Dr Mark Zimmerman on How Depression Severity Is Measured

Most commonly, depression severity is measured by instruments that focus on the symptoms of depression, said Mark Zimmerman, MD, director of outpatient psychiatry and the Partial Hospital Program at Rhode Island Hospital, and a professor of psychiatry at Brown Medical School.

Mark Zimmerman, MD, director of outpatient psychiatry and the Partial Hospital Program at Rhode Island Hospital, and a professor of psychiatry at Brown Medical School.

Transcript

How are different levels of depression severity measured?

Most commonly, depression severity is measured by instruments that focus on the symptoms of depression, and then there are graded levels of severity, That’s the predominance in the research literature. It differs, though, from how severity of depression is defined in DSM-5, the diagnostic and statistical manual. In the DSM-5, as well as the international classifications of diseases, the ICD, there are multiple constructs that are considered in assessing the severity of depression. One is the number of symptoms, which is similar to scales. But, another consideration is the distress that symptoms cause.

A third consideration is the impairment caused by the symptoms of depression. So, there is this disconnect between how DSM-5 and ICD-10 consider classifying depression severity and how researchers, almost universally, measure the severity of depression.