The chances are that if you have been feeling sad or unhappy for more than just a couple of weeks and have lost interest in most of the activities you used to enjoy to the extent that your daily routines are now being affected, then you could be suffering from some form of depression.
There are many symptoms associated with depression and not everyone will experience the same ones nor with the same degree of intensity. Consequently, diagnosing and treating depression can be problematic as it is important to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms such as an underlying medical condition, substance abuse, or normal responses to say, bereavement, that of course will result in feelings of sadness and despondency but which are not considered true depression.
One way of finding out if you could be suffering from depression is to take a depression test. Depression tests are often used by health professionals in the first instance to assess whether depression is indicated, and if so, how severe the depression might be.
There are many tests available but one of the most popular is the Goldberg test.
The Goldberg Depression Test:
The Goldberg Depression Test was developed by psychiatrist Ivan K. Goldberg who worked as a psychiatrist in New York for many years. The test for deppression of 18 questions, each of which are answered by the individual using a sliding scale of responses based on how they have felt during the previous week.
This test can also be useful to check periodically to see if the symptoms of depression are improving or getting worse as any change of 5 points or more in either direction is considered to be significant.
Assign points to each question:
Not at all (0) A little (1) Somewhat (2) Moderately (3) Quite a lot (4) Very much (5)
Once all the questions are answered, the scores are added up to give a final score and an indication of whether depression is likely.
Depression Test Questions:
Scoring on the Goldberg Depression Test
If your score was less than 9 then depression is not indicated.
Between 10 and 17 - possibly some minor depression
Between 18 and 21 - maybe on the verge of depression
Between 22 and 35 - minor to moderate depression indicated
Between 36 and 53 - moderate to severe depression possible
Over 54 - possibly suffering from severe depression.
It's important to remember that no test, no matter how good it is, can not give you a reliable diagnosis.
If you think you or someone close to you are experiencing symptoms of depression then you should seek professional advice either from a GP or other health professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate help.
Your GP will be able to discuss symptoms with you in much more detail and will be able to identify other factors that might be influencing how you are feeling.
Once an accurate diagnosis is made then treatment options can be discussed that will help get you back to how you used to be.