Signs of Depression Test & Diagnostic Information for Patients


This is an easy-to-use test based on the clinical signs of depression.

It can help you determine if your experience is depression or not. Of course, you will need to see a licensed depression therapist to know for sure. This will give you the reliable information you need to determine your next best steps relative to your depression or other struggles.

This test is based on the DSM V, which is the formal diagnostic manual for mental health conditions. Depression is unique because unlike generalized anxiety, which is the most common form of anxiety, depression has many more nuances and subcategories. We will be differentiating between Major Depressive Disorder, Depressive Episodes, and Pervasive Dysthymic Disorder or clinically insignificant or better stated healthy or sad reactions to major life events.


Depression Test

Question 1. Do you have at least 5 of these symptoms?

  1. Feeling sad nearly every day, empty, hopeless, or irritable mood
  2. Markedly diminished interest/pleasure in all (or almost all) activities most of the day, nearly every day
  3. Weight change: losses or gains of note
  4. Sleep changes: sleeping far more or far less than usual nearly every day
  5. Apathetic or agitated physically
  6. Loss of energy, nearly every day
  7. Feeling worthless or excessive/inappropriate guilt
  8. Decreased mental clarity or indecisiveness
  9. Thoughts of death/suicide


Question 2. Is your depression affecting your ability to work, be in relationships or succeed in other areas of function?

If you’re experiencing the symptoms from Question 1, but they are not noticing your ability to function in your life you may not have clinically significant depression. This means you are less likely to be a good candidate for medication as treatment in addition to counseling. But, having five symptoms from question 1 would be a good reason to seek depression treatment in Boulder, CO.

Question 3. Is there no other condition or behavior that these feelings could be attributed to substance use, medication, or other mental health diagnoses?

It is important to make sure that your symptoms are not best attributed to other factors in your life. We always want to identify the source of distress if we are able so that we can treat the primary factor/s first.

Question 4. Are the signs of depression you are having linked to a specific life event in the last year?

The central tenet of mental health diagnosis is that the experience a person is having is inordinate relative to the life events they are in response to. For example; feeling sad, confused, and losing interest in things that used to bring you joy would not be clinically significant a month after your mother died.

This is not entirely straightforward because you can experience clinically significant depression episodes from major life events. But, often we don’t want to believe that some significant emotions and distress is both normal and healthy in a full life. So you can ask yourself if someone else experienced what has recently happened to me and they told me they feel the same way I’m feeling, would I think that seems reasonable? We are much more generous with other people taking time and finding their way through difficult events.

Question 3. How often and for how long have you felt the concerning signs of depression?

Depression lasts longer than a few days. A true depressive episode generally lasts weeks or months. There are moments in the day that you may feel less bad, but you rarely if ever really feel great.

Depression lasts longer than a few days. A true depressive episode generally lasts weeks or months. There are moments in the day that you may feel less bad, but you rarely if ever really feel great.

`Grading Your Depression Test:

As you read through the assessment for depression you will find that if you have five or more signs of depression that are impacting your ability to function and these symptoms have been most days and most of the time for more than a week, without the ability to attribute them to other factors, then you clearly are having a depressive episode.

If you have had these signs of depression on and off for years you may need diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder. The broader diagnosis of major depressive disorder is best determined by your psychotherapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist. There are many subtypes of depression and variations.

Feeling Both Anxiety and Depression

You can also have what is called a co-morbid diagnosis, which simply means co-occurring diagnosis. It is not uncommon for people to experience both anxiety and depression either alternating or mixed together. Culturally, we speak about anxiety and depression as if they are not interrelated but they often are.

At North Boulder Counseling, we often see folks who experience stretches of anxiety that are punctuated by depression. We call this anxiety-driven depression because the body stays in anxiety as long as it can. But, because anxiety is a heightened state it is unsustainable for the nervous system. When the body can no longer maintain the anxious state it will drop into depression. This acts as a nervous system resting state. Of course, the depressive state is more restful to the nervous system. But, it is not generally a peaceful rest. It is a function of desperation from the body that has been in a fight or flight state for too long.

What to Do If You Have Depression 

Depression is hard. It’s oddly exhausting given how little we tend to do when we’re depressed and it can steal our best self. We have been researching and treating depression for decades. Depression is very hard to get through on your own. The longer you have been living with it, the more likely it is to be challenging to make gains in your well-being.

Top Treatment Options to Address Signs of Depression:

The three treatments listed below are the most effective treatments for improving signs of depression based on the majority of research. Talk therapy, medication, and transcranial magnetic stimulation have around the same efficacy rates. Combining talk therapy with either medication or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation has markedly better outcomes than medication or TMS.

Psychotherapy: Cognitive Behavioral TherapyMindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and general talk therapy

Medication: It is always best to meet with a psychiatrist when seeking mental health meds, as primary care providers do not specialize in psychopharmaceuticals. These medications act directly on your brain and just like other specialty fields, specialists have far more skill and experience than primary care providers.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): TMS is generally only used when medication and talk therapy have not been effective. TMS uses magnets to pinpoint and stimulate specific nerve cells in the brain. It has very good outcomes and it is non-invasive. It is performed by specialists.

Begin Depression Treatment in Boulder, CO

Understanding the many signs of depression is much easier said than done. Many symptoms may be harder to recognize than others. But, our team of caring therapists would be honored to help you with therapy services from our Boulder, CO-based therapy practice. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact our therapy center
  2. Request an appointment & learn more about our team
  3. Start addressing the signs of depression that affect you most!

Other Services Offered with North Boulder Counseling

Depression treatment isn’t the only service we offer at North Boulder Counseling. We understand you may be experiencing more than one mental health concern, which is why we are happy to offer a variety of online and in-person therapy services for menwomenteens, and children. Other mental health services offered include anxiety counselingeating disorder treatmenttrauma therapy/PTSD treatmentplay therapy, and mindfulness-based therapy. We also offer