Imaging Instruments And Procedures
The formulation of an accurate diagnosis is often facilitated by the use of lighted optical scopes and diagnostic imaging technologies. Procedures such as endoscopy, laparoscopy, and colposcopy make use of generally flexible optical instruments that can be inserted through openings, either natural or surgical in origin, in the body. Many scope instruments are fitted with small video cameras that enable the physician or surgeon to view the tissues being examined on a large monitor. A number of scopes also are designed to enable tissue biopsy, in which a small sample of tissue is collected for histological study, to be performed in conjunction with visual analysis.
One of the most commonly employed diagnostic technologies is X-ray imaging. X-rays are highly effective for obtaining images of bone or other specific tissues. However, their inability to distinguish between different tissues of similar densities limits their applications. Several highly specialized imaging techniques, such as computerized axial tomography , magnetic resonance imaging , and positron emission tomography , have largely supplanted traditional X-ray methods. However, when X-rays are used together with special contrast agents, they are capable of imaging select tissues, such as arteries and veins in angiography and the urinary tract in urography.
Scientific Advances In Neuroimaging
Scientists are making huge leaps in understanding the brain, how it works, and which regions might be responsible for certain personality traits and even mental illness symptoms. The use of neuroimaging, or brain mapping, may be able to identify parts of the brain that could be underdeveloped or damaged, which may indicate mental illness. For instance, certain regions of the brain and some of the connections involved in emotional regulation may be less active in someone suffering from impulse control issues or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , while other areas involved in depressive symptoms may be overactive. These differences may be apparent with magnetic imaging resonance scans of the brain.
Bipolar disorder, a mental health condition affecting relationships and mood swings, was successfully identified by brain scans over 70 percent of the time in repeated studies, as published by Pysch Congress. Brain scans are largely used for research purposes to date, and while they can be helpful in detecting a mental health disorder, the National Institute of Mental Health states that they should not to be used on their own in the diagnosis of a mental illness. Professionals still generally rely on a psychological assessment as the optimal method of diagnosing a mental health disorder.
Types Of Mental Health Disorders
There are more than 200 specific, classified mental illnesses. However, as summarized by WebMD, mental health disorders can be divided into several general categories, which include but are not limited to:
- Somatic disorders
- Substance abuse, addiction, and impulse control disorders
With so many different kinds of disorders, it can be difficult for an individual to know what to look for to determine whether a particular mental health disorder is present. As mentioned, there are some generalized behaviors and symptoms that can help to determine whether it is time to investigate further and get a diagnosis from a professional.
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Psychotherapy Or Talking Therapies
It can help people understand the root of their mental illness and start to work on more healthful thought patterns that support everyday living and reduce the risk of isolation and self-harm.
What Causes Mental Health Disorders
Behavioral health disorders can have many causes. They might be the result of abnormal genes. You may inherit those genes from a parent, or genes can change during your life. Chemical imbalances in your brain can also lead to mental illness.
Your risk of mental illness increases if you:
- Use alcohol or recreational drugs.
- Dont get proper nutrition.
- Dont have a support system of friends or family members.
- Had a traumatic birth or were born from a high-risk pregnancy.
- Have a chronic medical condition such as cancer, diabetes or hypothyroidism.
- Have a family history of behavioral health disorders.
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What You’ll Talk About In Your Assessment
During the assessment, you and healthcare professionals will talk about your needs.
The conversation might cover:
- mental health symptoms and experiences
- feelings, thoughts and actions
- use of drugs or alcohol
- past experiences, especially of similar problems
- your safety and other people’s
- whether anyone depends on you, such as a child or elderly relative
- strengths and skills, and what helps you best
- hopes and aspirations for the future
You only have to talk about what you want to talk about but the more you’re able to share, the easier it will be to find out what will work best for you.
How Are Mental Health Disorders Treated
Treatments for mental health disorders may include:
- Medication: Some mental illnesses respond well to medication, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics. These medicines change the chemicals in your brain, so you experience fewer symptoms. Its very important to take medication exactly as your healthcare provider directs. Never stop taking medication for a mental illness without consulting your healthcare provider.
- Psychotherapy: Talking to a mental health professional can help you work through the challenges of an illness and manage its symptoms. Psychotherapy can be in a one-to-one setting with a healthcare provider or a group setting. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy. It focuses on helping you change negative behaviors and thought patterns.
- Alternative therapies: Some mental illnesses, such as depression, may improve with alternative therapies. Examples include herbal remedies, massage, acupuncture, yoga and meditation. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any herbal remedies or supplements. They may affect other medications.
- Brain stimulation therapies: Not all disorders improve with medication. If thats the case, your healthcare provider may recommend brain stimulation therapies. These treatments change the way nerves and other cells in your brain process chemicals and respond to stimuli. Examples include electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation .
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How Do I Know If I Need A Mental Disorder Test Or Mental Health Screening
Consider taking a test to assess your mental health if youâve noticed changes in how you feel or in your ability to function for the last for two weeks or more. If youâve found yourself feeling extra tired, irritable, anxious, unfocused, or sad lately, and these symptoms are interfering with your ability to engage in your day-to-day life, these could be signs that you could benefit from mental health treatment.
Bipolar Misdiagnosis: Why Does It Happen
Bipolar disorder is frequently misdiagnosed. According to recent medical research, around 20% of people with bipolar disorder may be mistakenly diagnosed with depression. This occurs because the symptoms of bipolar II disorder are similar to those of major depressive disorder, with most people experiencing more depressive episodes than periods of hypomania.
Whats more, unlike full-blown mania, hypomania is easy dismissed as someone being normal or seeming more productive and sociable than usual. Some people misunderstand the symptoms of bipolar disorder and think they cant possibly have the condition because their mood changes dont follow a regular pattern.
Bipolar disorder doesnt always present as we see it in movies and on television. If you think youre experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, such as episodes of depression and mania or hypomania, you must consult your doctor, who will refer you for help and treatment.
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What Personality Disorder Do I Have Take A Mental Illness Test
Mental health challenges can be difficult to navigate, as different mental health diagnoses can come with similar symptoms. If you are just starting out on your journey toward learning more about your emotional health, it may help to take a general mental health quiz. This simple quiz should not serve as a diagnosis, but it can give you an idea of whether you have a specific mental health condition, which can be the first step toward finding treatment.
Personality disorders, a type of mental health diagnosis, involve a cluster of symptoms that can make interpersonal relationships difficult to navigate. A personality disorder quiz can help you determine whether your symptoms may indicate a personality disorder. Finding out more about your specific symptoms and needs can help you find treatment that most effectively addresses your situation.
Mental Health Status Examination And Screeningpediatrics
While there is currently no gold standard for pediatric mental health screening, the emerging best practice for the mental health status examination is a structured or semi-structured assessment that is integrated into the overall health assessment. The mental health screening for children and adolescents depends largely on age. However, the following observations are critical in the mental status examination of all children and adolescents:
- Overall development
- Engagement with parents or caregivers and clinicians
- Children with mental health issues may appear withdrawn, anxious, angry, or otherwise distressed.
- Parents with mental health issues may have difficulty engaging with their children.
Children, 0-5 years of age
For children from birth through 5 years of age, mental health screening may consist of the mental status examination including overall development and engagement with parents/caregivers. It is important to remember that development and engagement may be perceived differently among cultures.
Children, 6-13 years of age
It is important to elicit both symptomatology and functional impairment in a semi-structured assessment.
Adolescents, 14 years of age and older
Table 2. Sample assessment questions for parents and children during the domestic mental health screening
*Use clinical judgement in determining which questions are appropriate for the child or adolescent to answer. Ask parents if child is unable or unwilling to answer questions.
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How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
Doctors diagnose bipolar disorder on the basis of a clinical evaluation. It may consist of an interview and discussion about experiences, symptoms, and progression of those over time. There must be at least one episode of mania or hypomania for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Doctors then assess the severity of those episodes to determine the type.
A doctor may also perform a physical exam and run blood work. They do this to rule out other potential causes for symptoms aside from bipolar disorder.
One major challenge for doctors is distinguishing between unipolar and bipolar depression. Unipolar depression is also called major depressive disorder and has the same criteria as bipolar depression. History of mania or hypomania along with depression is part of the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder, of which there are several types.
Your doctor cant diagnose bipolar disorder from a brain scan or blood test. However, new research has uncovered a possible link between the expression of a key brain molecule and the diagnosis of mood disorders.
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What Is The Treatment For Bipolar
Treatment for bipolar includes medicines and talk therapy. Medicine can help keep moods stable. But by itself, medicine isnt enough. A person with bipolar needs talk therapy, too.
Each persons treatment is tailored to what they need. A type of talk therapy called DBT helps most people. In this therapy, people can learn skills to manage moods. For example, they can learn to:
- become more mindful of their emotions and thoughts
- manage their emotions
- cope with strong emotions in healthy ways
- set up and follow routines that help keep moods stable
- be patient and kind to themselves
- care for themselves in positive ways
- get along better with others
With time and practice, these skills can become part of a persons daily life.
Therapy also includes making goals and working out ways to move toward them. In therapy, people track their progress. Many find strengths they didnt know they had.
When possible, parents take part in treatment. This helps them understand bipolar moods and how to best respond. It can help families have less conflict, relate better, and feel closer.
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Who Is This Quiz For
Below is a list of 10 questions designed for people who are concerned about schizophrenia. Read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges.
If you have any been struggling for a month or more and those struggles have caused difficulties in functioning for the past six months, let your doctor know. This interactive quiz has been structured in a manner to allow for a short and simple self-assessment. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and are based on criteria in the DSM-5.
What Are The Side Effects Of Bipolar Disorder Medications
Side effects of bipolar disorder medications are common and vary by medication. Its important to talk with your healthcare provider about what you can expect when taking certain medications. Its also important to tell them if youre experiencing side effects.
Never stop taking your medication unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so. Abruptly stopping medication can cause severe side effects and trigger severe episodes.
The most common side effects of bipolar disorder medications include:
- Akathisia feelings of restlessness and agitation with a compelling need to move, rock or pace.
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Getting A Professional Assessment Is Critical
Im often asked a lot of questions about how mental illnesses are diagnosed. Whats the diagnostic process? How is a specific diagnosis determined? Are diagnoses helpful or harmful? Lets try to address some of these frequently asked questions now.
How are mental illnesses diagnosed?
The word diagnosis is defined in two different ways. It not only means the act of identifying a disease, illness, or problem by examining someone but it also refers to a statement or conclusion that describes a disease or illness. Similarly, the process for diagnosing a mental illness reflects both of these definitions and can be boiled down into three major steps:
1. Gathering information
A mental health professional will first gather information from a person through a detailed interview which includes finding out the persons main concerns, their symptoms, and their life history. Additional information is sometimes obtained from the persons family or caregivers and from previous treatment records. A physical examination, lab tests, and psychological questionnaires may be included, often to rule out other illnesses.
2. Narrowing down the options
3. Forming a diagnostic impression
What are some of the benefits from an accurate diagnosis?
Obtaining an accurate diagnosis can be helpful in several ways:
What are some of the concerns about diagnosis?
Diagnosis of a mental illness is not without potential drawbacks. Some of these include:
Copyright David Susman 2018
Preparing For A Psychiatric Evaluation
- Is it normal to feel the way I do?
- Do I have a mental health disorder?
- How much does the treatment cost?
- How long will the treatment last?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are my treatment options?
- What factors can trigger my illness?
- Will my children have a similar illness in the future?
- What are my symptoms? How long do they last?
- What do I do to control the symptoms?
- How do I feel, think, and behave?
- Did the symptoms appear after a major life event, such as the death of a loved one?
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Signs And Symptoms Of Mental Health Disorders
Mental Health America shares some general signs and symptoms that can help people recognize if someone is experiencing a mental health disorder. Mental symptoms include:
- Confusion, memory loss, or other cognitive dysfunction
- Changes in mood, such as depression or mania
- Extreme mood swings
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Extreme risk-taking behaviors
When these signs and behaviors are occurring and particularly if more than one is occurring at once it is a good idea to see a professional for a mental health diagnosis.
How Can I Test My Mental Health Condition
Talkspace offers free mental health tests that only take a few minutes to complete. Talkspace’s mental health tests will give you a better understanding of your symptoms, and cover a variety of different mental health conditions. Currently Talkspace provides mental health tests for depression and anxiety symptoms.
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Do Other Illnesses Mimic Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder
Mood swings and impulsive behavior can sometimes reflect psychiatric problems other than bipolar disorder, including:
- Substance use disorders
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Certain anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder
Psychosis can occur not only in bipolar disorder but other conditions such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. In addition, people with bipolar disorder often have additional psychiatric problems such as anxiety disorders , and social anxiety disorder), substance use disorders, or personality disorders that may complicate an illness presentation and require independent treatment.
Some non-psychiatric illnesses, such as thyroid disease, lupus, HIV, syphilis, and other infections, may have signs and symptoms that mimic those of bipolar disorder. This can pose further challenges in making a diagnosis and determining the treatment.
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Mental Health Diagnoses Do Not Receive Enough Treatment
- Over 15 million children and adolescents need specialized psychiatric treatment. The number of psychiatrists practicing child and adolescent psychiatry is only 8,300. This is about 1 for every 1,800 children and adolescents.8 Notably, the gap will likely widen in the future.
- In 2016, only 41% of the 3.2 million people aged 12 to 17 years who suffered from depression in the past 12 months received treatment.9
- In 2017, about 1 in 3 adults aged 18 or older who suffered from major depression did not receive treatment.10
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