Thursday, January 03, 2008

Depression Self-Assessment

Depression is the most commonly occurring psychological
problem in the United States, with several estimates
putting the number of depressed people at roughly twenty
percent of the US population. While this percentage may not
seem extraordinarily large on its face, as a number it may
add up to sixty million people, or one in every five US
citizens. Common though it may be, depression often goes
undiagnosed and many depressed people may not actually be
aware of their condition, while other people may suspect
that they’re depressed but may not be entirely

Though it’s sensible to seek a professional diagnosis
if depression is suspected, there are methods for getting
an indication of whether depression has taken hold that can
be performed entirely on one’s own, within a private
setting. Specifically these methods involve personal
assessment for depression through the taking of a
self-assessment test. Self-assessment tests for depression
are quite common, and in fact are often used in
professional settings during efforts to make a mood
disorder diagnosis. Studies have found that people are
typically quite honest in answering questions about their
mood, and this may be especially true when answering
questions in written form.

Depression self-assessment tests aren’t some
arbitrary question and answer form: they are typically
simple to perform, but have been designed to be
exceptionally accurate in testing for depression and are
based upon established psychological principles. In
addition to asking particular questions about a
person’s outlook, a credible depression
self-assessment test will also typically gauge intensity
and duration of symptoms. This type of inquiry can often
distinguish between genuine depression and other, temporary
mood disturbances.

Arguably the most popular of the depression self-assessment
tests is the Beck Depression Inventory, or the BDI. The BDI
was developed by Aaron Beck, a psychiatrist and well-known
practitioner of the popular cognitive therapy form. The BDI
came into use in the early 1960’s and has since been
copyrighted and used on a large scale. The Beck Depression
Inventory is composed of twenty-one questions with four
possible responses each, with each response graded from
zero to three. The BDI is completed entirely by the
individual being assessed for depression, even when the BDI
is performed in a clinical setting.

There are other depression self-assessment tests besides
the Beck Depression Inventory, with many psychological
resources developing their own depression self-assessment
tests. Because of the tendency for depression to be
expressed in emotional and physical terms, many if not all
depression self-assessment tests are broken into assessment
for psychological and physical symptoms. The psychological
and physical symptom results are then combined to make as
accurate of an assessment of depression status as possible.

About the Author:

Zinn Jeremiah is an online author. To find depression help
resources, visit or .

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