Q: Is there a test to determine whether depression is related to a chemical imbalance?
A: No, there is no test. There are many potential causes of depression. Depression may be the result of a distressing situation which demands unwelcome changes (such as a chronic illness), persistent stress or an emotional trauma such as a loss. It may also be the result of a chemical imbalance, medication side effects, chronic pain, fatigue or lupus itself. If your depression persists more than a few weeks or a month, speak with your doctor about treatment options. Unfortunately, many people still feel reluctant to seek help for depression, suffering needlessly and blaming themselves. Depression is a common response to lupus, and it is treatable. Treatment often involves psychotherapy to address underlying feelings and issues and to develop new coping skills. Antidepressant medication may be used in conjunction with psychotherapy, depending upon the nature and severity of the depression.