#53: Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use

Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon is the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Join Marjorie Morrison and Patrick J. Kennedy for an in-depth discussion with Dr. Delphin-Rittmon on the role SAMHSA plays in mental healthcare, and how they are collaborating to improve the future of mental health.

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Depression Diagnosis


Depression Diagnosis

A depressive episode is characterized by persistent sadness or loss of interest in activities and is characterized by the symptoms listed above. There must be no other underlying medical condition or substance abuse to qualify for diagnosis. People who suffer from depression experience changes in their appetite or weight. Though these changes are common, some people express these as bodily symptoms and are not necessarily a result of a medical condition. Nevertheless, these changes must be persistent in order to be considered clinically significant.

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There are several causes of depression and the most common are loss of a loved one, traumatic life events, and medication use. The severity of depression differs between individuals, so early treatment is the best way to avoid its severe effects and maximize recovery. Some treatments can help a person overcome these challenges and lead a productive life. In addition to medical treatment, many people also seek the support of family and friends. However, it is important to note that depression cannot be cured and recurrence of symptoms can result in serious health complications.

Psychotherapy involves discussions with a trained therapist. This treatment is known as talk therapy and is as common as the weather these days. Psychotherapy may be used in combination with medication to reduce the duration of the depressive episode. Fortunately, these treatments are effective and are widely available. A comprehensive assessment of a patient’s health is important when choosing a treatment plan. You may also want to consult a doctor if you’re unsure of what to do.

The DSM is not definitive in diagnosing depression. A medical doctor can rule out other medical conditions that have similar symptoms. For instance, doctors may use the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) to screen for medical causes of depression. However, in these cases, the symptoms can be caused by the depressive process itself. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to depression. Regardless of its cause, depression can affect your life and affect your relationships.

Unlike mild symptoms of sadness, a diagnosis of depression is vital. In fact, depression can negatively affect your mental and physical health. It stifles creativity and shuts out the joys of life. It causes deep emotional pain. Even mild forms of depression can lead to major health complications. However, a medical professional should be consulted to identify the appropriate treatment and the best treatment for your specific situation. It’s important to note that there is no cure for depression.

Various life events can contribute to the development of depression. Long-term unemployment, abusive relationships, and prolonged work stress can increase the risk of depression. Also, people with a family history of depression are more likely to suffer from the disorder. People who are genetically predisposed to depression may also have a higher risk of developing depression than those without it. In addition, some medications may have depressive symptoms. Therefore, it is important to seek the right treatment for your condition and identify any other factors that may be contributing to your depression.

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