This PHQ 9 - Patient Health Questionnaire calculator assesses depression severity and whether the patient suffers from similar disorders. Learn more about the questions, the score interpretation and first aid in depressive conditions below the tool.

Please answer the following questions by considering your behavior in the past 2 weeks:

1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things

2. Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless

3. Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much

4. Feeling tired or having little energy

5. Poor appetite or overeating

6. Feeling bad about yourself - or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down

7. Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television

8. Moving or speaking slower or opposite - restless more than usual

9. Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way

How does this PHQ 9 - Patient Health Questionnaire calculator work?

This is a self reported diagnosis tool that can be used to evaluate the presence and if positive, the severity of mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. It is used as a screening form for other conditions as well.

This PHQ-9 Patient health questionnaire PHQ9 calculator uses the 9 DSM-IV criteria from the original PRIME-MD model and asks the patient to review the past two weeks and answer the questions according to the feelings they have experienced:

Loosing interest in activities usually performed with pleasure.

Experiencing feelings of hopelessness, depression.

Sleep problems from falling asleep to too much sleep.

Lack of energy and feeling exhausted.

Eating disorders from lack or too much appetite.

Feelings of disappointment and lack of confidence.

Lack of concentration in simple actions.

Restlessness or extreme fatigue.

Self hard or suicidal thoughts.

Score interpretation

The model comprises of nine questions and the legend of the answers is:

Not at all (0 points)

Several days (1 point)

More than half the days (2 points)

Nearly every day (3 points)

The overall scores obtainable in PHQ-9 range between 0 (no depression symptoms present) to 27 (severe depression symptoms). The cut off points are at 5, 10 and 20, with scores above 10 with a sensitivity of 88% and 88% specificity. The following table explains the first hand indications in every score category.

Score Severity Recommendations
0 - 4 None No specific recommendations
5 - 9 Mild Monitoring symptoms
10 - 19 Moderate Referring for treatment
20 - 27 Severe Starting treatment and monitoring

First care resources for mental health disorders

First hand help in depression or other mental disorders is offered usually in primary care settings and then the patient is referred to a specialist, either a psychologist or psychiatrist. Therefore forms like the PHQ 9 are considered to have good diagnosis sensitivity and allow both the patient and the clinician assess the current condition.

The only criticism addressed to these models is that they don’t approach suicide ideation in a more specific manner.

One of the first things everyone should consider is to go to their GP, family doctor or personal practitioner if they have experienced signs of depression, from feeling low to loosing interest in activities they enjoyed doing and they think they might be depressed.

The most used first management methods will involve counselling, psychotherapy, group therapy, occupational therapy or medical treatment.

The other PHQ tools available

PHQ 9 – assesses depression related conditions.

PHQ 2 – a shorter version of the 9 question form, focusing on depression and loss of interest.

GAD 7 – focused on anxiety symptoms.

PHQ 15 – evaluates somatisation and related symptoms.

PHQ – SADS – a combination form between the above models that screens for an overall presence of the disorders mentioned.


1) Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JB. (2001) The PHQ-9: validity of a brief depression severity measure. J Gen Intern Med; 16(9):606-13.

2) Spitzer RL, Kroenke K, Williams JB. (1999) Validation and utility of a self-report version of PRIME-MD: the PHQ primary care study. Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders. Patient Health Questionnaire. JAMA; 282(18):1737-44.

3) Cameron IM, Crawford JR, Lawton K, Reid IC. (2008) Psychometric comparison of PHQ-9 and HADS for measuring depression severity in primary care. Br J Gen Pract; 58(546):32-6

18 Aug, 2015 | 0 comments

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