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Encyclopedia > Hamilton Depression Rating Scale

The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale is a 21-question multiple choice questionnaire which doctors may use to rate the severity of a patient's depression. It was originally published in 1960 by Max Hamilton, and is presently one of the most commonly used scales for rating depression in medical research. The questionnaire rates the severity of symptoms observed in depression such as low mood, insomnia, agitation, anxiety and weight-loss. It has been suggested that Primary insomnia be merged into this article or section. ... Anxiety refers to a complex combination of negative emotions that includes fear, apprehension and worry, and is often accompanied by physical sensations such as palpitations, nausea, chest pain and/or shortness of breath. ...

The doctor must choose the possible responses to each question by interviewing the patient and observing their symptoms. Each question has between 3-5 possible responses which increase in severity. The first 17 questions contribute to the total score and questions 18-21 are recorded to give further information about the depression such as if paranoid symptoms are present.

External links

  • Hamilton Depression Rating Scale - Original scientific paper published in 1960
  • Search Google for the HDRS


Hamilton, M (1960) A rating scale for depression. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. 23: 56-62 PMID 14399272



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