Diagnosing Depression in Adults

Depression is a common but serious mental health condition that can make it difficult to enjoy life. If you experience symptoms of depression, see your NYU Langone doctor or a mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker.

Certain medications can produce symptoms of depression in some people. These medications include cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant used to prevent the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, and clonazepam, an anti-anxiety medication.

Depression can accompany some medical conditions, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, and schizophrenia. NYU Langone psychiatrists collaborate with other specialists, such as internists, cardiologists, and neurologists, to manage medical conditions that occur in conjunction with depression.

To diagnose depression, a doctor performs a physical exam, asks about your symptoms, and recommends a blood test to determine if another condition, such as hypothyroidism, is causing your symptoms.

If the doctor does not find an underlying cause of your symptoms, he or she performs a psychological evaluation.

Psychological Evaluation

During a psychological evaluation, an NYU Langone specialist asks if you have a family history of depression or anxiety disorders. He or she asks about your symptoms—when they started, how long they have lasted, how severe they are, whether they have occurred before, and, if so, how they were treated.

The specialist asks if you are using alcohol or drugs and if you are thinking about death or suicide. In addition, he or she may ask you to complete a questionnaire, which asks about the ways your symptoms affect your life.

Other psychological conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders, may accompany depression. For this reason, the specialist also asks questions that allow him or her to assess whether another psychological condition could be affecting you.

After the specialist assesses your symptoms and family history, he or she conducts a feedback session, during which you discuss the diagnosis and most appropriate treatment options.

More Depression in Adults Resources

Meet Our Doctors

NYU Langone specialists provide care and support throughout your entire healthcare journey.

Browse Doctors