Diagnosis of any mental illness needs to be done with a Mental Health
Professional (MHP) trained in diagnosis, which maybe a Licensed Clinical Social
Worker, Licensed Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.
In diagnosing depression in an individual with diabetes it is important that the
client/patient advocate for him or herself by tell the MHP evaluating them that
they have diabetes. Don’t wait to be asked, be honest with them and upfront, tell
them if your blood sugars are out of control and what symptoms that may cause.
If your psychotherapist or psychiatrist is unfamiliar with the symptoms of high
blood sugar, inform them what happens to you when your blood sugar is high. If
your mental heath professional is still unsure about the impact of blood sugars
refer them to speak with your certified diabetes educator or endocrinologist.
Make sure to sign a release allowing them to talk to your endocrinologist to
All this will help the MHP rule out that your blood sugar control isn’t the cause of the depression.
The initial assessment is performed by a MHP, creating a Bio-Psycho-Social
Assessment that evaluates all aspects of an individual’s life, which assists in the
diagnostic process. As part of the process the MHP will conduct a Differential
The Differential Diagnosis takes into account that the depression might be a
result of some specific extrinsic factor such as drug abuse, various medications,
or general medical conditions like hypothyroidism. Depending on various factors
the MHP may have you get screened for a specific extrinsic factor to rule it out as
the cause of the depression.
The Diagnostic Static Manual (DSM-IV-TR) is the primary source in diagnosing
mental health disorders. It is used to rule out symptoms and other criteria like
length of symptoms need to be meet before a diagnosis can be made.
Criteria for Major Depressive Episode and Major Depressive Disorder:
If you believe you might be depressed and would like some help. Please contact Eliot LeBow LCSW, CDE at 917-272-4829 to schedule your first Diabetes-Focused Therapy Session.
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