Depression is one of the most commonly experienced emotions and most common psychiatric disorders diagnosed. Several online tests exist to provide information on depression level but they should not be used in the absence a professional consultation.
"Normal" depression versus depressive disorders
It is a known fact of what it’s like to feel sad, blue, or down in the dumps. For most people, these feelings will remit and they'll return to normal. However, some individuals suffer from chronic depression. Signs of depression indicating a more serious problem include the feelings of becoming so distressed that they interfere with normal functioning in major areas of life - work, relationships, day-to-day functioning. At this point, the individual is considered to have clinical depression or a depressive disorder.
Diagnosis of major depression
According to the DSM-IV-TR - the major diagnostic system used by mental health professionals in the U.S., UK, and other countries - an individual is diagnosed with major depression when reporting certain symptoms occurring more days than not over two weeks. Feelings of depression or the inability to feel pleasure must be experienced along with five other symptoms including significant weight loss/gain, hypersomnia/hyposomnia, psychomotor agitation/retardation, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness/guilt, diminished ability to remember, concentrate or make decisions and thoughts of death. As depression can be insidious, individuals often don’t realise how much it has affected their lives. While not intended to provide a depression diagnosis or replace assessment by a professional, there are several depression scales that can provide an individual with feedback.
Online depression screens
Depression screening measures included here provide scores with explanations and recommendations. No depression surveys found on sites that were primarily advertisements for specific services or medications were included. You may note some questions on anxiety. That is because there is much overlap between anxiety and depression.
-- The Depression Self Assessment created by Mayo Clinic Staff (Mayoclinic.com)
-- The Depression, Anxiety, Stress Test (Depression-anxiety-stress-test.org)
-- The Depression Screener by Mental Health America (Depression-screening.org),
-- The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) (Depression-help-resource.com)
-- The Zung Depression Scale (Afraidtoask.com)
-- The Geriatric Depression Rating Scale (short version ) (Counsellingresource.com)
You deserve to feel better
It is important to remember that whether or not you score in the depressed range on the screens listed here or any others, if you feel you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress, you should see a professional who can help you to alleviate these symptoms. Never rely on an online screen without seeing your physician or a mental health provider to discuss the symptoms making you unhappy. Effective treatment for depression does exist, but you have to be willing to let others help.