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Depression Screening Test

Getting proper help for depression begins with proper diagnosis. Of the 17 million people who suffer from depressive illnesses, over two thirds (about 12 million) receive no treatment whatsoever. The minority who do seek help typically consult a number of doctors over many years before the proper diagnosis is made.

Listen to an Interview with Douglas Bloch as he speaks about Healing From Depression: 12 Weeks to a Better Mood .

The questionnaire that follows may help you to determine if you suffer from depression.

Have either of the following symptoms been present nearly every day for at least two weeks?

A. Have you been sad, blue, or "down in the dumps?"

B. Have you lost interest or pleasure in all or almost all the things you usually do (work, hobbies, interpersonal relationships)?

If either A or B is true, continue. If not, you probably do not have a depressive illness. Now continue by answering the following statements.

Have any of the following symptoms been present nearly every day for at least two weeks?

1. A poor appetite or overeating? No Yes
2. Insomnia-trouble falling asleep or nighttime awakenings? No Yes
3. Oversleeping (going to bed a lot earlier than usual, staying in bed later than usual, taking long naps)? No Yes
4. Do you have low energy, chronic fatigue or do you feel slowed down? No Yes
5. Are you less active or talkative than usual? No Yes
6. Do you feel restless or agitated? No Yes
7. Do you avoid the company of other people more
than you used to?
No Yes
8. Have you lost interest or enjoyment in pleasurable activities, including sex? No Yes
9. Do you fail to experience pleasure when positive things occur, such as being praised, being given presents, etc.? No Yes
10. Do you have feelings of inadequacy or decreased feelings of self-esteem or are you overly or increasingly self-critical? No Yes
11. Are you less efficient or do you accomplish less at school, work or home? No Yes
12. Do you feel less able to cope with the routine responsibilities of daily life? No Yes
13. Do you find that your concentration is poor and that you have difficulty making decisions (even trivial ones)? No Yes
14. Do you think and/or talk of death and suicide? No Yes
15. Have you at any time in the past been acting unusually happy for more than two weeks? No Yes

If A or B is true and if you answered yes to five or more of the above questions, you may have a major depressive illness. If you answered yes to #15, you may consider that major depression is but one phase of a bipolar disorder.

For the diagnosis to be complete, however, you should have a complete physical exam and blood workup to rule out other medical problems such as anemia, reactive hypoglycemia and low thyroid, all of which cause symptoms which may mimic those of major depression.

Specifically, you will want a test of the thyroid function called the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) stimulation test as well as the TRH (thyrotropin releasing hormone) stimulation test. (The TRH test is complicated to perform and is thus rarely ordered by doctors; however, it can pick up on thyroid disorders that the TSH test cannot.) It is also important to speak with a mental health professional to rule out the possibility that you are responding to a temporary life upset instead of a biological depression.

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