Jump to: Depression FAQs

Who Is This Quiz For?

Below is a list of 10 questions designed to help you determine if you might be experiencing depression. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have depression. Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few weeks.

How Accurate Is It?

This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider or doctor.

Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns aren’t legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.

Your privacy is important to us. All results are completely anonymous.

Little interest or pleasure in doing things
Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless
Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much
Feeling tired or having little energy
Poor appetite or overeating
Feeling bad about yourself - or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down
Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television
Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed
Thoughts that you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself
If you've had any days with issues above, how difficult have these problems made it for you at work, home, school, or with other people?

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The above quiz is based on the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). If you think you may be suffering from Depression and/or you (or a loved one) are experiencing a mental health crisis, we strongly suggest that you reach out to to a qualified mental health professional. To aid in your search please consider our directory of emergency mental health resources.

Depression FAQs

How is depression diagnosed?

Depression (also called major depressive disorder) presents with symptoms that range from mild to severe. Feelings of sadness, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, feeling worthless or guilty, loss of energy or increased fatigue, and a loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed are common. Children and adolescents who are depressed may come across as irritable rather than sad. A health care professional looks for symptoms that are interfering with the person’s relationships and with their work and that represent a change in the person’s previous level of functioning.1 To receive a diagnosis of depression, the person must have five depression symptoms every day, and nearly all day, for at least two weeks.2

Who can diagnose depression?

Primary care providers often diagnose depression. They may refer an individual to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist for treatment. Typically, says Steven Hollon, PhD, of Brentwood, Tennessee, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University, the provider uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to make a diagnosis.3 “They go through the criteria in the DSM to see how many criteria the person meets,” Hollon says.

How many people are diagnosed with depression?

Around 17.3 million U.S. adults have had at least one major depressive episode.2 Some 20% of women and between 10 and 12% of men will experience depression at least once in their life, says Hollon. “Depression is relatively rare during childhood and comparably distributed across the genders,” he adds. “The rates just explode during adolescence and that is when gender disparities first emerge.” And, he adds, “Half of all the folks who are going to be diagnosed with major depression at some point will have at least one episode during adolescence.”

How long does it take to diagnose depression?

It can take weeks after depression begins before it is diagnosed. This is partly because people may be resistant to ask for help, says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Management at Union College in Schenectady, New York, and chief in the Division of Psychology at Ellis Hospital, also in Schenectady. When a primary care doctor is looking into whether a person is depressed, they may initially think the symptoms could be caused by a physical illness, he explains. “Often, a primary care doctor may be looking at the person’s medications or whether something is going on physiologically,” says. “They are trying to rule out medical causes as the reason for the symptoms, which is appropriate, but then it can take longer to get a diagnosis.”

Is it possible to try to diagnose yourself with depression?

“Self-diagnosis is not helpful,” says Nydegger. “Instead of going online and researching the University of Google, ask your doctor.”

Who has the highest rate of depression?

Adult women have a higher rate of depression at any given point in time (8.7%) as compared to adult men (5.3%). The age group that has the most adults who have had a major depressive episode is the 18 to 25 age group.2 Children and teenagers get depressed, too, but it can be tricky to diagnose, Nydegger says. “We know that between 2 and 6% of children experience depression,” he says. “About 14% of teenagers age 12 to 17 will experience one episode of major depression. And about 9% of teenagers report a major depressive episode in a given year.”

Can you inherit depression?

Genetic factors do play a role in depression, but so do biological, environmental, and psychological factors.2 Unipolar depression (depression only) is not that likely to be inherited, says Hollon. Bipolar disorder (which is marked by one or more manic or hypomanic episodes in addition to depression) is more likely to be inherited, he says.
While depression does tend to run in families, just because a family member has depression does not mean you are going to get it, Nydegger says. “It is not a simple gene thing,” he says. “And the important thing is not so much why a person has depression but what are we going to do to help them.”

What is the #1 cause of depression?

“The number one cause of depression is the tough stuff, the major life events that go wrong,” Hollon says. Depression can occur when people experience adverse life events such as the death of someone close, the loss of a job, or some type of psychological trauma. Depression can lead to more stress and dysfunction, which can worsen the depression itself. There also is a connection between depression and physical health. For instance, cardiovascular disease can lead to depression (and vice versa).4,5 Thankfully, there are effective treatments for depression. “We know that depression is a very treatable condition and that over 80 percent of people who receive appropriate treatment for their depression will improve significantly,” Nydegger says. “Unfortunately, the large majority of people with depression never get appropriate treatment.”

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Last Updated: Jun 7, 2021