Nursing Diagnosis For Depression: Signs & Symptoms

With 9% of Americans (CDC) suffering with occasional depression and 3.4 % suffering from major depression (CDC), nurses are forced to make their own diagnosis of depression occasionally. Not every patient will complain of being depressed, but will show the obvious signs and symptoms. In these cases, nurses are forced to pinpoint these individuals out and provide them with the appropriate nursing diagnosis.

It is dire that the chronically and acutely ill, along with the elderly are diagnosed so that they can receive the proper treatment. Nurses are the doctor’s eyes and ears, because they are the ones that are in full contact with all hospital, skill nursing facility, and nursing home patients and residents.




Researchers continue to study the limbic system in the brain. This part of the brain regulates the human emotion, stress response, sexual and physical drive. The hypothalamus, which regulates sleep, body temperature, and sexual drive, is part of the limbic system. The limbic system is also made up of the amygdala and the hippocampus, which also regulates emotion. Our brain’s nerve cells or neurons play a very important role in how our brain reacts to physical stimuli. The brain’s chemical, neurotransmitters sends messages from one neuron to another at an extremely fast rate of speed. Serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are neurotransmitters. Each one plays a very important role in how our brain functions. Serotonin regulates psychological functions including sleep, eating, and mood. Norepinephrine regulates mood, while dopamine regulates the brain’s need to seek out pleasure and rewards.


Chemical Imbalance


If the neurotransmitters are low, they are not capable of balancing their very important roles. Low dopamine levels have been proven to cause depression. Low norepinephrine will lead to depression, as well. Low serotonin causes depression and can potentially lead to suicidal ideations. All of these can be controlled by anti-depressants. It may require sampling several different types of anti-depressants in order to find the one that works appropriately in treating depression.


Signs & Symptoms


It is important that nurses learn the signs and symptoms of depression and be able to pick them out quickly. Some signs that are very commonly found in depressed individuals include;

– Self-Loathing

– Loss of Interest In Hobbies & Activities That Were Once Enjoyed Immensely

– Anger & Reckless Behavior

– Loss of Energy, Appetite, & Weight

– Hopelessness

– Suicidal Ideations

– Trouble Focusing & Making Appropriate Decisions

There are many different types of depression, which are diagnosed and based on how long the patient exhibits these signs and symptoms. Also note how many of the symptoms the individual is being plagued with, before you make the actual diagnosis of depression.


Nursing Diagnosis


– Ineffective Coping

– Low Self-Esteem

– Imbalanced Nutrition, Less Than Body Requirements

– Alteration In Social Participation

– Risk For Self-Directed Violence

– Social Isolation

Take further precautions to make sure that the patient is unable to self-inflict harm on himself or herself or someone else.