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.”