Depression is so common that it’s sometimes referred to ‘the common cold’ of mental health.
Unlike a common cold, suffering from depression can be extremely debilitating – and feel so shameful – that many people don’t seek help.
I know when I was in my darkest place I couldn’t leave the house let alone book an appointment to see a specialist.
For this reason you may want to find out if you are clinically depressed, or just having a bad few days, before you visit a doctor.
Here’s a useful test that doctors often use to determine if a patient is depressed.
The guide is called the “Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D)” and has been used for many years as a useful way for doctors determining a patient’s level of depression before, during, and after treatment.
The depression test result comes out as:
Add up your scores (to the left of each answer) as you go through the questions and the evaluation is at the end together with links to sources of help.
You may also find this article helpful when you're trying to establish
if you are depressed: Is Depression Fake?
Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) Questions
1. DEPRESSED MOOD
(Gloomy attitude, pessimism about the future, feeling of sadness, tendency to weep) 0 = Absent 1 = Sadness, etc.
2 = Occasional weeping
3 = Frequent weeping 4 = Extreme symptoms
2. FEELINGS OF GUILT
0 = Absent 1 = Self-reproach, feels he/she has let people down 2 = Ideas of guilt 3 = Present illness is a punishment; delusions of guilt 4 = Hallucinations of guilt
0 = Absent 1 = Feels life is not worth living 2 = Wishes he/she were dead 3 = Suicidal ideas or gestures 4 = Attempts at suicide
4. INSOMNIA - Initial
(Difficulty in falling asleep)
0 = Absent 1 = Occasional 2 = Frequent
5. INSOMNIA - Middle
(Complains of being restless and disturbed during the night. Waking during the night.)
0 = Absent 1 = Occasional
2 = Frequent
6. INSOMNIA - Delayed
(Waking in early hours of the morning and unable to fall asleep again) 0 = Absent 1 = Occasional
2 = Frequent
7. WORK AND INTERESTS
0 = No difficulty 1= Feelings of incapacity, listlessness, indecision and vacillation 2 = Loss of interest in hobbies, decreased social activities 3 = Productivity decreased 4 = Unable to work. Stopped working because of present illness only. (Absence from work after treatment or recovery may rate a lower score).
(Slowness of thought, speech, and activity; apathy; stupor.) 0 = Absent 1 = Slight retardation at interview
2 = Obvious retardation at interview 3 = Interview difficult 4 = Complete stupor
(Restlessness associated with anxiety.)
0 = Absent 1 = Occasional 2 = Frequent
10. ANXIETY - PSYCHIC
0 = No difficulty 1 = Tension and irritability 2 = Worrying about minor matters
3 = Apprehensive attitude 4 = Fears
11. ANXIETY - SOMATIC
Gastrointestinal, indigestion Cardiovascular, palpitation, Headaches Respiratory, Genito-urinary, etc. 0 = Absent 1 = Mild 2 = Moderate 3 = Severe 4 = Incapacitating
12. SOMATIC SYMPTOMS - GASTROINTESTINAL
(Loss of appetite, heavy feeling in abdomen; constipation) 0 = Absent 1 = Mild
2 = Severe
13. SOMATIC SYMPTOMS - GENERAL
(Heaviness in limbs, back or head; diffuse backache; loss of energy and fatiguability)
0 = Absent 1 = Mild
2 = Severe
14. GENITAL SYMPTOMS
(Loss of libido, menstrual disturbances)
0 = Absent 1 = Mild 2 = Severe
0 = Not present 1 = Self-absorption (bodily) 2 = Preoccupation with health 3 = Querulous attitude 4 = Hypochondriacal delusions
16. WEIGHT LOSS
0 = No weight loss 1 = Slight 2 = Obvious or severe
(A tricky one but a question a doctor will ask themselves when assessing you e.g how aware of your condition are you and do you have full insight into it or have you lost all your insight? This applies more to people who are 'manic' or not really aware of their condition. I always had 'no loss' of insight; I was aware I was depressed.)
0 = No loss 1 = Partial or doubtful loss
2 = Loss of insight
ADD UP YOUR RESULTS:
TOTAL ITEMS 1 TO 17: _______________
0 – 7 = Nil Depression
Well here's the good news. You are probably NOT suffering from depression but you might be having a bad few days...
Based on your answers you might be feeling some of the following:
A bit low
Not sure why
Don't want to do anything
Or see anyone
It's normal to have down days and, according to your answers, it doesn't look as if it's anything to worry about.
However, it's important to prevent a low mood tipping into depression. So, based on your answers I have come up with a personalised response on how you can help yourself feel better.
8 - 13 = Mild Depression
Looks like you are probably mildly depressed.
It seems that you’re probably not seriously depressed but suffer from mild depression.
The good news is that, so do many people from time to time. I’m always relieved when I hear that I’m amongst friends and not isolated with the way I feel. I hope you do too.
Still, you maybe having a few bad days because you took the time to fill out the questionnaire and I’m guessing you were wondering if it’s anything serious and what you could do to feel better.
One problem with anyone suffering from mild depression is that they are predisposed to developing severe depression symptoms.
14 -18 = Moderate Depression
You’re probably suffering from moderate depression
It seems that, from your answers, you’re probably not severely depressed but might suffer from moderate depression.
The good news is that, so do other people from time to time.
You maybe having a particularly few bad days because you took the time to fill out the questions and I’m guessing you were wondering if it’s anything serious and what you could do to feel better.
In terms of symptomatic severity, moderate depression is the next level up from mild depression. Moderate and mild depression share similar symptoms. Additionally, moderate depression may cause:
Problems with self-esteem
Feelings of worthlessness
The greatest difference between mild and moderate depression is that the symptoms of moderate depression are severe enough to cause problems at home and work.
19 and above = Severe Depression
It seems that, from the questionnaire, you’re probably severely depressed.
Severe depression was definitely my issue and I know many others who have faced the same symptoms.
You maybe having a particularly few bad days because you took the time to fill out the questionnaire and I’m guessing you were wondering if it’s anything serious and what you could do to feel better.
Severe depression has a massive impact on every day life and can isolate the sufferer and makes you feel like the only source of comfort is to end it all.
I highly recommend you seek professional help. We cannot recover from severe depression in isolation. I can send you in depth information about medical support, treatment and the different types of medication.
****Please remember this information is for guidance only and does not replace seeking professional help.****