Depression afflicts 264 million people across the world.
Amid a pandemic and other traumatic events, mental health is now more important than ever.
You may have down moments, but what if you're not sure if you actually have depression? Or maybe you are certain you are suffering from depression, but don't know why.
Depression can be caused by external factors, but it can also stem from other health issues. Depression blood tests may help you narrow down the cause so you can start working on a solution.
Here is what you need to know about depression and how lab tests for depression can help.
What Is Depression?
At its most simple description, depression causes feelings of sadness. It also causes you to lose interest in people or activities that you previously cared about. Depression is common, but that doesn't take away from the severity of this affliction.
Depression can interfere with personal relationships, work, and school. It's common to encounter grief after a sad event. But when symptoms continue for a long period, you may be dealing with mental illness.
Risk Factors for Depression
Depression can hit anyone. However, certain environmental and health factors can make you more susceptible. For instance, genetics can play a role in your risk for depression.
Other health issues can also increase your risk. Sleep issues, anxiety, and substance abuse can all be associated with depression. To complicate matters, these issues can interact and make it hard to tell which came first.
Significant events also put people more at risk for suffering from depression. Deaths, family conflicts, and loss of a job are common examples. Positive life events like marriage, retirement, or the birth of a baby can also be risk factors.
Causes of Depression
Sometimes you can cope with risk factors and avoid succumbing to depression. Other times it is unavoidable. But depression blood tests can help you get started on healing.
The body is complex. Different vital systems have effects on areas that you might not expect. For example, there is a strong connection between the brain and the gut.
Depression can start with insomnia or chronic pain from injury. Certain medications you take can also cause depression. Substance abuse is another common cause.
Various blood tests can help with the diagnosis and treatment of related conditions.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?
Everyone feels sad, lonely, or disinterested at times. So how do you distinguish general grief from depression? The symptoms are similar, but depression lasts longer.
There are a few signs to watch for. If you feel them for a long period, you may be one of the many people dealing with depression.
Do you feel tired, restless, or irritated? Maybe you are having negative thoughts or are having a hard time concentrating. You may also be feeling hopeless or are no longer interested in your favorite activities.
Some of the symptoms are also physical. For instance, you may have stomach pain or headaches. Changes in diet or sleep habits are another strong indicator.
How Is Depression Diagnosed?
Given the many different causes and symptoms, diagnosing depression is tough. But depression blood tests are the first step toward diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosing depression is often a two-part approach. A blood test can help narrow down the diagnosis. It can also help rule out other health issues.
You will need to have a consultation with a medical provider. A doctor will perform a physical exam and an interview to create a diagnosis. They will review your symptoms and test results with you before giving you your diagnosis.
The Lab Tests to Screen, Diagnose, and Monitor Depression
The causes and symptoms of depression can vary wildly. Starting with a lab test is an easy way to start to come to a diagnosis. And you don't need a doctor's approval or health insurance, either.
Studies in using lab tests to diagnose depression continue to uncover new information. But you can get started with tests for disorders like anemia or thyroid disease. Both of these conditions can be the cause of depression.
You can also take tests to assess your digestive health. Poor gut health is another common cause of depression.
Once you have a diagnosis and cause, treatment becomes much easier. With the help of a professional, you can begin making lifestyle changes to improve the condition. You can also take regular tests to monitor your progress.
Frequently Asked Questions About Depression and Lab Tests for Depression
How do I know if I have depression?
Watch for common signs of depression, such as being sad for a long period. If you are disinterested or anxious for a long time, you might be depressed. Undergoing a lab test can help you determine if you have depression for sure.
Do I need health insurance to get diagnosed?
Lab tests do not require health insurance or a referral from a doctor. You can simply purchase the tests you need with Ulta Lab Tests, and then schedule an appointment for your specimen collection at one of our authorized patient service centers near you.
How is depression treated?
There are many different causes of depression. Sometimes therapy may help treat depression. Other times, lifestyle changes like diet and meditation may help. Once you have a diagnosis, talk with your doctor to determine what treatment is best for you.
How long do lab tests for depression take?
Lab test results can come back within a few business days. After you purchase a test, you will need to schedule an appointment locally. Your results will be available online in your secure and confidential patient portal in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.
You Don't Need to Live with Depression
Combating your depression can feel hopeless at times. There is a path to healing, however, which starts with ordering lab tests for depression.
Finally, having a diagnosis is the first step to feeling better. Life has so much to offer, and when you rid yourself of depression, you can take advantage of it all. Order a test today to get started!