Test Yourself

From Identifying and Coping with Depression, National Policy and Resource Center on Women and Aging

Below is a self-evaluation questionnaire often used by doctors to diagnose depression in their older patients. It is a simple and reliable way to evaluate feelings on your own. If you complete the questionnaire and find that you have a score higher than 5, the next step should be to make an appointment with you doctor.

Bring the questionnaire with you and show it to him or her. This is a good way to “break the ice” and bring feelings into the discussion. Most primary care doctors should be able to refer you to a mental health professional, if necessary, or treat the problem him/ herself.

The most common treatments for depression are professional counseling, anti-depression medication, or a combination of the two. Psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, and some members of the clergy offer counseling or psychotherapy. Group therapy can also be beneficial. Antidepressant medication, which can only be prescribed by a medical doctor, can help elevate mood and sustain it while a patient is confronting underlying problems with the help of a counselor.

Remember, depression is a highly treatable disorder.