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Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) – test

  • The Beck Depression Scale, the so-called BECK Test – is a self-report scale and is used to screen for symptoms of depression in oneself.
  • However, it is only an auxiliary tool, it is not a substitute for a medical examination – depression can only be diagnosed by a doctor.
  • The result of the test can be a good indication if you give honest answers when completing it – to yourself, after all.
  • The assessment should relate to how you have felt over a chosen period of time: the last week or the last month (use the same measure of time when answering).
  • You should take about 10-20 minutes to complete the test.
  • Please answer all questions.

No depression. No cause for concern. A score this high usually indicates a temporary worsening of mood, triggered by simple despondency or some current, usually unpleasant, event. Such a score is more likely to be obtained by people who take the test by accident, out of curiosity or at someone else’s insistence, rather than on the basis of their own intuition that something serious is beginning to happen to them.

Mild depression. A result that should make us think and prompt us to see a psychologist or psychotherapist. Ideally, it should be a specialist working with the method of cognitive-behavioural therapy, oriented towards a concrete and quick solution to problems.

Modern medicine treats mild depression primarily with psychotherapy. Rather, without including pharmacotherapy.

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Moderate depression. Scoring this many points suggests that you should see a psychiatrist straight away, as it is likely that you will need to be put on drug treatment (administration of antidepressants). The psychiatrist will also refer the patient for therapy after assessing the severity of the illness and selecting the appropriate drug and dose. In the treatment of moderate depression, a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy is considered the most effective method.

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Severe depression. The patient should see a psychiatrist immediately. In fact, the steps taken on the part of the patient should be the same as in the case of moderate depression. The form of therapy will be different, of course. Longer, more intensive, it is very likely that hospitalisation may also be necessary. Important: if suicidal thoughts occur or, even more so, if certain steps are taken to take one’s own life, these are absolute indications for hospital treatment.

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(Reference – Beck AT, Ward CH, Mendelson M, Mock J, Erbaugh J (1961), An inventory for measuring depression, Archives of General Psychiatry, 4: 53-63)

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