A Listing of Some Conditions That Affect a Mental Health Diagnosis
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A Listing of Some Conditions That Affect a Mental Health Diagnosis

The DSM – IV-TR put out by the American Psychiatric Association attempts to standardize mental illnesses so that every clinician would have a guideline for diagnosis. The listing is the easy part but the actual diagnosis can be tricky as the clinician must consider medical conditions and other psychosocial conditions which could contribute to the mental disorders. Only psychiatrists and psychologists can diagnosis mental disorders.

This article will explain some of the disorders found in the DSM.  See previous articles for other categories and explanations.


Delirium Dementia, Amnestic, and Other Cognitive Disorders – Axis I

This category is listed as organic brain disorders on Axis I of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders – DSM 1V-TR.

You will find the following disorders:


People, who suffer from delirium, have trouble remaining lucid, their attention wanders and they have an incoherent stream of thought.   Several factors can account for this such as high fever and substance abuse.


Dementia is the deterioration of the mind coupled with memory loss.  Though it is most commonly associated with old age, there could be other causes as well such as stroke and substance abuse.

Amnestic Syndrome

Amnestic syndrome is labeled as such when there is substantial loss of memory which is not associated with delirium or dementia.

In the previous DSMs these conditions were said to have a biological cause and some of them overlapped with other Axis I disorders.  In the present DSM-IV-TR, the conditions can have a biological cause such as brain lesions or an environmental cause such as substance abuse.

In the present DSM the condition would be found on Axis I listed with a specific medical condition.  

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are resistant of maladaptive behaviors found on Axis II.  There are ten personality disorders.

Schizoid Personality

People with schizoid personality disorder are aloof, they rarely have friends and they don’t respond to praise of criticism.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder sufferers have an exaggerated view of themselves. They constantly need praise and are always dreaming about success. They may even exploit others.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

The antisocial personality disorder starts in adolescence, before age 15.  Truancy, delinquency, and running away from home are behaviors expressed by these people.  Furthermore, they are often belligerent. In adulthood they remain indifferent about keeping jobs, parenting, planning for a future and so on.

Other Conditions That May Be a Focus of Clinical Attention

This is a big category for conditions which still require treatment but are not really mental disorders.   These conditions may not cause a mental disorder but may influence or affect one.  The types of conditions in this category are:

  • Academic problems
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Malingering (producing false physical or psychological symptoms)
  • Marital problems
  • Work problems
  •  Relationship problems
  •  Bereavement
  • Physical and psychological abuse

The DSM classification system can be rather complicated for the untrained profession.  Currently, only psychiatrists and psychologists can give a mental illness diagnosis. The clinician must be very sure of the symptoms and take into consideration any psychosocial or medical problems associated with the symptoms before making a final judgment.

Additional resources:

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Comments (1)

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