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Am I Depressed? Try A Self Assessment To Find Out

In today’s world, feeling a lack of energy, the loss of pleasure in daily activities, and experiencing sleep disturbances can be familiar feelings for all of us. However, it’s important to know that if these feelings persist and affect our lives substantially enough to be considered depression [1].

The amount of research surrounding depression is staggering due to its abundance in today’s society. There are tools that can help you determine if you may have depression as well as numerous methods in which you can identify the root of your depression, ease your symptoms, and help you overcome it.

PHQ-9 Depression Self-Assessment

Try this self-assessment based on the criteria outlined by the American Psychiatric Association’s official DSM-5 Major Depressive Disorder Diagnosis. The test should only take 1-2 minutes.

Your results of this self-assessment are not a replacement for a professional diagnosis, nor is this test meant to be a proper diagnostic tool. Please use it only for educational purposes and talk to your doctor about all your symptoms.

The Depression Epidemic

Depression, or “major depressive disorder”, is the main cause of disability worldwide according to the World Health Organization. It can affect adults, adolescents, and children[2].

Major depressive disorder is also one of the most common mental health conditions in the United States, affecting more than 17 million Americans each year. Symptoms of depression extend far beyond feelings of sadness; many patients experience fatigue, changes in appetite, and sleep disturbances, among others listed below. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school, and in the family.

At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Sadly, over 700,000 people die due to suicide every year[2]. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in people between the ages of 15 and 29 years olds. People with depression find it difficult to identify their condition and seek help because they suffer from a variety of symptoms and are concerned about social stigmas of mental health stereotypes.

Depression and the PHQ-9

Psychologists use a variety of methods to diagnose depression, including physical examinations and checking symptoms against the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychological Association.

One of the most common evaluations is the PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire-9), which quantifies common symptoms and allows professionals to monitor their severity based on the DSM-5 criteria for depression[3].

The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) is a new tool for making criteria-based diagnoses of depressive and other mental disorders commonly encountered in primary care. The diagnostic validity of the PHQ has recently been established in two studies involving 3,000 patients in 8 primary care clinics and 3,000 patients in 7 obstetrics-gynecology clinics.

With 9 criteria, the PHQ depression scale is half the length of many other depression measures, has comparable sensitivity and specificity, and consists of the actual 9 criteria upon which the diagnosis of DSM-IV depressive disorders is based. The latter feature distinguishes the PHQ-9 from other “2-step” depression measures for which, when scores are high, additional questions must be asked to establish DSM-IV depressive diagnoses.

In addition to visiting your doctor to see if you might have depression, self-evaluations are simple tools that can assist in assessing your depression risk.

Depression Symptoms

Contrary to the social stigma regarding depression, depression’s only symptom is not only feeling sad. It can have other major effects on your body and mind. Men and women can also experience a variety of different specific symptoms and have differences in their expression and onset [5].

Symptoms of depression can include:

Symptoms of Depression in Males

Depression can oftentimes differ in its onset and expression in men and women.

Depression symptoms in males can include:

Symptoms of Depression in Females

Depression symptoms in females can include:

Symptoms of Depression in Children

Children may also see symptoms specific to their group that can make schoolwork and socializing difficult.

Depression symptoms in children can include:

What are the Types of Depression?

So you’ve taken the test and may have discovered that you are at risk of having mild to severe depression; what’s next? In tandem with reaching out to a mental health professional, it’s important to come to an understanding that depression comes in various forms and may stem from multiple sources or afflictions.

Sometimes, depression may not even have an obvious cause and can linger for a long time for no clear reason.

Types of depression include [6]:

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depression (clinical depression) has intense or overwhelming symptoms that last longer than two weeks. Symptoms may interfere with everyday life.

Bipolar Depression

People with bipolar disorder have alternating periods of low mood and extremely high-energy (manic) periods. During the low period, they may have depression symptoms such as feeling sad or hopeless or lacking energy.

Perinatal and Postpartum Depression

“Perinatal” means around birth. Many people refer to this type as postpartum depression. Perinatal depression can occur during pregnancy and up to one year after having a baby. Symptoms go beyond “the baby blues,” which causes minor sadness, worry, or stress.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

PDD is also known as dysthymia. Symptoms of PDD are less severe than major depression. But people experience PDD symptoms for two years or longer.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of premenstrual disorder (PMS). It affects women in the days or weeks leading up to their menstrual period.

Psychotic Depression

People with psychotic depression have severe depressive symptoms and delusions or hallucinations. Delusions are beliefs in things that are not based in reality, while hallucinations involve seeing, hearing, or feeling touched by things that aren’t actually there.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder, usually starts in late fall and early winter. It often goes away during the spring and summer.

Contributing Factors and Prevention

After understanding your own risk for depression, the various symptoms we can express and the different types of depression that exist, it’s very important to know the contributing factors to depression and how we can prevent them.

Biological, social, and psychological factors are all involved in the development of depression [2]. Normal yet negative life events such as unemployment, bereavement, and traumatic events can increase the likelihood of a person developing depression. As a result, depression can exacerbate the affected person’s life situation and this will most likely worsen their depression.

Active Prevention

Physical health is also a contributing factor to both developing depression and eliminating it. For example, cardiovascular disease can lead to depression and vice versa [7]. Numerous case studies have concluded that, at least for some, moderate-intensity exercise can be beneficial for depression and can result in a happier mood.

Walking, jogging, running, or playing your favorite sport can all play a part in preventing depression or even lessening its effects over time. Getting fresh air and direct sunlight may also be helpful if you find yourself stuck inside for most of the day.

Treatment for Depression

Depression is a serious mental health condition that can worsen without professional treatment. Untreated depression can impact every area of your life, contributing to physical and psychological complications such as substance abuse, relationship difficulties, and social isolation.

Since this condition affects millions of people each year, there are many treatment options for depression. Different treatments work best for different patients and different types of depression, so it is important to speak with your doctor to determine which options are right for you.

Treatment options include [6]:

You Can Win the Fight Against Depression

After taking the PHQ-9 self-test, you may have discovered you are at risk of having mild to severe depression. While this might be unsettling, know that we at SoCal Mental Health are here to help you gain an understanding of depression and also provide you with various treatment programs that will help you win the fight against depression.

Please feel free to contact us if you or someone you know and love needs help in their fight. Our staff here are more than happy to assist you.

Sources

  1. Medical News Today (2021, November 19) What is depression and what can I do about it? Retrieved November 11th, 2021 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8933
  2. World Health Organization (2021, September 13) Depression. Retrieved November 11th, 2021 from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
  3. Kroenke, K. M.D. (2001, September 6) The PHQ-9. Retrieved November 11th, 2021 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495268/
  4. American Psychological Association. Patient Health Questionnaire 9. Retrieved November 11th, 2021 from https://www.apa.org/depression-guideline/patient-health-questionnaire.pdf
  5. Cleveland Clinic (2020, December 31) Depression. Retrieved November 12th, 2021 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9290-depression
  6. Saripalli, V. Psy.D (2020, November 1) Everything You Need to Know About Depression. Retrieved November 12th, 2021 from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression
  7. Craft, L. L., & Perna, F. M. (2004). The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed. Retrieved November 12th from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/