When you are being treated for depression it is important to understand just how severe the depression is and there is no better way to do that than a depression score chart. Unfortunately there are few concrete ways to measure depression and just as people experience pain differently, people experience depression differently. What is severe for one person may be mild for another.
The most widely accepted and used means of determining the degree of depression in patients is known as the Beck Depression Inventory which is more of a questionnaire than a depression score chart. It works quite well though and many mental healthcare professionals use it as their primary means of treating depression in people who are at least 13 years old. Another depression score chart is the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale which correlates positively with the Beck scale.
Depression Score Chart
The Beck Depression Inventory, or BDI, depression score chart asks questions related to depressive feelings which include hopelessness, irritability, guilt, sadness, fatigue, weight loss and interest in sex. This depression score chart was created in 1961 and then revised in 1971 and then again in 1996. The BDI-II is the most up to date version of the chart and is very widely used. It uses the patient’s descriptions of their feelings about themselves and the way they view the world as a means of gauging the degree of depression they suffer.
The research that led to this depression score chart involved the creator’s (Beck) ideas about how negative thoughts determined behavior and worked to cause depression. It was his opinion that negative thoughts actually caused depression rather than that they were the result of depression, which was unheard of at the time. These ideas led to the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which is one of the most widely used and effective tools used in fighting depression.
The original form of the questionnaire had 20 questions posed to the patient regarding how they had been feeling as recently as the past week. Each question had a set of four possible answers, each with a particular value. The total of the depression score chart would give an indication of severity of depression with the lower numbers indicating a non-depressed person and higher numbers indicating increases in the severity of the depression. The subsequent versions of the depression score chart addressed flaws in the original and included new criteria for depression that were previously unaccounted for and added an additional question.
The depression score chart considers the mental (cognitive) aspects of depression as well as the physical (somatic) aspects. The sufferer is asked about pessimism, guilty feelings, self esteem, suicidal thoughts, self value and self criticalness as well as crying, indecisiveness, changes in eating and sleeping and loss of interest in activities such as sex.
The Depression score chart is not a definer of the level of depression that a person is suffering but it gives an idea about the range of depressive feeling experienced. The scale should not be interpreted by anyone other than a mental health care professional who is well versed in the usage of the chart because the score can be misinterpreted easily.