Am I Depressed?

Depression Self-test

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Depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day. It’s a serious mental health condition that affects the mind and body. It can influence our daily life, routines, and relationships. If you’ve been feeling low for a while, it might be a good idea to understand the signs and symptoms of depression and consider taking the PHQ-9 Depression Test.

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Background on the PHQ-9 Test

The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) is a widely used diagnostic instrument specifically designed to screen for and measure the severity of depression. Developed by Drs. Robert L. Spitzer, Janet B.W. Williams, Kurt Kroenke, and colleagues it has been an invaluable tool for healthcare professionals across the world.

The PHQ-9 stems from the larger Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ). The full PHQ assesses various common mental health disorders, while the PHQ-9 focuses solely on depression. Its design is based on the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

Each of the nine questions corresponds to one of the DSM-IV criteria for major depressive disorder. Patients rate how often they’ve been bothered by specific issues over the past two weeks, with options ranging from “Not at all” to “Nearly every day.”

Due to its concise nature, the PHQ-9 is often preferred in both clinical and research settings. It allows for:

Validity and Reliability of the PHQ-9

The PHQ-9 has undergone rigorous validation studies and has demonstrated excellent reliability and validity. Its scores correlate strongly with the lengths of depressive episodes and the degree of functional impairment. The simplicity of its scoring system, combined with its diagnostic precision, has led to its adoption in numerous clinical guidelines for the detection and diagnosis of depression.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities. While everyone may experience these feelings occasionally, individuals with depression experience them for extended periods, typically at least two weeks or longer.

Different Types of Depression

There are various forms of depressive disorders, including:

Furthermore, specific variants of MDD exist:

Bipolar disorder also incorporates depressive episodes but is interspersed with manic or hypomanic periods.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Understanding the full spectrum of depressive symptoms is critical, not just for those afflicted by the condition but also for their close ones, healthcare professionals, and educators. Recognizing these signs early can lead to quicker intervention, potentially reducing the severity or duration of a depressive episode. Here is an expanded section on recognizing depressive symptoms:

Emotional Symptoms

Behavioral Symptoms

Cognitive Symptoms

Physical Symptoms

Severe Symptoms

Symptoms In Children and Teens

Depression may manifest differently in younger individuals. Symptoms might include persistent feelings of unhappiness, irritability, trouble at school, sensitivity to criticism, or even physical complaints like unexplained aches and pains.

Symptoms In Older Adults

 In addition to the typical symptoms, seniors might exhibit signs such as a decreased ability to function or neglect of their own well-being, memory difficulties (which might be mistaken for early dementia), or a desire to stay at home rather than venture out.

Understanding the full spectrum of depressive symptoms is critical, not just for those afflicted by the condition but also for their close ones, healthcare professionals, and educators. Recognizing these signs early can lead to quicker intervention, potentially reducing the severity or duration of a depressive episode. Here is an expanded section on recognizing depressive symptoms:

Causes of Depression

To truly comprehend the complexities of depression, one must delve into its root causes and underlying factors. Depression is a multi-dimensional disorder, meaning that its origins can be traced back to a myriad of biological, psychological, and socio-environmental influences. Here is an expanded section on deciphering the roots of depression:

Biological Factors

Psychological Factors

Socio-Environmental Factors

Lifestyle and Physical Health Influences

Cultural and Societal Influences

Understanding the roots of depression is pivotal, as it allows for a more personalized and effective approach to treatment. Many individuals experience a combination of these factors, emphasizing the need for comprehensive assessments and multi-pronged therapeutic approaches.

Treatment for Depression

Effectively addressing depression requires a multifaceted approach tailored to the individual’s unique needs and circumstances. A variety of interventions and therapies are available, each with its own benefits and considerations. Here’s an expanded exploration of these interventions:



Ketamine Treatment

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)

Lifestyle Interventions

Alternative Therapies

Support Groups

Hospitalization or Residential Treatment

When considering interventions and therapies, it’s crucial to consult with mental health professionals to determine the best course of action tailored to the individual’s needs. Regular follow-ups and monitoring are essential to ensure the chosen treatment remains effective and to make adjustments as needed.

Help is Available

If you believe you might be experiencing symptoms of depression, consider taking the PHQ-9 test provided on this page. It’s essential to remember that while this test can provide valuable insights, it should not replace a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare professional.

Depression is a complex and multifaceted mental health condition, often layered with intricacies that span the emotional, psychological, and physiological domains. Its pervasive nature touches millions, making it a collective concern for societies across the globe. Remember, the silver lining in the dark cloud of depression is that it remains one of the most treatable mental health disorders. Treatments, interventions, and therapies are continually evolving, offering hope to those affected.

However, recognizing the problem is only the first step. Taking decisive action towards recovery is the ultimate goal. If you or someone you cherish is grappling with the weight of depression, know that you’re not alone. Healthy Life Recovery, based in the heart of San Diego, California, stands as a beacon of hope and help. Specializing in addiction and mental health treatment, our team of dedicated professionals is committed to guiding individuals on their journey to well-being and mental health recovery.

Reaching out for assistance is a testament to strength, not weakness. Don’t hesitate. Your journey toward a brighter, healthier future can start with just one call to Healthy Life Recovery

FAQs About Depression

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in activities. It affects one’s thoughts, emotions, and overall daily functioning.

While sadness is a natural emotion experienced in response to specific events, depression is a prolonged state of low mood and aversion to activity, impacting daily functioning for extended periods.

There are several types, including Clinical depression (major depressive disorder), Persistent depressive disorder (PDD), Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and others linked to specific conditions or patterns.

Yes, certain medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and cancer can trigger or exacerbate depressive symptoms.

Symptoms range from persistent sadness, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and loss of interest in activities to severe cases of suicidal thoughts or self-harm.

There’s no singular cause. It’s believed to result from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors.

Depression is common, affecting millions worldwide. In the U.S., nearly 7% of adults experience depression annually.

It’s based on a detailed assessment of symptoms, medical history, and mental health evaluations. A minimum duration of symptoms and their intensity often guide the diagnosis.

Dr. Sanajai Thankachen

Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Sanjai Thankachen

Dr. Sanjai Thankachen graduated from Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medicine in 2000. He completed his residency in psychiatry in 2008 at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in New York. Dr. Thankachen is currently working with Pacific Neuropsychiatric Specialists in an outpatient practice, as well as working at multiple in-patient psychiatric and medical units bringing his patients the most advanced healthcare treatment in psychiatry. Dr. Thankachen sees patients with an array of disorders, including depression, bipolar illness, schizophrenia, anxiety, and dementia-related problems.

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Sean Leonard Bio Image

Edited for Clinical Accuracy By:

Sean Leonard, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Sean Leonard is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner. He received his master’s degree in adult geriatric primary care nurse practitioner from Walden University and a second postmaster specialty in psychiatry mental health nurse practitioner from Rocky Mountain University. Sean has experience working in various diverse settings, including an outpatient clinic, inpatient detox and rehab, psychiatric emergency, and dual diagnosis programs. His specialty areas include substance abuse, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, PTSD, ADHD, and OCD.

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Sun, Y., Fu, Z., Bo, Q., Mao, Z., Ma, X., & Wang, C. (2020). The reliability and validity of PHQ-9 in patients with major depressive disorder in psychiatric hospital. BMC Psychiatry, 20(1).

Depression. (n.d.). National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

What is depression? (n.d.).

National Library of Medicine. (n.d.-c). Teen depression.

Depression and older adults. (n.d.). National Institute on Aging.

Harvard Health. (2022, January 10). What causes depression?

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