Clinical depression tests focus on uncovering the signs and symptoms of depression in a patient, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Additionally, testing for depression includes reviewing the family's history of mental illness and ruling out other possible illnesses that show symptoms similar to depression.
Depression comes in several forms, such as major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, atypical depression, psychotic depression and seasonal affective disorder. A clinical depression test must take these factors into consideration because these disorders are all characterized by depressive symptoms but are also unique.
The most common symptoms of depression include negative feelings such as sadness, irritability, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, anhedonia and suicidality. Other signs include insomnia, hypersomnia, overeating and undereating, states the National Institute of Mental Health. While an at-home depression test potentially encourages patients to seek help, medical experts need to design and administer the actual test in a clinical setting, according to AllPsych.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders also specifies time frames within its diagnostic criteria for depression, according to AllPsych. For example, symptoms of depression must have been present nearly every day for at least two weeks in order for a major depressive disorder to be diagnosed.