Can a Blood Test Detect Your Mental Illnesses?

Last Update on April 15, 2022 : Published on April 15, 2022

What is, in your knowledge, ‘blood tests’ used for? A physical health condition, right? You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that scientists have developed a new blood test that could diagnose your level of depression.

Isn’t that interesting?I mean, if a blood test can really determine your mental health condition, it can be of great help in monitoring the treatment as well as identifying mental health conditions.

diagnose mental illness

Although the research is limited and it does not say how many mental health conditions a blood test can work for, experts have put a seal on the fact that depression patients are sure to benefit from this development.

With this development of blood tests being able to detect depression and other mood disorders, it will be safe to say that studying the effect of antidepressants on depressive patients has now become easily and accessible.

Let’s understand the entire research about blood tests for depression in detail…

Can Depression Be Diagnosed By A Blood Test?

Technically yes, depression can be diagnosed  by a blood test. According to recent research work it has been proved that now we can detect the level of depression, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders with a simple blood test.

The blood test helps in determining the level of nerve cell growth which is inversely proportional to depressive behavior. If your blood test shows a decrease in nerve cell growth then you are most likely to have had depression or are at a risk of developing depression.

The research was based on a comparative study between depressed individuals and a control group. The blood test results of both the groups were found to be different and a consistent difference was found in the nerve cell growth in both groups.

Keeping this finding in mind, we can diagnose depression with the help of a blood test. Having said that, detailed research is yet to be conducted which can help us go in depth with blood testing for mental health conditions.

Also read: Depression Isn’t Just Sadness – Here Are The Stages Of Depression You Should Know

How Does Blood Test Determine Depression?

This is the part where we get very scientific and talk about nerve cells. I’ve always found it interesting but somehow I could never memorize the scientific terms.

Anyway, coming back to the topic, our body produces a protein, namely ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)’, which is responsible for the growth and development of our nerve cells.

The brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is also said to influence the learning, memory and plasticity of our brain. An interesting fact about brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is that psychological stress can reduce blood levels of this protein.

Interestingly, this low level contributes to developing symptoms of depression. A type of BDNF (proBDNF) is known for causing inflammation and nerve degeneration. And inflammation in brain cells is directly associated with depressive behaviors.

Do you see the connection? I know it’s all very technical but that’s how one can diagnose Depression and other mood disorders through a blood test. Experts also say that they need to come up with a strategy to separate BDNF from ProBDNF to get more accurate results.

To sum it all up, the level of BDNF in a person’s blood is used to determine if they have depression or other mood related disorders. The BDNF level also helps us understand how well or not the treatment works for you.

Also read: 10 Best Daily Routine Activities For Depression That You Must Try

What Blood Tests Are Done To Diagnose Depression?

An antibody based blood test can be administered to diagnose depression. A test named  ‘enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay’ is usually used to identify proteins in the blood. This is apt to test the presence and level of BDNF in our blood which is directly linked to depression.

In the research, the Antibody based blood test results of several patients with severe mental health conditions like depression & bipolar were compared with the blood test of healthy individuals and the results indicated a significant difference in the level of BDNF.

Also read: Signs Of Depression In Men: Emotional, Mental, Physical & Behavioral

That’s All Folks!

That’s all the information I could get for you in relation to the scientists who developed a new blood test that could diagnose your level of depression. I hope you found this piece of information interesting.

Do comment down below if you know anything else about depression now being able to be diagnosed via blood test.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and be safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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