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Depression Test: Am I Depressed?

A few (hopeful) words about depression:

Experiencing depression is a little like finding ourselves in a hole. If the hole is shallow enough, we may be able to climb out by ourselves. We might need a few climbing skills. We call these skills the 7 Habits of Happy People. You can track your progress by taking the Skills-based Happiness Quiz.

If the hole is too deep and we don't have the confidence to climb out by ourselves, we may need a ladder (ie pharmaceutical treatment) and/or we may need someone to climb down and try to pull us out (ie talking with a qualified specialist about the problem). For more information visit, for example, MedicineNet.com.

About the test: This depression test is called the PHQ-9. The PHQ-9 is one of the most commonly used depression screening tools in the world. It is used by clinicians and researchers for individual assessment and large-scale reports, including census reports conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The science behind the test:  This depression test is based on nine symptoms described in the DSM-IV, the standard diagnostic manual for mental health disorders developed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The PHQ-9 has been found to be a valid and reliable measure of depression. The PHQ-9 was authored by Pfizer Inc.

After you take the depression test: When considering your results, it is important to note that depression can be caused by three components: genetics, personal habits, or life circumstances. To learn more about life skills and personal habits that lead to greater happiness, try our happiness quiz. Speaking with a mental health provider could enable you to understand the causes of your depression and find appropriate treatment. Modern science is finding a growing number of effective treatments for most types of depression.

NOTE: We strongly recommend that you discuss the results of this test with a specialist, especially if your score indicates depression.

Think twice before taking this test alone:  If you do not plan to take action after discovering that your score indicates depression, why are you taking it? Discovering that you do have depression without taking action might make you more depressed.

Users of this test should not rely on the results for a diagnosis. Questions should be addressed to your own physician.

Take The Depression Test



More about depression and depression tests:


Depression is a common psychological disorder that can occur due to various risk factors: chronic stress, losses, transitions, feeling of despair and lack of fulfillment in life, old age, diseases, feelings of inadequacy, domestic violence or abuse, comorbid psychological conditions such as generalized anxiety or substance use, traumatic events experienced caused by sudden natural disasters, destructions and displacements caused by wars and perpetual felt insecurity, social injustices, crimes experienced or committed, such as, neglect or abuse of children and innocent animals, unhealthy attachments, spiritual unrest or crisis, exhaustion from chronic competing demands on personal time, consumeristic life style and wasteful habits, insensitive behavioral patterns, poverty, information overload, unhealthy media exposure or pressure from societal trends and expectations, dysfunctional relationships, seperation or divorce, multiple adverse early childhood life events, and genetic predisposition.

Depression Scales and why they are used?

Psychological health treatment service providers/mental health practitioners use a variety of scales or assessment and screening tools to help understand the specific level of severity for clients and patients who are suffering from prolonged/chronic depression.

Consistent pre- and post- treatment monitoring of increase or decrease in depression symptoms can prove to be very helpful in managing depression on long-term basis.

The following depression scales or assessment/screening tools are used with patients who have depression symptoms (depressed mood, diminished interest or pleasure, change in body weight, disturbed sleep cycle, psychomotor agitation, fatigue or loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, diminished ability to concentrate, recurrent thoughts of despair, death or suicidal ideation).

Goldberg Depression and Anxiety Scales (GDAS)

This scale is based on a simple YES/NO answer to nine clinical symptoms of depression. The more Yes responses indicate a severer level of depression being experienced.

Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS)

This scale is based on a severity level between 0 – 4. It checks for a number of depressive symptoms, along with Obsessive compulsive and anxiety, somatic, depersonalization/de realization symptoms.

Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)

This scales is a self-rating scale. It has 21 items focused on emotional, behavioral, and somatic symptoms, with scores ranging from 0 – 3. This scale is helpful in assessing mood, pessimism, sense of failure, lack of satisfaction, guilty feelings, sense of punishment, self-hate, self-accusations, self-punitive wishes, crying spells, irritability, social withdrawal, indecisiveness, body image, work inhibition, sleep disturbance, fatigability, loss of appetite, body weight change, somatic discomfort, and loss of libido.

Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)

This scale also assesses for the nine symptoms of depression over the last 2 weeks’ time period. Its scores include: Nearly every day 3, More than half the days 2, Several days 1, Not at all 0.

Major Depression Inventory (MDI)

This scale has ten items. For the diagnosis of major depression, either item 1 or 2 should be among the 5 of 9 items present. Items 4 and 5 are combined, with only the highest answer category is considered and a total number of items of nine. As a diagnostic tool, the 10 items are dichotomized for the presence (1) or absence (0) of each symptom. As a measuring tool, the items are given a value (0-5) and summed up to a theoretical score of 0 to 50. The cutoff score is 26 for the diagnosis of major (moderate to severe) depression.

Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS)

This scale measures the depressive symptoms in children. The Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS) is a 16-item measure used to determine the severity of depression in children 6-12 years of age. Items are measured on 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-point scales.  The CDRS is derived from the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D); a score of 15 on the CDRS is equivalent to a score of 0 on the HAM-D.  Assessment information is based on parent, child and schoolteacher interviews.  Measures include: Depressed mood, weeping, self-esteem, morbid ideation, suicide ideation, irritability, school work, capacity to have fun, social withdrawal, expressive communication, sleep, disturbance of eating pattern, frequent physical complaints, general somatic, hypo- activity and reversal of affect.

Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)

The self-administered screening scale consists of 20 items, 16 negatively worded and 4 positively worded. The instrument measures affective and somatic aspects of depression. Each question receives a score ranging from 0 - 3, and the possible range of scores is from 0 to 60, with higher scores indicating the presence of greater symptomatology.

Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS)

This scale is based on 20 items or statements that aim to help assess presence and severity of depressive symptoms in a client or patient. Some of the items are reverse coded. All items have score between 1-4. The key needs to be consulted for scoring on this scale. Generally, scores higher than 50, with a maximum score of 80, are in need of therapeutic treatment for depression.

Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS)

This scale has 30 items, to be responded by selecting Yes or No answer choices. The scale aims to assess depression in older adult. Total Score: 0-9 = normal; 10-19 = mild depression; 20-30 = severe depression.

Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD)

This scale is for assessment of depression in patients diagnosed with Dementia in old age. Following categories are assessed through this scale: Mood, Behavioral, Physical, Cyclic and Ideation disturbance.

Concluding remarks

Individual and group therapy can be very effective in treatment of depression, if people can engage and commit to the treatment. Sometimes, anti-depressants are also used to help stabilize moods during depression.

You can ask your clinician, therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist to help you understand more about the depressive behavior patterns, feelings, thoughts and overall symptoms by discussing your responses to the statements or questions listed on the specific depression scales or assessment/screening tools used for assessment of depressive symptoms you may have been experiencing.

Results from these scales, combined with diagnostic assessment by the provider will help design most effective treatment plan for your recovery and healing from depression.