Beck Depression Scale

The Beck Depression Scale (BDI) is a scientific depression test to measure the presence and level of depression symptoms used by psychiatrists worldwide. It is meant to use the inventory to help diagnose individuals suffering of different forms of depression. Different settings make an important part of the test. The scale is meant to identify the presence and severity of symptoms and for this reason the Beck Depression Inventory can help professionals to learn more of the case.

The Beck Depression Scale can be used for both adults and adolescents of at least fifth or sixth grade reading level skills and up. It means that also teenagers are able to take the inventory. Since its inception in the 1960s the inventory got further developments and updates.

The BDI, as the scale is also called, consists of 21 items to assess the intensity of depression in clinical and normal patients on a self report scale. The BDI assesses physical and physiological symptoms of depression such as mood, pessimism, sense of failure, self-dissatisfaction, guilt, punishment, self-dislike, self-accusation, suicidal ideas, crying, irritability, social withdrawal, body image, work difficulties, insomnia, fatigue, appetite, weight loss, bodily preoccupation, and loss of libido. Only about ten minutes is enough for the most people to complete the BDI and afterwords a health professional gets an indication about presence of depression with a patient and severity of the disease.

Each of the inventory items corresponds to a specific category of depressive symptom and/or attitude and scores on the BDI indicate personal state of mind to confirm the presence of depression. The BDI has been shown to be valid and reliable, but anyway the tests scores can be manipulated by a testing person if he decides not to give correct answers.

The scale does not provide overall reliability: if one goes through the inventory at a different time it often demonstrates different results all depending on changes in a patients mental state since the previous depression testing. Even the testing environment can be a factor of influence for BDI results. Also social factors and expectations can be influential on the answers of a patient.

The Beck Inventory is not meant to serve as an instrument of diagnosis, it is more intended to assess the presence and severity of depression in psychiatrically diagnosed patients. After testing patients take a talk to their doctors about the test results and further treatment if necessary. That is why it is very important not to use BDI as a diagnostic tool, as depressive symptoms may be part of other primary psychiatric disorders.

Learn more about the Beck Depression Scale and take a talk to your psychologist about BDI procedure and outcomes. The early BDI testing can prevent you from deepening into depression and helps you to find the shortest way back to happy life.