According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, whether you choose to take your client or relative to their primary care physician or to a mental health provider, the professionals should conduct a thorough evaluation which ordinarily includes the following:
- Detailed questions. Your doctor or mental health provider will ask about your mood and seasonal changes in your thoughts and behavior. He or she may also ask questions about your sleeping and eating patterns, relationships, job, or other questions about your life. You may be asked to answer questions on a psychological questionnaire.
- Physical exam. Your doctor or mental health provider may do a physical examination to check for any underlying physical issues that could be linked to your depression.
- Medical tests. There’s no medical test for seasonal affective disorder, but if your doctor suspects a physical condition may be causing or worsening your depression, you may need blood tests or other tests to rule out an underlying problem.
Since SAD is a considered to be a subtype of depression or bipolar disorder, physicians have to be quite careful in their diagnosis. So, the Staff at Mayo Clinic has suggested the following criteria be met before Seasonal Affective Disorder is actually determined to be the diagnosis:
- The individual has experienced depression and other symptoms for at least two consecutive years, during the same season every year.
- The periods of depression have been followed by periods without depression.
- There are no other explanations for the changes in the individual’s mood or behavior.
It is so important to get the diagnosis correct for many reasons but the most important of all is because we realize that With Age Comes Respect and seniors deserve to know what they are dealing with!