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Suppose someone were to see a psychiatrist, explain their life problems and such and then their psychiatrist concludes they are currently in a depressive episode. Their psychiatrist doesn't yet know if they have major depressive disorder - MDD - bipolar disorder or no disorder.

Are there situations where someone in such scenario might be able to be prescribed antidepressants or any kind of medication? I can tell such situations are rare since doctors would probably want more information before prescribing medication.

The context of this question is what we can conclude from those who are prescribed antidepressants. Does the fact that they have been prescribed such medications imply that they have been diagnosed with or highly thought by a doctor to have a mental illness instead of simply having an "episode" or a temporary mental health problem?

Sorry if the assumptions of my questions are wrong. I'm assuming that there are cases where mental health problems are temporary much like having a fever and some are permanent much like being farsighted. To my knowledge, people can experience a depressive episode without having MDD or bipolar

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    $\begingroup$ You are correct, it is very common to have depressive feelings. When those feelings have an objective external cause it is not a disorder. Different people react differently to stress, so you might get temporary medication. A prescription in itself does not imply a mental health diagnostic. But a psychiatrist has tools (well a questionnaire basically) to determine if your symptoms are pathological or temporary. $\endgroup$ – Hugh Mungus Nov 13 '15 at 20:53
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Suppose someone were to see a psychiatrist, explain their life problems and such and then their psychiatrist concludes they are currently in a depressive episode. Their psychiatrist doesn't yet know if they have major depressive disorder - MDD - bipolar disorder or no disorder.

Are there situations where someone in such scenario might be able to be prescribed antidepressants or any kind of medication?

Yes, absolutely. I do not think that they are necessarily rare either. As this link attests:

The proportion of non-psychiatrist doctor visits where antidepressants were prescribed without a documented psychiatric diagnosis increased from 59.5% to 72.7% between 1996 and 2007, according to a new study in Health Affairs.

Does the fact that they have been prescribed such medications imply that they have been diagnosed with or highly thought by a doctor to have a mental illness instead of simply having an "episode" or a temporary mental health problem?

Being prescribed the medicine implies that the doctor believed that they were suffering from depression, a form of mental illness. Other factors (e.g., the symptoms or their history) would dictate whether the doctor though it was/would be a long term mental illness/mental health problem.

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  • $\begingroup$ Depression is a mental illness and could be a symptom of a mental disorder but it is not a mental disorder? $\endgroup$ – Jack Bauer Nov 16 '15 at 9:17

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