Depression screening tools can be helpful in diagnosing whether an individual has a clinical problem with depression. Before the correct treatment plan can be designed and executed, it’s important to know what type of depression a person may be suffering from and where the illness might have originated. Each facility, medical professional or mental health specialist could use different types of depression screening tools. A standard set of questions are usually included in these tools to help practitioners diagnose their patients. Depending on the individual’s response, a diagnosis of depression can then be reached. In addition to noting the answers that are given, patients will also be evaluated on how their work, family life and social life have been impacted by feelings of depression.
Most depression screening tools will address questions on very specific topics. The topics below will be included in many depression screening tools.
Depression Screening Tools: Evaluating Mood and Emotions
The first and most obvious question in nearly all depression screening tools is regarding a patient’s moods and emotions. If you report consistently feeling sad, pessimistic or feeling hopeless, you could be suffering from depression. Everyone has bad days, even the happiest people have times of frustration, distress and melancholy. However, if you are unable to overcome continuous negative feelings or your emotional and mental pendulum does not swing back towards a happier and more satisfied state of mind, you could be experiencing depression. It’s time to take your mental health seriously and consider receiving professional support. Whether it’s in the form of talk therapy, medication or natural alternatives, your path to healing can begin today.
Depression Screening Tools: Evaluating Eating and Sleeping Patterns
Many evaluations include questions on eating and sleeping patterns. Changes in these important lifestyle behaviors are noted and can be a red flag for the professional diagnosing depression. If a person is suffering from insomnia and rarely sleeps or wants to stay in bed and not engage in the outside world, he/she could be experiencing side effects of depression. Also of interest is a change in a person’s eating habits. Have you suddenly lost your appetite and forget to eat all day? Or maybe you have begun to binge on junk food several times a day, eating uncontrollably even though you know what you are eating has terrible consequences for your mind and body. Either scenario could be indications of depression. It’s also important to note when these changes occurred and how long the behavior has been going on. It is helpful for your health care team in determining your best treatment options by answering your questions as in-depth as possible.
Depression Screening Tools: Evaluating Self Esteem
No one likes to disappoint family members, friends or business associates. However, if you are preoccupied with the fear of letting everyone down, are feeling like a failure, or have the belief you are never enough, these behaviors may signal a mental health issue. Depression screening tools will include questions that ask you to evaluate how you fit in to your family life, workplace, and social structure. If you have an extremely low opinion of yourself or are constantly feeling unworthy, these could be signs of depression.
Depression Screening Tools: Evaluating Concentration
Depression screening tools also look at your ability to concentrate. If you are unable to focus on tasks you are trying to complete when you normally can get these tasks accomplished easily, this can be the result of depression. If taking care of your family, keeping up with your daily routine at work or completing class assignments have become difficult, these could all be signs of depression. Many people who suffer from depression find they are unable to read a book or follow a television program because their minds wander and then recede into darker parts of their own existence.
Depression Screening Tools: Evaluating Personal Habits
Sometimes the lack of concentration you suffer from can have an impact on the way you live your public life. Depression screening tools will include evaluating how you speak, walk and move. There are some people who slow down dramatically when they are feeling depressed. Their speech can become slurred and people have trouble understanding them. On the other end of the spectrum, you might be aware that you’re speeding up the way you interact with others. Maybe you’re talking so fast that no one can follow what you are trying to say. Perhaps your hands, feet and body need to be in a constant state of motion in order for everything to make sense to you. Depression screening tools are meant to notice patterns in your personal behavior.
Depression Screening Tools: Evaluating Suicidal Thoughts
All depression screening tools look for possible suicidal behavior. If you feel the people closest to you don’t care if you are no longer around or feel they would be better off if you weren’t alive, this is a sign you are depressed. If you feel you would be better off dead and are having suicidal thoughts, it’s crucial that you get help immediately! You must not put yourself or loved ones in danger, thoughts of suicide can be healed but you must take action. Have a friend or family member take you to your closest hospital or treatment center immediately.
Depression screening tools not only evaluate the many types of depression but also help the health care advisor to decide which techniques will work best for the individual. Different techniques work on different age groups. For example, senior citizens express signs of depression in ways differently than young adults. Therefore, it’s important for medical practitioners and therapists to understand the use of depression screening tools to help evaluate and design a treatment plan that best suits the individual’s needs, age and lifestyle.
Depression is a terrible, heart wrenching disease. It effects your personal life, your professional life and your family life. If you have used depression screening tools on your own and the results show possible depression or you think you may have depression, find help today. There are many treatment options available but only you can take the first step towards wellness.