Frequently Asked Questions About Depression Screening

Have you experienced moments in your life when you just felt lonely or directionless? Have you ever asked yourself what you are doing with your life? Do you think the circumstances you experienced and are currently experiencing have led you to believe that life is meaningless?

If any of these statements are relatable, then it is likely that you are experiencing symptoms of a major mental illness known as depression.

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Several individuals use depression in a casual conversation to explain what they are feeling at the moment. But the term has its roots in a deeper medical and psychological context. Essentially, depression refers to a common and serious medical illness.

It negatively affects how you process or handle feelings, emotions, thoughts, behaviors, events, and responses. Usually, depression would result in immense feelings of unhappiness or lack of purpose in life.

Depression may also lead to feelings of melancholy. Sometimes, it might even lead to a sudden lack of interest in things that used to spark joy. 

Unfortunately, in addition to depression and its symptoms, there are other chronic illnesses as well. Some people are also dealing with life-threatening diseases or disorders, such as cancer. When an individual has cancer, specifically anal cancer, it is also possible to experience symptoms of depression.

Furthermore, this situation could affect friends and family members. It may also result in depressive symptoms in them. Depression can be mild. But some cases can be more long-lasting and severe. In this case, it is classified as clinical depression or major depression.

It is hard to identify whether someone suffers from depression. But these are the major signs to look out for:

  • Feeling of emptiness
  • General lack of interest
  • Abrupt changes in physical appearance (weight loss, skin health)
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Feelings of guilt and helplessness
  • Difficulty in focusing or retaining information
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Mood swings

This article will talk about the most important and commonly asked questions regarding depression screening. This piece aims to have a deeper perspective on identifying if you are going through some serious mental health condition.

Can I get a mental health diagnosis online?

Yes, you can get a mental health diagnosis online by undergoing interviews. You may also need to complete psychological tests and mental health assessments.

Psychological evaluation is necessary to determine a wide range of mental disorders accurately. It helps identify different conditions like mood, anxiety, depression, personality, and other disorders.

Is it possible to diagnose yourself with depression?

To be clinically diagnosed with depression, you need to undergo a psychological evaluation. This requires the completion of valid mental health instruments and assessments.

Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other health professionals should verify your symptoms and the results of your assessment. However, you can take a self-test to determine if you are experiencing depressive symptoms.

Can I get diagnosed online?

There are various mental health screenings available online. To be diagnosed with a mental health disorder, you can fill out online self-assessment tests determining your symptoms. Make sure to complete every item, as this can affect your score.

Your screening score can indicate a possible diagnosis. However, this is not a substitution for a clinical diagnosis provided by a mental health care professional.

What is a PHQ-9 screen?

The PHQ-9 test or the Patient Health Questionnaire is a self-administered screening tool. It is only intended to monitor the severity of depression and assess the individual’s response to treatment.

Although, it can tentatively diagnose depression in a high-risk population. It follows the nine DSM-IV criteria for depression. It received validation as an instrument for providing primary care.

How long does it take to complete PHQ-9?

Some patients may take complete the mental health assessment. However, as it only involves nine questions, it is possible to accomplish the Patient Health Questionnaire in less than 3 minutes.

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What are the PHQ-9 Questions?

The nine questions of the PHQ-9 can be scored from “0” (not at all) to “3” (nearly every day). For determining the severity of the depression, the patient should consider their mental state over the last two weeks and score items truthfully. The criteria are as follows:

  1.     little interests in hobbies or everyday routine,
  2.     depressing or hopeless feeling,
  3.     having trouble sleeping,
  4.     easily exhausted,
  5.     changes in eating pattern,
  6.     worthlessness and self-deprecation,
  7.     concentration difficulties,
  8.     slow movement or restlessness, and
  9.     self-harm thoughts.

How much does it cost to see a doctor online?

Telehealth companies are now designing online visitations to be accessible and cost-effective. According to a study, an appointment with a doctor virtually costs around $79. The price of which is significantly lower than an actual doctor consultation which costs about $146. 

What are the 5 signs of mental illness?

Mental illness or disorder may vary in terms of signs and symptoms. The five main signs of determining a mental illness include:

  • Withdrawing from social interactions;
  • Manifesting irritability and long-term unhappiness;
  • Sleeping or eating in a deranged pattern;
  • Changing moods significantly; and
  • Having excessive paranoid tendencies, worrying, rumination, and anxiety.

How do I know if I’m mentally ill?

To know if you are mentally ill, you need to take mental health assessments. You can also consult with a psychiatrist or a psychologist for an evaluation. You can also observe yourself for symptoms.

Some apparent indicators are uncontrollable low and high moods and excessive thinking. It might also manifest in having strong emotions of irritability and frustration. These symptoms should last for long durations.

How long does it take to get a diagnosis of depression?

The duration of assessing depression and other mood disorders varies to severity and symptoms. To be diagnosed with a depressive disorder, your symptoms must match at least five symptoms of depression. And you should be continuously experiencing this state for a minimum of 2 weeks.

How do you screen for mental illness?

For screening a mental illness, the patient needs to accomplish assessment tools. Precisely, a mental health screening tool can diagnose certain mental health disorders.

Mental health care professionals will test for common symptoms of disorders. They may ask about your thoughts, feelings, mood, emotions, and behavioral patterns.

What are the 7 types of mental disorders?

Mental illnesses or disorders are divided into various categories. However, the more usual types of conditions include

  1.     anxiety, depression, and mood disorders,
  2.     psychotic disorders,
  3.     eating disorders,
  4.     substance-use or addiction disorders,
  5.     personality disorders,
  6.     obsessive-compulsive disorder, and
  7.     post-traumatic disorder.

Conclusion

Being open about depression is a challenge. More so, if the condition comes with other life-changing or life-threatening diseases. Recently, there is growing adoption of mental health awareness and value.

However, several societies and parts of the world are still not open to accepting mental health in the same light as other illnesses. But soon, this mindset of discounting mental health has to shift.

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We are in the digital era, where everything is fast-paced. Consumption of content is instant, lacking more profound research of other factors behind the scenes. This way of delivery of information, though valuable, has opened up a slew of problematic ways of thinking.

Our expectations of ourselves tend to diminish compared to what other individuals display in public. It leads to many individuals thinking that they are not good enough. Eventually, it results in symptoms of depression or worse.

We all have the moral obligation to help one another. It is a must to ensure that we are looking out for everyone’s physical and mental well-being. We should not let time pass us by without extending a helping hand to others. Not everyone is not as fortunate when it comes to health issues.

Let us ease their burden and help alleviate their suffering by acknowledging their mental health and other factors in life. If you know someone going through difficult times, be the person who reaches out to comfort and support.

It is also possible that you are in a situation where you’re dealing with both cancer and mental health disorder. In an instance like this, do not hesitate to seek expert medical opinions. You can also conduct your research online to find ways to help you cope with the pain and the struggles.

Therapy sessions may be the ideal approach for you to solve your problem. You can access this type of treatment, either online or in person. Begin by taking the first step. Reach out to someone today. In time, you will heal from your pains.

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