What is the Beck scale and how does it help to find out if a person has depression

What is the Beck Depression Scale?

The Beck Depression Scale is a test that allows you to accurately determine depression, as well as determine how severe it is.

The test is a 21-item questionnaire. Each person is asked to choose one of four possible answers that describe his condition. All options have their own weight, indicated in points. They are summarized, and depending on the result, the doctor – a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist – gets the opportunity to make a preliminary diagnosis to the patient.

The author of the scale, American professor of psychiatry Aaron Tyomkin-Beck, compiled questions based on the most significant symptoms of depression. It happened in 1961. Since then, the scale has been revised twice. To date, the most accurate version is considered to be the latest version, adjusted in 1996 in accordance with the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is a universally recognized international guide developed by experts from the American Psychiatric Association.

How to pass the Beck test

Read the 21 groups of statements carefully. In each, mark the item that most fully reflects your condition in the last two weeks, including today. If in any of the groups it is difficult for you to decide between two or three options, choose the one for which there are more points.

As a rule, passing the test takes no more than 10 minutes .

1. Sadness

  • 0 – I don’t feel upset, sad.
  • 1 – I feel sad from time to time.
  • 2 – I constantly feel upset.
  • 3 – I am so upset and unhappy that it seems unbearable.

2. Attitude towards the future

  • 0 – The future doesn’t seem scary to me.
  • 1 – I began to worry about the future more often than before.
  • 2 – I do not expect anything good.
  • 3 – My future seems to be hopeless. Everything just gets worse.

3. Past failures

  • 0 – I can hardly be called a loser.
  • 1 – Failures and failures happen to me more often than to other people.
  • 2 — There have been many failures and disappointments in my life.
  • 3 – I’m a complete loser.

4. Enjoy life

  • 0 – I am quite satisfied with life.
  • 1 – I used to get more pleasure from what was happening.
  • 2 – I stopped enjoying even those things that made me happy before.
  • 3 – My life is terrible, and there is no light.

5. Guilt

  • 0 – I do not feel any particular guilt towards anyone and for nothing.
  • 1 – Quite often I feel guilty about things I could have done but didn’t.
  • 2 – I feel guilty very often.
  • 3 – I constantly feel that I am to blame for everyone.

6. Waiting for punishment

  • 0 – I didn’t do anything for which I should be punished.
  • 1 – I have something to be punished for.
  • 2 – I constantly live in anticipation of punishment.
  • 3 – I’ve already been punished for everything I’ve done.

7. Attitude towards yourself

  • 0 – I treat myself as usual.
  • 1 – I seem to have lost confidence in myself.
  • 2 – I am disappointed in myself.
  • 3 – I just hate myself.

8. Self-criticism

  • 0 – I know that in general I am not worse than others.
  • 1 – I see more flaws in myself than before.
  • 2 – I know all my shortcomings and mercilessly criticize myself for them.
  • 3 – I am one continuous flaw. Only I am to blame for all the bad things that happen around.

9. Suicidal thoughts

  • 0 – I never thought of committing suicide , this is not my way of solving problems.
  • 1 – Sometimes I have thoughts of suicide, but they are random, I do not plan to carry it out.
  • 2 – I regularly think that suicide would be a good way out.
  • 3 – I’ll be relieved to be done with it all. I just wait until the opportunity presents itself.

10. Desire to cry

  • 0 – If I sometimes cry, then obviously no more than before.
  • 1 – Now I cry more often than before.
  • 2 – I cry almost constantly.
  • 3 – I want to cry, but I can’t.

11. Anxiety, nervousness

  • 0 – I am calm, everything is as always.
  • 1 – I feel more restless than usual.
  • 2 – I constantly feel nervous, I twitch over trifles.
  • 3 – I’m so energized that I have to move all the time or do something, otherwise I’ll just go crazy.

12. Loss of interest

  • 0 – I am still interested in other people, I have hobbies.
  • 1 – I began to be less interested in what is happening around.
  • 2 – I’m bored with other people, they are annoying.
  • 3 – I lost interest in everything.

13. Ability to make decisions

  • 0 – I make decisions the same as before.
  • 1 – It has become more difficult for me to decide something, I doubt more often and would like someone to take responsibility.
  • 2 – Every decision is given to me with difficulty.
  • 3 — I don’t want and I can’t decide anything.

14. Own need

  • 0 – I still need others and myself.
  • 1 – Something broke in me and more and more often it seems that no one needs me.
  • 2 – I feel worthless compared to others.
  • 3 – I am absolutely useless.

15. Estimation of internal energy

  • 0 – I am energetic as always.
  • 1 – Lately I have less energy than I used to.
  • 2 – I do not have enough strength to do what I have to.
  • 3 – I have no strength for anything.

16. Sleep mode

  • 0 – I sleep as usual.
  • 1 – I started sleeping more or less than before.
  • 2 – I sleep a lot more (less) than usual.
  • 3 – I am ready to sleep most of the day. Or vice versa: I often wake up in the middle of the night and then can’t fall asleep for a long time.

17. Irritability

  • 0 – I am no more irritable than usual.
  • 1 – I began to get irritated more easily than before.
  • 2 – I regularly catch myself on the fact that everything infuriates .
  • 3 – I constantly feel irritated, even when there seems to be no reason.

18. Appetite

  • 0 – I eat as much as I always do.
  • 1 – My appetite has changed a bit: I find myself eating more or less than before.
  • 2 – My appetite is much lower (increased) than it was before.
  • 3 – I have no appetite at all. Or vice versa: I constantly want to eat.

19. Focus

  • 0 – It is easy for me to concentrate on a particular task.
  • 1 – Recently there have been some problems with concentration.
  • 2 – It’s hard for me to focus on something for more than a few minutes.
  • 3 – I found that I couldn’t concentrate at all.

20. Fatigue

  • 0 – I get tired just like always, nothing has changed.
  • 1 – I started to get tired faster than usual.
  • 2 – I can still manage, but more and more often I find myself giving up some of my usual activities (sports, meeting friends, traveling) because I simply don’t have the strength for them.
  • 3 – I even seem to wake up already tired.

21. Interest in sex

  • 0 – My libido has not changed recently, everything is as usual.
  • 1 – Sex interests me a little less than before.
  • 2 – I think about sex extremely rarely, he moved to the tenth plan.
  • 3 – I completely lost interest in intimacy.

What do the results of the Beck Depression Scale mean?

Depending on how many points you scored, you can assume the following.

  • 0-13 – no depressive symptoms. Your mental health is fine.
  • 14-19 – mild depression (sub-depression) is likely.
  • 20-28 – moderate depression.
  • 29-63 – severe depression. The more difficult the condition, the higher the score.

The key word here is “guess”. The Beck Depression Scale is not a definitive diagnostic tool . It is just one of the key tests that a doctor performs to detect a mental disorder. However, in order to make an accurate diagnosis, the doctor will definitely take into account other factors: the state of health, the presence of certain diseases, well-being, the age and lifestyle of the patient.

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