Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9)

What is the PHQ-9?

The Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) is a brief self-report measure used to assess depressive symptoms as outlined in DSM-IV-TR. The PHQ-9 has been demonstrated to be sensitive to increases in depressive symptoms and has also been shown to reliably assess symptoms of depression compared to symptoms of other mental health disorders.

How is the PHQ-9 used?

While the PHQ-9 is helpful for making diagnoses of depressive disorders, it is also a reliable and valid measure of depression severity. The PHQ-9 is useful for quickly assessing the presence and severity of depressive symptoms during clinical intakes and is also sensitive enough to change that it can be used to track patient progress throughout treatment.

Can the PHQ-9 be trusted?

In short, yes. The PHQ-9 has excellent psychometric properties for both the detection of depressive symptoms and differentiating between symptom severity. PHQ-9 scores of 5, 10, 15, and 20 represented mild, moderate, moderately severe, and severe depression, respectively. 

Please note that the PHQ-9 is not the intellectual property of Neurocove Behavioral Health, LLC. References for the PHQ-9 are included in at the bottom of this page.   

depression phq-9 online
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

It is very important to note that this questionnaire does not replace the need for formal diagnostic assessment and that this screening measure is primarily used to inform clinical decision making. To be clear, you cannot substantiate a diagnosis of Depression or other depressive disorder with the PHQ-9 alone. However, it is helpful to determine whether or not a diagnosis of depression needs to be considered and to track treatment progress for those already diagnosed with depressive disorders.

Take the PHQ-9 Online

For the following questions, please consider the presence of each symptom over the past two weeks.

Little interest or pleasure in doing things?
Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much?
Feeling tired or having little energy?
Poor appetite or overeating?
Feeling bad about yourself — or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down?
Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television?
Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or so fidgety or restless that you have been moving a lot more than usual?
Thoughts that you would be better off dead, or thoughts of hurting yourself in some way?
If you are experiencing any thoughts of hurting yourself or anyone else, you are encouraged to reach out to your local Emergency Room, Hospital, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  Please note that Neurocove Behavioral Health, LLC is not an appropriate resource for crisis intervention.
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