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Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)

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Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)

The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) is a self-administered tool commonly used for screening, diagnosing, monitoring, and measuring the severity of depression. It is based on the nine diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

Brief overview of the PHQ-9:

  1. Questions: The PHQ-9 consists of 9 questions that inquire about symptoms and functional impairment experienced over the last two weeks. Each question corresponds to one of the DSM-IV criteria for major depressive disorder.

  2. Scoring: Each of the 9 questions can be scored from 0 (not at all) to 3 (nearly every day). Thus, the total score can range from 0 to 27.

    • 0-4: Minimal depression
    • 5-9: Mild depression
    • 10-14: Moderate depression
    • 15-19: Moderately severe depression
    • 20-27: Severe depression
  3. Usage: While the PHQ-9 is widely used in clinical practice as a screening tool to identify potential cases of depression, it can also help clinicians monitor a patient’s treatment progress or response to interventions over time.

  4. Brief and Effective: Its brevity makes it a practical tool for clinicians and researchers alike. Moreover, it is considered a reliable and valid measure of depression severity.

  5. Additional Question: The questionnaire typically also includes a tenth question, which is not included in the scoring, asking about the level of difficulty the symptoms have posed on the patient’s daily life and activities.

It’s important to note that while tools like the PHQ-9 are valuable in clinical settings, a diagnosis of depression or any other mental health disorder should always be made by qualified healthcare professionals, taking into account a comprehensive clinical assessment.

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