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Blood Tests

Question:

Are the blood tests that can be done in order to diagnose depression. My husband says the drs. need to do a blood test in order to diagnose exactly what chemical is missing. I have been diagnosed with chemical depression but no blood work has been done. If blood tests can be done can my family physician do this?

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Answer:

At the present time there are no blood tests available for the diagnosis of depression.

Your doctor should have a number of written tests that he can give you or he can refer you to a psychiatrist to do a diagnostic interview for depression. Based on that interview, which includes what is called a Mental Status Exam, the psychiatrist can do an accurate assessment of whether or not you have depression, what type of depression, and what type of medication would best suit your needs.

It is important to understand that, based on current knowledge; depression is not caused by a chemical that is missing in the brain but by an insufficient supply of a chemical called serotonin. In other words, rather than a chemical being missing our understanding is that the brain chemicals are not in balance with one another. The purpose of the anti depressant medications is to put those chemical back into the correct balance.

An imbalance of these brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, is caused by a combination of genetic or inherited vulnerabilities and the accumulation of stress from the past and building until the present.

This is why psychotherapy is an important aspect of the treatment of depression: it helps people learn better and more helpful ways to handle stress without becoming depressed.Best of luck 

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