Monitoring Your Depression Treatment

Just as we monitor high blood pressure treatment by taking and recording the blood pressure, we should record a person’s response to depression treatment. The book, Treatment Resistant Depression: A Roadmap for Effective Care  recommends that a standardized depression rating scale be completed at each visit. The book recommends using either the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology—Self Report (QIDS-SR) or the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9).

To print a copy of the QIDS-SR, go to

To print a copy of the PHQ-9, go to:

It can also be useful to monitor quality of life monthly with the SF-36 Questionnaire. To print a copy of the SF-36, go to:

Another quality of life measure that might be used is the Health Related Quality of Life (HQROL) from the CDC. To review the HRQOL-14 go to:

Possible medication side effects should be monitored at each visit with the STAR-D PRISE form. To print a copy go to:

Because depression can be the initial presenting symptom of bipolar disorder, the 2010 APA Depression Guidelines recommends considering use of the Mood Disorders Questionnaire or the Screening Assessment of Depression Polarity (SAD-P) at each visit.

To print a copy of the Mood Disorders Questionnaire,go to:

To learn more about the SAD-P go to the article Distinguishing Bipolar Major Depression From Unipolar Major Depression With the Screening Assessment of Depression-Polarity (SAD-P) in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2006 at

SAD-P is in appendix one of the article.

Stressful events in a person’s life can cause or exacerbate depression. Therefore, your doctor should be aware of any significant stresses in your life. The Life Events Questionnaire is a good resource that might be completed during an initial visit for depression. It is available at:

The problem with using formal questionnaires like the ones above is of course the time it takes for the patient to answer all the questions and the additional time it takes the doctor to review all of the data that is generated by these forms. There is also added expense to the practice in using the forms.

So clearly we can’t use all or even most of the forms in a given visit. But by using at least some of the above forms at each visit we can more accurately determine whether or not our depression treatment is helping you.


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