Depression Quizzes – Do They Work?

Man taking depression quiz at desk on laptop computer

Depression quizzes or self-assessment tools can provide a general indication of whether you may be experiencing the symptoms associated with depression. However, these quizzes should not be considered a definitive diagnosis or a substitute for a professional evaluation.

Depression quizzes typically consist of questions about mood, energy levels, sleep patterns, appetite, and other aspects of mental well-being. Based on your responses, the quiz may suggest whether you are experiencing mild, moderate, or severe depressive symptoms.

While these quizzes can help you become more aware of your symptoms and may encourage you to seek professional help, they have limitations:

  1. People might unintentionally misrepresent their symptoms due to social desirability, memory issues, or misunderstanding of the questions
  2. Depression quizzes do not consider the individual’s unique circumstances, medical history, or other factors contributing to their symptoms
  3. The quality of depression quizzes can vary widely, with some developed by mental health professionals and based on valid criteria, while others might be less reliable

It is essential to consult with a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor, for a proper evaluation and diagnosis. They can provide a more comprehensive assessment, considering the individual’s unique circumstances and history, and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Dr. Google

We are the first to get excited about the renewed interest in psychological health, especially after the pandemic. We’ve seen decades, collectively, of patients who do not get the care they need because of the stigma associated with mental health problems. The Internet has made information far more available, and patients can understand more about their condition while seeing their therapist or psychologist. However, the concept of “Dr. Google” is genuine and can be problematic in the therapeutic process.

For one, patients may misinterpret their symptoms as a disease when they are more reflective of their character or the circumstance in which they currently find themselves. This can lead to an internal bias that can perpetuate depressive symptoms. In other words, patients may create a depressive-like episode when the actual cause may be far more subtle or completely different. It’s almost impossible to accurately diagnose clinical depression without appropriate training and without considering the merry many and varied factors that go into a depression diagnosis, not least of which is family history, medical history, and even unrelated medications that are currently being taken.

Beyond creating heightened anxiety and potentially interfering with one’s enjoyment of life, this self-diagnosis can also make the therapeutic process more challenging. One of the hallmarks of our care at The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center is that we do not take previous diagnoses, even by mental health professionals, for granted. We often face unusual diagnoses explained through a deep diagnostic dive, which can ultimately lead to a modified diagnosis. It’s important to understand that in its simplest existence, the brain is exceptionally complex, and diagnosing psychological disorders is as much an art as a science. The symptoms of depression can be shared with other mental health concerns that require different medications or therapeutic processes. Some of those are below:

  1. Attention-deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, shares some of the hallmarks of depression, especially in concentrating and making decisions. To add to the complexity, ADHD and depression can co-occur
  2. Depression may also share some symptoms with bipolar disorder; these two mental health concerns are often mistaken for one another. As such, a patient with bipolar who has self-diagnosed as depressed may delay seeking care very much to their detriment
  3. Depression may share some symptoms with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  4. Depression and borderline personality disorder also share some common signs and can be misdiagnosed if not under the watchful eye of an experienced psychologist and treatment team

A proper evaluation can help differentiate between high-functioning depression and other conditions, leading to appropriate treatment and improved well-being.

Should You Take a Depression Quiz?

There’s no inherent risk in taking an online quiz. However, whether you should or shouldn’t take a depression quiz is a personal decision that you should make after understanding the potential risks of misinterpreting the results. For some, understanding that the symptoms we are experiencing may be related to depression can be an important first step in seeking treatment. However, if you believe that something is not right and you may be experiencing depression, it’s best to speak to a qualified mental health practitioner or facility and get a diagnosis from a clinician.

We see online quizzes for depression and other mental health concerns as valuable tools to start conversations about true psychological and mental health issues. However, they are not a replacement for an appropriate diagnosis from an experienced clinician.

For more information and to see if you or a loved one would benefit from treatment for mental health concerns like depression, we encourage you to contact The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center and speak to our admissions team. Doing so is often the hardest step in the process, and getting treatment can begin to catalyze a change in your or a loved one’s life.


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