Monday, August 26, 2013

Understanding Beck Depression Inventory

Depression is so common a lot of people tend to self-diagnose. Just because you have been crying for a few days doesn't really mean you're suffering from clinical depression. To determine if you have the medical condition or not, you have to undergo some tests. One of the most famous examinations is the Beck Depression Inventory test.

What is Beck Depression Inventory test?
It's also referred to as BDI. It's an assessment test a potential sufferer has to take to determine the severity of the symptoms of his or her depression. It is not an ordinary test. It's been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.

Who can take the exam?

Anyone who is from 13 years old and up can take the examination.

What symptoms does it try to measure?

Almost all the common signs of depression are being measured by BDI. These include the following:

  • Feeling of sadness and hopelessness

  • Views on past failures

  • Feeling of guilt or self-dislike

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Crying tendencies

  • Feeling of worthless

  • Lack of interest in certain activities

  • Loss of energy, fatigue, or lethargy

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

How does it work?

The Beck Depression Inventory is made up of 21 questions, each with four different choices or responses you can choose from. Each of these choices has its corresponding score from 0 to 3, but that would never be revealed to you, until the exam is completed. Moreover, the questions are divided into two sets. The first 13 measure the psychological symptoms of depression while the rest assess the physical signs of the medical condition.

Once the exam is completed, each of the answers will be assigned its corresponding score, and they are summed up. The interpretation of the results will depend on the exam taker. If you have been diagnosed with clinical depression previously, the range between 30 and 63 denotes severe depression. If you have never been diagnosed, a score of 21 and up means you may be suffering from depression. Because of the different techniques of interpreting the results, it's easier for the clinician or the health care provider to determine the subtype you might have.

What are the limitations of the exam?

The Beck Depression Inventory should never be treated as a diagnostic tool. This only measures the symptoms of depression. Further tests should be conducted before a doctor can officially confirm your medical condition as depression.

Moreover, you cannot take this all by yourself even if there are forms available in the Internet. Only a professional clinician or health care provider is allowed to request, give, and assess the examination.

What should I do if the tests say I have depression?

The first step is to not fret. First, you still have to obtain the official diagnosis from your doctor. Second, even if you're clinically depressed, there are ways on how to manage or even treat it, as long as you are cooperative.

It also helps if you try to maintain a more positive attitude. By keeping positive thoughts in your mind, you can uplift your mood and reduce the typical signs of depression. You can use subliminal messages or affirmations.

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