There is no substitute for being thorough in conducting a diagnostic evaluation. This includes taking the time to gather information from the patient and significant others, going over prior medical records, and/or observing the patient over time and updating the diagnosis if appropriate. Keep in mind the importance of probing for comorbidities, of not jumping to conclusions about their presence when a patient presents with a few striking symptoms, and of the need to interpret symptoms correctly. Clinicians may be forced to draw quick diagnostic conclusions with limited information in busy practice settings or when patients are acutely ill. In these cases, it is important to follow up after patients have been stabilized, to reevaluate diagnoses when patients seem to be nonresponsive to treatment, and to consider the possibility that comorbid problems may be interfering with treatment outcome. Even when the clinician is familiar with DSM-IV criteria, it is easy to forget the details over time. Most diagnostic tools provide a reminder of symptoms that are common to each category of diagnosis. If it is impractical to use such tools, it is prudent to review DSM-IV criteria when new patients present for treatment. This allows clinicians to recalibrate their assessments, refresh their memories, and reduce drift over time of how diagnoses are derived. By taking time to be thorough in diagnosing primary and comorbid psychiatric disorders, the clinician can facilitate treatment selection and treatment outcome.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||3|
|State||Published - Oct 1 2008|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Phychiatric Mental Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health