How to Find Out if My Symptoms are those of Depression?

Hello everyone, this is Dr. Prasoon, Today, I want to delve deeper into a critical tool often used in the assessment of depression—the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). In my latest YouTube video, we exploHamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS): Understanding and Utilizing a Key Tool for Assessing Depression
red various aspects of managing depression, including beneficial diets and dietary supplements. Here, we will discuss the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, its significance, and how it’s used in evaluating depression.

What is the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS)?

The HDRS, also known as the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), is a multiple-item questionnaire used to provide an indication of depression, and as a guide to evaluate recovery. Developed by psychiatrist Max Hamilton in 1960, it’s widely utilized in both clinical and research settings.

Purpose and Utilization

The primary function of the HDRS is to measure the severity of depression symptoms in individuals already diagnosed with depressive illness. It is particularly useful for assessing the effectiveness of treatments for depression.

Structure of HDRS

The HDRS consists of 17 questions, each rating a different symptom commonly associated with depression. The symptoms include mood, guilt, suicide, insomnia, work and activities, retardation (slowness of thought and speech), agitation, anxiety, weight loss, and somatic symptoms (such as physical manifestations).

Breakdown of the 17 Questions

The HDRS evaluates the following areas:

  1. Depressed Mood (sadness, hopelessness)
  2. Feelings of Guilt (self-criticism, worthlessness)
  3. Suicide (thoughts, wishes, or attempts)
  4. Insomnia (Early, Middle, and Late)
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty maintaining sleep
  • Early awakening
  1. Work and Activities (interest in work, hobbies)
  2. Psychomotor Retardation (slowness in physical and emotional reactions)
  3. Agitation (restlessness, inability to sit still)
  4. Anxiety (Psychic and Somatic)
  • Psychological symptoms (e.g., worry)
  • Physical symptoms (e.g., gastrointestinal)
  1. Somatic Symptoms (General and Gastrointestinal)
  • General physical symptoms
  • Gastrointestinal-specific symptoms
  1. Genital Symptoms (loss of libido, menstrual disturbances)
  2. Hypochondriasis (preoccupation with health)
  3. Weight Loss (appetite changes)
  4. Insight (recognition of illness)

Each item on the HDRS is assigned a score ranging from 0 (not present) to 4 (severe), depending on the intensity and frequency of the symptom.

Scoring and Interpretation

Once the clinician or evaluator completes the questionnaire, the scores are compiled to determine the severity of depression:

  • 7 or below: Normal
  • 8-13: Mild Depression
  • 14-18: Moderate Depression
  • 19-22: Severe Depression
  • 23 and above: Very Severe Depression

Using HDRS in Clinical Practice

HDRS is an excellent tool for both initial assessment and subsequent follow-ups to gauge the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. It’s important to remember that, while HDRS can provide valuable insights, it should not replace a comprehensive clinical evaluation.


Depression is a multifaceted disorder, and managing it effectively requires a thorough understanding and appropriate tools. The HDRS remains a valuable component of this approach. If you’re dealing with depression or know someone who might be, please seek professional help. Consulting a psychiatrist can provide tailored treatment options that suit individual needs.

For more personalized guidance, feel free to reach out to a certified psychiatrist through the Dofody website.

You can take the test here.

Stay healthy and take care!

Dr. Prasoon, MBBS

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: