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Psychology Diagnostic Activities

by: Pamela Crockett

Psychology Diagnostic Activities PSYCH 270

Marketplace > University of North Dakota > PSYCH 270 > Psychology Diagnostic Activities
Pamela Crockett
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These are two diagnostic activities that can be referenced to freshen up your knowledge about mental disorders.
Intro to Abnormal Psych
Rachel Kramer
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This 8 page Bundle was uploaded by Pamela Crockett on Tuesday May 10, 2016. The Bundle belongs to PSYCH 270 at University of North Dakota taught by Rachel Kramer in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 58 views.


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Date Created: 05/10/16
Pamela Crockett February 25, 2016 Diagnostic Activity 1 According to the information provided in the Vignette, Stacey suffers from Social  Anxiety Disorder. The first indicators that Stacey has this disorder was when she expressed a  level of embarrassment following her roommate moving in with somebody else, as well as  experiencing “attacks” accompanied by feelings of choking, dizziness, sweating, and difficulty  breathing while preparing for a presentation in one of her classes. She also feels a level of  anxiety over attending class in fear of experiencing a panic attack in front of her classmates. The  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders supports my reasoning in the criteria for  Social Anxiety Disorder. The Diagnostic Criteria section states that this disorder displays a  “marked fear or anxiety about one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to  possible scrutiny by others. Examples include social interactions (e.g., having a conversation,  meeting unfamiliar people), being observed (e.g., eating or drinking), and performing in front of  others (e.g., giving a speech).” (Anxiety Disorders, 1) Other social situations also seem to affect Stacey. As she used to enjoy going to parties  with her friends, Stacey now fears the scrutiny of others, preventing her from functioning the  way she normally would. She also experiences distress when thinking about the possibility of  others noticing her anxiety. All of these symptoms are only provoked when Stacey is faced with  a situation involving the addressment of other people, followed by severe feelings of anxiety  over what others will think of her. The DSM­V backs up the diagnosis of Social Anxiety  Disorder by presenting other factors of the diagnostic criteria as such: “The individual fears that  he or she will act in a way or show anxiety symptoms that will be negatively evaluated (i.e., will  be humiliating or embarrassing; will lead to rejection or offend others). The social situations are  avoided or endured with intense fear or anxiety.” (Anxiety Disorders, 1) Of course, Stacey’s symptoms could also be related to other anxiety disorders, such as  Panic Disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. The episodes that Stacey experiences on a very  regular basis could accompany Panic Disorder, especially where she experiences five of the  possible symptoms (difficulty breathing, sweating, feeling of losing control, a sense of choking,  and dizziness) indicated by the DSM­V, which only requires four symptoms from the thirteen  criteria to be considered a panic attack. (Anxiety Disorders, 1)The manual also states that the  panic attacks must be accompanied with “persistent concern or worry about additional panic  attacks or their consequences (e.g., losing control, having a heart attack, ‘going crazy’)”, which  would explain why Stacey fears having a panic attack during class. She also expresses a  disturbance with her sleep patterns accompanied by feelings of anxiety most days, which is  borderline consistent with the criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Generalized Anxiety  Disorder is characterized by the prevalence of three out of six symptoms, whereas Stacey is  experiencing two of them. (Anxiety Disorders, 1) Stacey’s medical history is clean, nor is there any indication of substance abuse, ruling  out the possibility of her symptoms being caused by other medical factors. It is possible that  Stacey’s childhood caused her to be more susceptible to anxiety disorders; she feared being  separated from her mother as a child, which is indicative of Separation Anxiety Disorder. This  disorder is a differential diagnosis for Social Anxiety Disorder. (Anxiety Disorders, 1) Stacey  also reported other minor experiences that were likely contributing factors to her current level of  anxiety. Being teased as a kid, Stacey probably was conditioned to expect this bullying behavior  from everybody, causing her to avoid social situations in which this could occur again. I would  recommend a combination of treatments for Stacey: Cognitive behavioral therapy and  medication (anti­anxiety medication and/or antidepressants). (National Institute of Mental  Health, 1) The cognitive behavioral therapy would expose Stacey to various essential social  situations in small doses, helping to put her at ease when she must face publicity. Anti­anxiety  medication, such as beta blockers, would help calm Stacey down in the event of an emergency  (experiencing a sudden and severe panic attack), and antidepressants could work with cognitive  behavioral therapy to rewire Stacey’s brain over time, causing her to feel more comfortable in  social situations. (National Institute of Mental Health, 1) References Anxiety Disorders. (n.d.). February 20, 2016, National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2016, from­phobia­social­anxiety­ disorder/index.shtml#part_145383 Pamela Crockett Rachel Kramer PSYC 270 March 29, 2016 Diagnostic Activity 2 According to the vignette, Marty is suffering from Other Specified Trauma­and Stressor­  Related Disorder. This is because Marty has an Adjustment­like disorder with a delayed onset of  symptoms that also occur for a period of more than six months from the initial stressor.  Symptoms typically prevail within three months of an identifiable stressor with Adjustment  Disorder and last no more than a few months according to the DSM­V (American Psychiatric  Association, 2013); however, Marty failed to display any sign of abnormal emotions or  behavioral conduct until four months after losing his job and was still lacking motivation to  perform normal daily functions, such as showers, six months after losing his job. This was most  likely because he had still been unable to find a replacement job before the holiday season,  causing further distress as his emotional and behavior conduct became more debilitating. The  DSM­V supports this by saying, “This category applies to presentations in which symptoms  characteristic of a trauma­ and stressor­related disorder that cause clinically significant distress  or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning predominate but do not meet the full criteria for any of the disorders in the trauma­ and stressor­related  disorders diagnostic class…. Examples of presentations that can be specified using the “other  specified” designation include the following: 1. Adjustment­like disorders with delayed onset of symptoms that occur more than 3  months after the stressor. 2. Adjustment­like disorders with prolonged duration of more than 6 months without  prolonged duration of stressor.” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)  Not only were his sleeping and eating patterns disrupted, Marty suffered from a lack of  motivation, inappropriate irritability, and an inability to focus. Marty’s emotional condition  continued to decline with a variety of stressors acting as a domino effect; for example, Marty’s  job loss led to a gambling problem, which led to financial distress, which led to the loss of his  wife and daughter, which led to a decline in his ability to function.  Marty could also be suffering from Major Depressive Disorder or a normative stress  reaction. After his wife and child left him, Marty’s daily functioning and motivation declined to  the point of emotional outbursts of tears and a feeling of hopelessness, which is consistent with  symptoms of depression. However, Marty suffered from an obvious initial stressor that led to an  inability to function normally, making it more likely that he suffers from Other Specified  Trauma­and Stressor­Related Disorder. He could also be living with a normative stress reaction.  The loss of a job and family member are common life stressors that cause an expected amount of emotional disturbance, but in Marty’s case, his symptoms rapidly declined and turned into  unexpected behavioral conduct that led to a complete lack of normal functioning. According to  the criteria from the DSM­V, Marty shows a delayed onset and prolonged occurrence of  symptoms consistent with Adjustment Disorder, making his case fit most appropriately into the  category of Other Specified Trauma­ and Stressor­ Related Disorder. (American Psychiatric  Association, 2013) Marty also has no significant medical background or substance use that would suggest a  physical cause for his behaviors. For Marty’s treatment, I would recommend a combination of  cognitive behavioral therapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. With Marty have a  major problem sleeping through the night, as well as not being able to concentrate on anything  for longer than 15 minutes, SSRIs could help him with these dangerous and debilitating physical  symptoms. (Trauma and Stressor Disorders, 1) Adding cognitive behavioral therapy to a  supervised antidepressant regimen could help to relieve Marty of his sleep deprivation and come  up with several coping mechanisms so he can take control over any stressor that may occur in the future. References American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental  disorders (5th ed.).Sep 24, 2015 Trauma and Stressor Disorders. (n.d.). March 22, 2016,


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