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Screening for Depression

The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are given to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.

Screening Guidelines

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that primary care doctors screen their adult patients for depression if they have a system in place to support case management and/or mental health treatment. Elderly should be screened if depression is suspected based on risk factors or presentation. There are a number of different questionnaires to screen for depression. One example of screening is using 2 simple questions:

  • Over the past 2 weeks, have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless?
  • Over the past 2 weeks, have you felt little interest or pleasure in doing things?

The US Preventive Services Task Force also found some indication that office screening tools may be accurate in identifying depressed adolescents aged 12-18 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians ask questions about depression in routine history-taking throughout adolescence.

Revision Information

  • Depression in elderly patients. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T906139/Depression-in-elderly-patients. Updated May 31, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116638/Major-depressive-disorder-MDD. Updated September 20, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2016.

  • Screening for depression in adults. US Preventative Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/depression-in-adults-screening. Accessed August 24, 2016.

  • Screening for depression in children and adolescents. US Preventative Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/depression-in-children-and-adolescents-screening. Accessed August 24, 2016.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Redmond Regional Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.