What Is the Purpose of the Patient Health Questionnaire?


Quick Answer

The purpose of the patient health questionnaire is screening patients suspected of having depression and panic disorders. This assessment occurs during initial and follow-up treatment, says Impact.

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Full Answer

Consisting of 16 questions, the PHQ is a self-administered assessment of mood, anxiety, somatoform modules, alcohol and food for valid diagnosis. Obtaining provisional diagnosis of five disorders was the impetus for the development of the questionnaire. However, diagnosing the somatic, depressive and anxiety symptoms are the most common diagnoses, according to Psychiatric Times.

There are different versions of the PHQ, including the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9. The PHQ-9 contains nine questions in a less specific version than PHQ-8. Eight questions on the PHQ-9 evaluate symptoms, while one question considers functional impairment, all on a scale of 0 to 3, says Psychiatric Times.

Using the first two questions on the PHQ-9 questionnaire creates a PHQ-2 questionnaire, allowing the physician to conduct an initial depression screening. If the patient answers “yes” to either of these questions, the physician continues to the other seven. This is an efficient way of screening larger groups in an efficient manner, concludes Impact.

Scoring the answers provided on the questionnaire, based on patient responses, creates an estimate for the depression level of the patient. The results are not a substitute for clinical evaluation, states Impact.

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