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Abbreviated the HAM-D, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression is a depression questionnaire that clinicians can use to rate the severity of a patient's symptoms of major depression, but it is more commonly used to rate the levels of depression in patients when involved in a scientific study. This is because the HAM-D is not intended as a diagnostic tool as is the Beck Depression Inventory, but as a way to comprehensively survey the type and and severity of the depression present in an individual or a group of individuals.
Different versions of the test have a different number of questions but all address the following topics:
- depressed mood
- feelings of guilt
- presence of suicidal thoughts/ideation
- inability to perform work/other activities
- physical and emotional agitation
- physical and emotional anxiety
- psychomotor retardation
- loss of libido
- loss of weight
- obsessive and/or compulsive symptoms
- severity of symptoms variation
- paranoid symptoms
The original test (from 1960) had a total of 17 questions, but since then some versions have up to 24 questions and the last 4 are usually used to indicate a type of depression (the first 17-20 deal with severity).1
- Reference: Hamilton M. A rating scale for depression.J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1960; 23:56–62. Retrieved on September 2, 2010 from http://www.servier.com/App_Download/Neurosciences/Echelles/HDRS.pdf
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