Use of Biological Markers for Diagnosis of Depression
Depression is the most common symptom which occurs in manypsychiatric and medical illnesses. Diagnostic criteria for primary anddepressive illnesses are clearly described in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Number 3, by the American Psychiatric Association. This improves the realprobability of diagnosis, however when the patient presents with moderatelysevere depression symptoms and is unable to give a clear history, diagnosis ofthe condition is difficult. Similar difficulty in diagnosis may also beencountered when depression is marked by somatic symptoms. Due to these diagnosticdifficulties some patients with major depression may not receive anti-depressivetreatment and on the other hand many patients with other forms of depressionmay be treated inappropriately with anti-depressive drugs. In recent yearsbiological tests have been developed that can confirm or support a clinicalimpression or diagnosis. The most commonly used diagnostic test, Dexamethasone Suppression Test is described and the results are discussed. This routinelaboratory procedure may result in improving the patient care by identifyingpatients who will respond positively to the anti-depressant medication.
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