a therapist can help you learn new skills which can help you a lot even if you don’t have depression. One of the major treatments that can help with sleep issues and anxiety and problems with pain or headaches is the same type of therapy which is recommended for depression: cognitive behavioral therapy.

Tell us what you think below. If you have had depression for a while, do you think it took some time to really understand what was going on with you?

Moderator ★

Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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