By: Jadon Webb, M.D., Ph.D.
By the time most of us seek help for depression or anxiety, we usually are in a tough spot. Severe depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and other diagnoses can become serious enough to clearly be a medical illness requiring prompt treatment. And while you are being treated, it is important to find ways to measure and track your symptoms to help ensure treatment is on the right track.
When someone is suffering from moderate to severe major depression or generalized anxiety disorder, clinical rating scales such as the PHQ-9 (depression) or GAD-7 (anxiety) are very useful ways to gauge severity of the illness and monitor recovery during treatment.
But as someone gets help for anxiety or depression, and begins to recover, these clinical rating scales can start to fade in how useful they are, since they were designed to measure fairly severe symptoms. They are less useful for measuring the overall quality of your life.
Many patients in our practice note that they will recover from acute symptoms of severe depression or generalized anxiety disorder, and will truly feel better, but will; still have a sense that their life is still not as good as they want it to be. They can still feel lonely, and unfulfilled.
There are some newer rating scales that can help measure overall life satisfaction, such as the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire. It can often be meaningful to take a test like this to get another look at how satisfied with life you currently are.
If something is amiss in your life quality, this could mean needing to adjust what you do in talk therapy, or perhaps make some healthy needed life changes (exercise, socializing, job change). On occasion this can be a subtle indicator of a need to adjust medication for e.g. treatments of depression or anxiety.
Life satisfaction questionnaires can be a very useful extra tool to assess how well you are doing overall. Consider trying this out, and talk to your provider about it!
about the authorS
Jadon Webb, M.D., Ph.D.
Owner, Bloom Mental Health
Disclaimer: this blog is NOT intended as medical advice and does not imply any kind of specific guidance or treatment recommendations, and should NOT be used to guide a treatment protocol. (read full disclaimer)