Depression is a pathological problem in the mind of the patient. It is defined as anxiety that lasts for longer than 6 months duration. Depression drains all the energy of the patient and almost paralyzes his mind to do daily activities.
A patient with depression is sometimes unable to think properly and normally. He is unable to perform his daily activities at times and suffers from severe mental stress. His relationship with his peers is affected and so does with his family. Mood swings are one of the most distressing problems he suffers during the depression.
Diagnosis of depression
Diagnosis of depression is as difficult as it is important. It is very important that people around the patient of depression identify the problem and make him consult a good doctor well in time. This fact is beyond any doubt the patients of depression do need help.
Hamilton rating scale for depression
Help can only be provided if the problem is diagnosed in time. One of the ways by which depression is graded or diagnosed is the Hamilton rating scale. The other name used for this rating scale is the Hamilton rating scale for depression.
This rating scale uses a number of things asked in a questionnaire form. Rating for each answer is done and is calculated for overall scoring. This also helps in knowing the prognosis or probability of the patient coming out of depression after treatment and help.
The Hamilton rating scale was devised by Max Hamilton in a series from the 1960s to 1980. It contains a number of different questions which focus on the symptoms of depression. It also gives indications about the mental status of the patient in terms of anxiety, weight changes, and other somatic symptoms.
The HRDS uses the scoring of each question asked from three to five. The test takes not more than twenty minutes and gives the assessment of the patient’s status regarding depression. 18-20 questions are asked and overall scoring is used as a reference.
- The chart starts with information about the patient with as many details as possible.
- Then starts a series of questions. We can have a look at some of the questions for a better understanding of the Hamilton chart.
- The first question in this sample scale chart addresses the mood of the patient. He has to mention what he feels for most of the day. The patient has to mark one of the five boxes which can tell what he feels for the most of his day.
- Feelings of guilt are also asked with five options. If the patient marks absent, it means he doesn’t feel it and scores zero on the scale. The maximum score is for the option which says the patient experiences accusatory voices in his head.
- Similarly, 20 questions are asked in this questionnaire and a total score is mentioned at the end of the form. A doctor or psychologist then signs the score sheet and this is then evaluated to diagnose whether a person is suffering from depression or not.