A Guide to Nursing Diagnosis for Depression

There are several nursing diagnosis for depression procedures to consider when working with depressive patients. Depression is generally a mood disorder which can vary widely in its expressiveness. In its most severe case, it is called manic depression. They symptoms of this form of depression is a constant and recurrent depressive cycle followed by bouts of mania. A sufferer may experience both depression and mania at the same time, or they make take separate phases in the cycle.

A nurse diagnosing for depression should understand the risks attached to depression and also treat it with much alacrity. Some of the common risk factors of depression are biochemical imbalances in the metabolic process and other body processes. This may go on for sustained periods of time, and a long-range exposure to depression may result in significant alteration of the sufferer’s biochemical make-up.

nursing diagnosis for depression


Studies have shown that depression may also be hereditary. Thus, there is a chance of transference of depression from parent to offspring. If a child has one depressed parent, the child has a 25% chance of becoming depressed as well. If both parents are depression-prone, the inheritance possibility shoots up to 50-75 percent. Furthermore, the immediate environment may be a causal factor and a contributor to depressive cycles. Poverty, stress, economic and emotional losses and social isolation have been identified as major players in depression.

The psychological make-up of the individual may also make them susceptible to falling into depression as well. Some people are just not as able to cope with situations as others, and some people may have a denial complex and associated disorderliness in behavioral traits.

For the nurse, therefore, in completing a nursing diagnosis for depression, the biological factors involved have to be properly scrutinized. For example, the patient’s norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin levels need to be understudied. If there is an excess of it, it could be a leading factor of depression bouts. Patients who have higher levels of sodium and calcium between their cells may also be more hyper and likely to become easily depressed. A defect in the limbic system feedback mechanism and super sensitive neurotransmitters are also indicators of potential depression.

A physical and cursory observation may well help the nurse in coming to a rapid conclusion on depression diagnosis that a biological one. Some of the more consistent depressive signs are:

• Constant irritation and mood swings.

• A poor sense of judgment associated with poor brain activity.

• Impulsive activities. One common activity is impulsive spending, or giving away of personal belongings.

• A reduced ability for social and occupational interaction.

• Loss of sleep, or reduced sleep.

• Poor concentration/easy distraction from preoccupation.

• In some cases, depressed individuals may be plagued by paranoia.

• Most depressed individuals have a low tolerance for criticism, even if it is good-natured.

• There may be a marked desire for attention and a strong attention-seeking behavior.

When the above have been observed, it becomes easy to draw up a diagnosis. The nursing diagnosis may be:

• Potential for self harm, if unattended to. Alternatively, there may be the possibility for the sufferer to attack others and harm them.

• Verbal communication skills may break down

• A degradation and corrosion of self-worth and self-esteem may occur.

• The sufferer may begin to neglect their sense of self-care.

• A disturbance of sleep pattern.

• Nutritional disorder possibility.

After a thorough and certain nursing diagnosis for depression, the nurse should put him/her under therapeutic depression management and try to create calm, soothing environment that allows for plenty of exercise.