Monday, June 5, 2017

Step 2 CK: Psychiatry tip for possible depression questions

Whenever I come across a possible major depression question, I write SIGECAPS (full form at the end of the post) down and strike out the alphabets as and when I come across the symptoms.
For example, weight loss - strike out A for appetite change, fatigue because staying up at night - strike out S for sleep change, E for loss of energy.
Then re-read the stem and see for symptoms I missed out due to twisted wording (she stopped singing a month ago - strike out I for loss of interest)
It REALLY helps in figuring out 5/9 SIGECAPS for diagnosis of MDD because if you are not actively looking for the symptoms in the question stem, you'll miss them out. Also, if you are not counting, you might wrongly over diagnose MDD.
Writing it down also saves time because you don't have to keep re-reading the stem over and over.
It also helps getting the count right because if you have already striked out an alphabet, you can't strike it out again. So you won't get the count wrong for possible rephrasing of the same symptom in the question stem. (patient says she has lost appetite, there is weight loss - it is one alphabet in SIGECAPS, so you can't strike A out again - you will get the symptom count right!)
That's all!
I've read so many comments by students in forums where people get MDD wrong just because they didn't see the obvious 5/9 SIGECAPS. Don't miss it out guys, it's very easy to diagnose with this trick! :)
Hope that helps!
For those who don't know what SIGECAPS stands for :
S: Sleep changes: Increase during day or decreased sleep at night
I: Interest (loss): of interest in activities that used to interest them
G: Guilt (worthless): Devalue themselves, feel guilty
E: Energy (lack): common presenting symptom (fatigue) 
C: Cognition / Concentration: Reduced cognition &/or difficulty concentrating
A: Appetite (weight loss): Usually declined, occasionally increased
P: Psychomotor: Agitation (anxiety) or retardations (lethargic)
S: Suicide / preoccupation with death
Originally when a physician would write a prescription, the abbreviation “SIG” would be written which was to mean directions. The "E" CAPS was to remind the prescriber to write “Energy” capsules for depression (antidepressants).
Hence:  SIG:  E. CAPS


  1. That's a very handy trick. Thank you!


This is express yourself space. Where you type create something beautiful! <3
Wondering what do I write? Well...
Tell us something you know better. You are a brilliant mind. Yes, you are! ^__^
Ask about something you don't understand @_@?
Compliment... Say something nice! =D
Be a good critic and correct us if something went wrong :|
Go ahead. Comment all you like here! (:

PS: We have moderated comments to reduce spam. ALL comments that are not spam will be published on the website.