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How To Get an Online Depression Diagnosis & Treatment

Are you feeling constantly unmotivated and sad? These could be signs of depression. Depression affects millions of people worldwide, so you’re not alone, and you don’t have to deal with your depression alone either. Seeking professional help can help you manage and treat your depression. The first step is to reach out and get an official diagnosis. Fortunately, you can easily get in touch with a health care provider online, who can provide you with a diagnosis from the comfort of your home. In this blog, we’ll talk a little more about depression and how you can get diagnosed with depression online. Read on to learn more or make your appointment with Circle Medical today!

Understanding Depression

Depression is a complex and nuanced mental health condition that can impact anyone. While many people think depression is just feeling sad, it goes beyond that. Depression can have a significant impact on your daily life and is a real, diagnosable health condition. Understanding depression means recognizing that it’s more than just a temporary change in mood. It requires proper management and treatment and is a real condition. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on the causes, symptoms and treatment options for depression. Let’s take a look at some of the primary causes first.

What Are the Causes?

There is no single cause for depression, but research indicates that it is likely caused by several internal and external factors. These causes may include:

  • Biological factors — Factors such as having a genetic predisposition to depression can lead to someone having the condition. Health conditions such as diabetes, hormonal changes such as pregnancy and other biological factors may also contribute.
  • Environmental changes — Environmental changes like chronic stress, traumatic life events, substance abuse, lack of sleep, diet and other environmental factors may also contribute to depression.
  • Chemical imbalances — Imbalances in your brain chemicals, particularly serotonin and dopamine, can play a role in the onset of depression.

Understanding these causes can help guide treatment and support efforts to manage and alleviate depressive symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms?

Depression can manifest in various ways, and it's important to recognize the symptoms so that you can seek help. The symptoms may vary by individual, but some common symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness or despair
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities 
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Difficulty getting motivated
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping or getting out of bed
  • Fatigue
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's essential to reach out to a mental health professional for support and guidance. Remember, you don't have to face depression alone.

When To Seek Medical Attention

Since everyone feels fatigued, sad or unmotivated sometimes, it can be difficult to determine when you’re feeling depressed and need medical treatment. The difference between occasional mood changes and depression is the duration and intensity of these feelings. If you’ve been feeling the symptoms of depression for two weeks or more, you should reach out to a health care professional to get a diagnosis.

You should seek medical attention right away if you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Other signs that you should seek medical attention would be significant changes in appetite or weight or sudden excessive fatigue. While these could be due to depression, a sudden onset of serious symptoms could indicate a different underlying condition.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

The first step to treating depression is to get an official diagnosis from a health care provider. You’ll need to set up an appointment with your provider and let them know you feel like you may be depressed. Typically, the diagnosis process may involve a physical exam, lab tests or a mental health evaluation. Make sure to be honest and clear about your symptoms, so you can determine if depression is the source of your issues. Once diagnosed, your provider will start developing your treatment plan.

Treatment plans will vary based on your individual needs, but will generally include a combination of the following:

  • Therapy — Therapy can be effective for managing depression. Through therapeutic interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), you can learn strategies and techniques for redirecting negative thoughts and implementing positive behaviors while giving you a safe space to work through your feelings. It’s also a good idea to look into online support groups and resources for additional support.
  • Lifestyle changes — Treatment for depression will often involve some lifestyle changes. Exercise, diet, mindfulness and self-care practices can all help you manage your depression symptoms.
  • Medication — If your health care provider deems it to be medically appropriate, they may prescribe medication. Make sure to ask your doctor any questions you may have about your medication and follow their dosage schedule carefully.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions about depression? We have answers! Read our FAQ below to learn more about depression.

Do I need a prescription or medication?

When it comes to managing depression, medication can sometimes be an effective and helpful tool. Typically, your health care provider will evaluate your symptoms thoroughly and decide on a custom treatment plan just for you. Sometimes, therapy and lifestyle changes may be enough to treat depression. However, if an individual’s symptoms are severe or if the other treatment methods are proving to be ineffective, your health care provider may determine whether medication should be incorporated into your treatment plan.

Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for your medication management and keep them updated on your progress and any side effects you experience. Sometimes you may have to try a few different depression medications before finding one that works for you. Remember, every person's journey with depression is unique, and finding the right treatment plan may take time and experimentation.

Is depression genetic?

Research indicates that there may be a genetic component to depression. Studies have shown that individuals with a family history of depression have a higher risk of developing the condition themselves (Stanford Medicine). However, it’s important to remember that genetics alone do not determine whether or not someone will experience depression. Other factors can play a role, but it’s still good to understand your risk factors.

How to treat depression?

As mentioned, depression treatment is often highly individualized and may involve a combination of different approaches. Typically, you can expect your depression treatment to involve some combination of therapy, lifestyle changes and medication if deemed medically necessary by your health care provider. It’s important to explore your treatment options and find what works best for you, as everyone’s journey with depression will be unique.

Book an appointment with a Circle Medical telehealth provider today!

If you’re experiencing depression symptoms and would like to get evaluated for a diagnosis, Circle Medical is here to help. Circle Medical is a full-stack primary care clinic that offers both online and in-person care throughout the country. If you prefer to talk about your depression with a primary care provider online, you can make a same-day appointment with one of our telehealth providers today. Book your appointment now to get started!

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