Depression Test

Depression Test 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Screening Tool

Millions worldwide suffer from depression, a  mental health issue characterized by recurring melancholy or a loss of interest. 

It can also result in other symptoms, including changes in eating and sleep habits, exhaustion, trouble focusing, and suicidal or self-destructive thoughts. 

Healthcare professionals employ a procedure known as a depression test to find out whether you could be having symptoms of depression.

Who Should Get Screened?

Adults should undergo regular depression screenings, especially if they have risk factors like a history of depression, a chronic illness, or a recent life change, such as the loss of a loved one or job loss. Older people may also be at risk for depression due to aging-related changes or chronic health issues. A depression test is also recommended for pregnant and postpartum women.

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What Are the Different Types of Depression?

Depression comes in a variety of forms, each with its own set of symptoms and characteristics. A major depressive illness is marked by a protracted feeling of melancholy or a loss of interest in activities, as well as several other symptoms, including altered eating and sleep habits, exhaustion, and suicidal or self-destructive thoughts.

Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) is yet another less severe form of depression that lasts for at least two years and is characterized by a recurring depressed mood and a lack of interest in various activities.

Bipolar disorder (elevated or irritable mood) is associated with periods of depression and mania or hypomania. At the same time, SAD is a form of depression that happens yearly around the same time, typically in the fall or winter when there is less natural sunlight.

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How Do Depression Screenings Work?

A self-reported questionnaire or an interview with a healthcare professional is commonly used for depression tests. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) is the most widely used screening tool for a depression test. It is a nine-question survey that evaluates the presence and severity of depressive symptoms during the first two weeks.

The PHQ-9 survey asks about symptoms like feelings of helplessness or hopelessness; losing interest in routine activities; having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much; being tired, or lacking energy. A person who tests positive for depression will typically be referred for additional assessment and treatment. This could require extra testing or examination to determine other potential reasons for the symptoms.

Treatment Options for Depression

A combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes are available as treatments for depression. Although the full benefits of antidepressant medication may not be realized for several weeks, they can help to reduce the symptoms of depression. 

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Medication and psychotherapy, like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT), are beneficial in helping people understand and manage their symptoms. The treatment for depression may also involve a lifestyle change. A nutritious diet, regular exercise, and proper sleep hygiene can elevate mood and lessen the effects of depression. 

Summary 

A depression test is a procedure used to examine people exhibiting depressive symptoms. Adults should undergo routine depression screenings, especially if they have risk factors for the illness, personal or family history of the disorder, a chronic illness, or a recent life change. Bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and seasonal affective disorder are among the various types of depression. 

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