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West London NHS Trust > Patients and carers > Mental and physical health conditions > Depression > Diagnosis of depression

Diagnosis of depression

Most people with depression are treated by their GP. There are no clinical tests for depression, and GPs use interviews and questionnaires to make a diagnosis. This background information helps a GP decide if a person has depression, including whether they’re experiencing a particular type, such as:
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): a lack of daylight causes a person to be depressed during the autumn and winter. Whilst many people feel mildly affected by darker days and bad weather, for a person with SAD the symptoms are more severe and become progressively worse as winter develops.
Postnatal depression: this affects between 10 and 15 mothers in every 100 in the months following childbirth. It is a more severe form of the ‘baby blues’ experienced by between a half and two-thirds of all months. The symptoms are similar to depression.
If a person is suffering from severe depression and not responding to the treatment offered by a GP, they may be referred to WLMHT where a care team reassesses them. In partnership, the individual and the care team agree a course of treatment that inspires in the person hope for recovery, and helps them see how they can find their way back to a fulfilling life, regardless of whether or not their symptoms continue.
Only in the most severe cases is a person admitted to hospital so that a psychiatrist can monitor progress and the effects of medication.