How Do Rating Scales for Depression Work?

How Do Rating Scales for Depression Work?Depression is a serious emotional disorder that can lead to substance abuse or even suicide. It is caused by imbalances or deficiencies of certain chemicals that the brain uses to regulate mood, impulse control, memory and other functions. These imbalances can be caused by congenital factors or can result from trauma, neglect or drug use. To find out if you have depression, use a symptom scale with a medical professional so you can seek appropriate treatment.

Signs of Depression

Some of the most common depression symptoms are as follows:

  • Loss of interest in activities formerly enjoyed
  • Relational distance from previously close friends and loved ones
  • Emotional numbness
  • Loss of ambition or hope for the future
  • Anger management struggles
  • Sleep disturbances (too much or too little sleep)
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Thrill seeking
  • Self-injury (cutting, burning and etc.)

Some depressed individuals experience intermittent bouts of mania, which produces unreasonably elevated moods, impulsiveness, irritability, aggression and/or recklessness. This condition is known as bipolar disorder, and it can be extremely difficult to diagnose because patients tend to avoid treatment. During depressive times, they doubt that treatment will help, and during manic times they don’t think they need any help. To combat this, seek help if you experience these kinds of symptoms on a regular basis, for instance monthly.

What Are Rating Scales for Depression?

Unlike problems like a broken bone, there are no obvious symptoms for depression. There are no blood tests for depression, so you cannot easily determine that you have it. However, treatment professionals rely on the words of the patient to diagnose depression and to estimate how dangerous the condition has become. For the last fifty years or so mental health experts have utilized the following rating scales to track depression in their patients:

  • The Hamilton depression rating scale (21 questions with between 3 and 5 possible answers per question, administered by a therapist)
  • The Åsberg depression rating scale (10 questions, administered by a therapist)
  • The Raskin depression rating scale (3 types of ratings—verbal, behavioral and secondary symptoms)
  • The Beck depression inventory (21 questions, self-administered by patients)
  • The Geriatric depression scale (“yes” or “no” questions designed to diagnose depression in senior citizens
  • The Zung self-rating scale

While mental health professionals widely debate the efficacy of these rating scales, many of them use at least one scale as bench marks for their evaluations of depression and treating prescriptions. These scales are not designed to treat depression, but rather to measure it.

Help for Depression

If you or a loved one experience symptoms of depression, then call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline for immediate answers. Our addiction counselors can answer your questions and ask you a few to measure your needs. We can connect you with the best treatment programs for your needs, so seek help as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you hurt everyone you love before you reach out. The call is absolutely confidential and discreet, so call us now for immediate support.