Do you have depressive symptoms?

Do you have depressive symptoms? MADRS could help you quantify it where DMS-5 is more of a binary yes or no answer.

The question if you are depressed could either be a yes or no-question or it could be broken down into several, which is likely more user friendly, unless you’re already a psychologist.

Do you feel…

… unreasonably bad disproportionately often? That’ll include sadness, emptiness, apathy, hopelessness, anger, irritability and frustration, worthlessness, and guilt among others.

… more negative than usual where thoughts and judgment of things are more prone to getting a negative tone?

… less interest and amusement in most of what you used to appreciate, like sex, hobbies, and work?

… as if you do those things less, regardless of if you feel better or worse by doing them?

… less interest in yourself and how things work out?

… a decline in self-respect and self-esteem?

… as if you don’t care about taking care of yourself, your stuff, your home, or your responsibilities?

… as if past mistakes bother you more now than they have done earlier?

… anxious, or more anxious than usual – perhaps with the addition of restlessness?

… unmotivated and having a hard time taking the initiative?

… as if small things become big problems?

… tired and as if you lack energy?

… as if you’re having trouble sleeping?

… more or less interested in food, so your weight has changed?

… generally slower in thought and perhaps even physically?

… as if your brain won’t cooperate, so thinking, memorizing, and concentrating is harder?

… more morbid than before, drawn to death and thoughts about it? Perhaps even suicide?

… as if you’re more sensitive to pain and/or painful things have suddenly appeared?

If you do, that would be typical symptoms of depression, I’d say. It doesn’t always come with all of the symptoms, and sometimes they’re unreasonably tricky with just a few barely characteristic traits, but this is often it. Doom and gloom. Darkness and despair. A lack of everything joyful and lovely. Instead, there’s just hopelessness, meaninglessness, and anxiety.

Ruminations and brooding go around and around:

Why can’t things be as they should be?

Why can’t things be as they used to?

Why did it, or I end up like this?

Why am I feeling like this?

Why am I not like everyone else?

Asking for how things really are isn’t a bad idea to get to know someone. Another way of doing it could be to standardize the questions and grade them to see how things seem to be in an as objective matter as possible.

To get a diagnosis for Major Depressive Disorder according to the DSM-5

To qualify for a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder you need to have at least five symptoms during the same two-week period. They need to be a change from how you previously functioned. Depressed mood and/or loss of interest/pleasure must be present and you should exclude symptoms clearly attributable to another medical condition.

Depressed mood

Most of the day, nearly every day; may be subjective (e.g. feels sad, empty, hopeless) or observed by others (e.g. appears tearful); in children and adolescents, can be irritable mood

Loss of interest/pleasure

Markedly diminished interest/pleasure in all (or almost all) activities most of the day, nearly every day; may be subjective or observed by others

Weight loss or gain

Significant weight loss (without dieting) or gain (change of >5% body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day; in children, may be failure to gain weight as expected

Insomnia or hypersomnia

Nearly every day

Psychomotor agitation or retardation

Nearly every day and observable by others (not merely subjectively restless or slow)

Fatigue Or loss of energy, nearly every day

Feeling worthless or excessive/inappropriate guilt

Nearly every day; guilt may be delusional; not merely self reproach or guilt about being sick

Decreased concentration

Nearly every day; may be indecisiveness; may be subjective or observed by others

Thoughts of death/suicide

Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without specific plan, or suicide attempt, or a specific plan for suicide

In addition to that it is necessary that:

The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition.

The episode is not better explained by schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or other specified and unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.

There is no history of manic or hypomanic episodes. The exclusion does not apply if all manic-like or hypomanic-like episodes are substance-induced or are attributable to physiological effects of another medical condition

To quantify depression I use MADRS

MADRS stands for “Montgomery and Åsberg Depression Rating Scale”. Download it below along with some information about the test if you want to do it yourself. I haven’t created it, nor do I take any credits of any kind. I just want you to have decent enough tools to get forward. Getting forward requires the right diagnostic tools so you can start doing something about it, tools to actually do something as well as ways to quantify where and how you are to get an idea about how things progress. This is a good start and a way to quantify once in a while to see if you’re making progress or if you ought to change things up to get in the right direction.

The interpretation of the test and how to look at the points you get isn’t harder to find than googling and going for the first hit – Wikipedia. You’ll find it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montgomery%E2%80%93%C3%85sberg_Depression_Rating_Scale