Is Taking A Depression Quiz Effective?
According to John Hopkins Medicine, an estimated 9.5% of Americans will experience a depressive illness in any given year. Additionally, many Americans are living with more than one mental disorder at a given time. Particularly, depressive illnesses tend to co-occur with substance use or anxiety disorders.
Depression is a serious mental health condition that can greatly interfere with the quality of a person’s life. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is known to be linked to a number of physical health concerns including coronary artery disease.
In this article, we will explore the symptoms of depression and the effectiveness of various depression quizzes and self-assessments.
What Is Depression?
Depression is classified as a common, but serious mood disorder that majorly affects how a person thinks and feels. Symptoms of depression tend to disrupt a person’s ability to function as they normally would, and often makes it difficult to do everyday things like work, sleep, and handle other daily activities.
In the medical sphere, depression is typically referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include:
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
Feelings of irritability, frustration, or restlessness
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling "slowed down"
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause that do not ease even with treatment
Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide
If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 988, and is available 24/7
It is important to note that not everyone living with depression will experience all of these symptoms. Some people may experience few, while others may experience many. Additionally, there are multiple types of depression including:
Major Depression: Includes symptoms of depression most of the time for at least 2 weeks that typically interfere with one’s ability to work, sleep, study, and eat.
Persistent Depressive Disorder or Dysthymia: Often includes less severe symptoms of depression that last much longer, typically for at least 2 years.
Perinatal Depression: Occurs when a person experiences major depression during pregnancy or after delivery.
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Typically comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in late fall and early winter and going away during spring and summer.
Depression with symptoms of psychosis: A severe form of depression where a person experiences psychosis symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations.
What Causes Depression?
To identify the root cause of depression, it is typically most effective to work with a doctor or mental health professional. While depression can exist on its own, it often co-occurs with other physical or mental health conditions.
Some of the more common causes of depression include:
Stressful life events such as the loss of a loved one, or the breakdown of a relationship.
Family history, such as the existence of depression and other mental health conditions within your immediate family.
Past trauma or persistent lack of self-esteem.
Substance use disorders.
Certain illnesses including cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, or diabetes.
There are a number of additional mental health conditions that include the existence of major depression disorder. Depressive periods or episodes are particularly common in those with bipolar disorder.
The Effectiveness Of Depression Quizzes
If you feel you are living with symptoms of depression, you may be curious to see if a quiz or self-assessment can help. First and foremost, it is important to remember that no online quiz or self-report can take the place of a formal, medical diagnosis.
While there are many depression quizzes available online, the most effective ones are typically administered by mental health professionals directly. Still, organizations like Mental Health America offer free screening tools and resources such as this depression quiz.
While it is not advised to rely on online quiz results in place of a medical diagnosis, taking a depression quiz or self-assessment can serve as a helpful guide in determining next steps, or in describing symptoms to your doctor or therapist.
The Benefits Of Online Therapy
It is likely that seeking a formal depression diagnosis will require a different process for each individual due to a number of factors including location, getting medical care, and other variables.
Oftentimes, online therapy can serve as a great place to start in the process of seeking help and treatment for symptoms of depression. An online therapist or mental health professional may be able to guide you through your specific process, as well as provide support and guidance throughout your journey.
The Effectiveness Of Online Therapy
According to research, online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or “talk therapy” is proven to be equally as effective as in-person therapy when it comes to the reduction of symptoms of certain mental health conditions including depression.
Additionally, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often utilized in the treatment of major depressive disorder, and has proven to be effective.
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it is important to remember you are not alone. While there are a number of depression quizzes available online, it is typically best to consult your doctor or a mental health professional for guidance in the diagnostic and treatment processes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do You Confirm If You Have Depression?
A health care professional such as a psychiatrist or PCP can diagnose depression. Making an appointment with your primary care provider might be the first step if you want to confirm whether or not you live with a depressive disorder. If you notice symptoms of depression (IE, you may feel depressed or hopeless over half the days in any given weeks, and these symptoms aren't going away), it's important to reach out to a health care professional who is able to help. Sometimes, certain symptoms of depression (IE, failure to concentrate or focus, difficulty sleeping, or social withdrawal) can overlap with other disorders, which is one reason why it can be so important to talk with a professional.
What Are The Five Main Symptoms Of Depression?
Five of the main symptoms of depression include:
- A loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- A down, low, or depressed mood
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or guilt
- Changes in sleep (sleeping too little or too much)
- Changes in appetite (poor appetite or overeating)
However, these aren't the only possible depression symptoms; individuals who live with depression may also notice symptoms such as trouble concentrating or focusing, irritability, daytime fatigue, body aches, numbed emotions or emotional numbeness, and social isolation or withdrawal from others. If you spend most of the day feeling bad nearly every day or experience other symptoms, you deserve to get the help you need. The symptoms of depression (feeling bad, depressed, or hopeless nearly every day feeling tired nearly every day trouble staying asleep or sleeping too much nearly every day thoughts of guilt or hopelessness nearly every day moving slowly/slowed body movements nearly every day, little interest in pleasurable activities such as reading the newspaper or watching television, etc.), can be relieved. Talk to your doctor or another trusted medical or mental health professional.
Do I Have A Type Of Depression?
Depression can be diagnosed by a health care professional such as a primary care physician or psychiatrist. If you have health insurance, your health insurance company may cover this visit. During an assessment for the potential diagnosis of a depressive disorder, a healthcare professional might ask questions such as:
- "During half the days in the past two weeks or more, have you experienced poor appetite or overeating?"
- "During half the days in the past two weeks or more, have you experienced trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much?"
- "During half the days in the past two weeks or more, have you experienced a down, low, or depressed mood?
- "During half the days in the past two weeks or more, have you had trouble concentrating on things such as reading the newspaper or watching television?"
- "During half the days in the past two weeks or more, have you experienced a lack of interest in activities you'd typically enjoy?"
- "During half the days in the past two weeks or more, have you experienced feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness?"
A written depression questionnaire, test, or assessment may look similar. Written assessments may ask you to score your personal level of symptoms such as fatigue during the day trouble concentrating or focusing on activities or tasks you wish to complete during the day poor appetite or overeating over the course of the day trouble falling, and a down, low, or depressed mood. Often, these assessments will ask you to mark a box that indicates if you have experienced these symptoms during over half the days, nearly every day, several of the days, or none of the days over the course of the past two weeks. You may take an assessment like this with a health care professional, or you may take an assessment like this prior to the start of your visit. Often, the questionnaire will be similar to this one, trademarked by Pfizer Inc. A health care professional will rule out any other possible medical conditions that could cause these symptoms prior to diagnosing depression. If you take an online depression test and realize that you notice ongoing depression symptoms in yourself once you hit submit quiz, it's important to reach out to a health care professional.
What Percentage Of Teens Have Depression?
Depression is common among teens. According to the NIMH website, the past year prevalence in 2020 for depression in the United States in those between the ages of 12 and 17 was 17%. Research suggests that therapy can be helpful in reducing depression symptoms in teens. If your teen lives with a mental health condition like depression or might, the first step will often be for them to talk to a doctor or mental health professional about what they're experiencing. A doctor may be able to diagnose depression and/or write a referral to another professional if needed.
What Are The 3 Levels Of Depression?
Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe. Regardless of the severity of depression, it can affect a person's life, and if you live with a depressive disorder or think that you might, you deserve to get the help that you need. Major depressive disorder is typically diagnosed when symptoms occur on most days (IE, over half the days in a week for two weeks or more), aren't better attributed to another condition, and are clinically significant. It's important to note, too, that there are various depressive disorders or types of depression that a person can be diagnosed with. If low-level depression symptoms persist for two years or more, it could be a depressive disorder called persistent depressive disorder (PDD).
Can Depression Be On And Off?
Depression can be episodic or "on and off." This can be true for mental disorders or conditions such as major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. A major depressive episode, which may include symptoms like poor appetite or overeating, trouble falling or staying asleep, feeling tired or having little energy, feeling depressed or hopeless, and little interest or pleasure in activities, for example, typically lasts two weeks or more. During a major depressive episode, other people could have noticed slowed body movements, irritability, and other possible depression symptoms, too. Research shows that some challenges, such as life stress due to financial problems or stress related to other causes, can worsen depression or lead to symptoms of depression.
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