Maybe it’s not depression
Other medical conditions may be to blame
Symptoms of illnesses that have physical causes, such as thyroid conditions and infection, can mimic those of depression. Certain medications can cause them too. Your doctor can make a diagnosis only on the information you provide, so it’s important to recognize what’s important to tell her about what you’re experiencing. Low energy, lack of interest in things once found pleasurable, fatigue and difficulty concentrating are typical symptoms of depression. But, here are some other conditions that are characterized by similar symptoms. “Low levels of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) can cause depression,” says psychiatrist Jim Phelps, MD, author of Why Am I Still Depressed?. “High levels (hyperthyroidism) can cause anxiety and agitation.” The thyroid gland pumps out hormones that regulate metabolism, heart rate and body temperature. Imbalances in these hormones can cause depressed mood, weight loss or gain, fatigue, memory and concentration problems –just like depression. “An evaluation of mood problems should include a check of your thyroid status, ” says Phelps. If your doctor doesn’t mention it, he suggests you wonder aloud about whether it might be a good idea. Bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as major depression. It’s important to diagnose it correctly, because if bipolar disorder is treated with antidepressants, your condition may not improve and can even worsen.