Depression Test: Is It Time to Get Screened?

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Story at-a-glance

  • Worldwide, 350 million people are believed to be dealing with depression, and in the U.S., 15.7 million people ages 18 years old and above (or 6.7 percent of adults) had a major depressive episode in 2014 alone
  • According to an article in The Guardian, people can actually live with various symptoms of depression without ever realizing that they have this problem

There is nothing amusing about depression, considering it is one of the most alarming disorders that affect people’s lives today. Worldwide, over 300 million people are believed to be dealing with depression.1

What’s alarming about this disorder is that it can have long-term effects on people’s mental health. It can cause people to commit suicide, which is one of the leading causes of mortality today. At least two-thirds of people who commit suicide had suffered from depression before their deaths.2 But with millions suffering from depression worldwide, why are so many still failing to acknowledge that they have this disorder?

Many Are Simply Unaware That They’re Depressed

According to an article in The Guardian, people can actually live with various symptoms of depression without ever realizing that they have this problem. In the article, clinical psychologist Angel Adams says:3

“People don’t quite understand that you can still function and have depression. A lot of people think if you have depression you’re going to quit your job and so on, but many people continue to work, continue to function but to a very different degree. You don’t have to be suicidal to be depressed. You can just be clinically depressed and think, ‘This is the way my life is.’”

Most laboratory tests are unhelpful when it comes to diagnosing depression. Rather, the best diagnostic tool that a doctor can use for this illness is talking to the patient. It’s recommended for doctors to routinely screen for depression. This may be done during a checkup for a chronic illness, at an annual wellness visit or during a pregnancy or postpartum checkup.4

Depression that’s left untreated for a long period may severely impact not only your quality of life but may also lead you to self-harm, hurt others or may make you harbor suicidal thoughts or actions. That’s why if you or someone close to you is exhibiting signs of depression, seek professional help immediately.

“Some of my patients have been surprised and shocked when I’ve told them they were depressed. They think it’s something else. If they have a lack of energy or fatigue, they might just think they’re doing too much. Sometimes they think, ‘It’s just this illness’ or ‘I had a break-up with somebody,’ but really they’re experiencing depression as well as the illness or the grief reaction,” Adam adds.

Are Online Depression Tests Reliable?

Online depression tests are usually composed of statements that describe certain degrees of depression-related behavior. You will be asked to answer the questions as truthfully as you can and to select the answer that best corresponds to how you feel/act. Once you’ve completed the test, you will be given an interpretation of your test results.

However, online screening tests are not as reliable as you might think. Case in point: WebMD offered a free online depression screening test in 2010, which turned out to be sponsored by the drug company Eli Lilly, the producer of Cymbalta. The test was rigged in such a way that no matter what answers you input, the result would always say that you’re “at risk for major depression.”

Hence, it is better to consult a holistic practitioner who can help give you a more accurate diagnosis and guide you toward effective treatment strategies rather than rely on these online tests. For more details, you can read my article “Important Factors Typically Ignored in Mental Health Screening Tests.”

MORE ABOUT DEPRESSION

Depression: Introduction

What is Depression?

Depression in Men and Women

Childhood Depression

Depression During Pregnancy

Depression Duration

Depression Causes

Types of Depression

Depression Symptoms

Depression Effects

Depression Treatment

Depression Prevention

Depression Diet

Postpartum Depression

Manic Bipolar Depression

Major Depressive Disorder

Depression Test

Chronic Depression

Seasonal Depression

Psychotic Depression

Depression FAQ

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Chronic Depression

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References

  • 1 World Health Organization, Depression Fact Sheet, April 2016
  • 2 Dosomething.org, 11 Facts About Suicide
  • 3 The Guardian, Are you depressed without knowing it?, Janaury 21, 2015
  • 4 Web MD, Depression Diagnosis