A series of questions that a health care professional, such as a physician, psychologist, neurologist, or psychiatrist, asks of a person to assess the severity of clinical depression. There are 21 questions that address these general areas:
• Mood and feelings such as sadness and guilt
• Thoughts of suicide
• Work and everyday activities
• Anxiety and agitation
• Physical symptoms such as tiredness and discomforts
• Psychiatric disturbances such as paranoia and obsessive/compulsive behavior
A person’s score helps the clinician to determine the most appropriate methods of treatment and to assess the effectiveness of treatment over time. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale has been in use since 1967 and remains a standard assessment tool for evaluating depression. Because a portion of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale deals with physical symptoms that Parkinson’s disease often masks, it should be just one facet of diagnosis and treatment for depression in people who have Parkinson’s disease.