Understanding differential diagnosis is critical for making a proper diagnosis.

Making a Differential Diagnosis

Understanding differential diagnosis is critical for making a proper diagnosis. The DSM-5 has provided great tools for clarifying the most accurate diagnoses based on symptoms. For this discussion, read through the Vignette of Richard, who meets the criteria of Somatic Symptom Disorder.

After reading the vignette, open the Decision Tree for Somatic Complaints or Illness or Appearance Anxiety in Chapter 3 of DSM-5 Handbook of Differential Diagnosis (linked in the Resources). Follow the steps of the decision tree to find your way to the diagnosis of Somatic Symptom Disorder. Utilize the option to “View Large” for each decision tree (ignore downloading the PowerPoint). Address the following using headings to match content in each bullet point:

  • What was most and least helpful about using the decision tree?
  • Select one of the assessments covered in the assigned reading by Hamilton and Carr (2016), and describe how it would provide additional information that would be relevant to understanding Richard from a systemic or cultural perspective.

Support your ideas with references to the course texts, articles from this learning unit, or articles from peer-reviewed journals that you locate in the Capella University Library.

Response Guidelines

Respond to the initial discussion post of one other learner. What reactions do you have to the ideas the learner has presented? Include examples from your own experience to support your perspective, and raise questions to continue the dialogue.

Learning Components

This activity will help you achieve the following learning components:

  • Explore how models of psychopathology help explain causes of disorders.
  • Identify how culture is a consideration for the application of assessments.
  • Consider the role of assessment tools to clarify presenting symptoms.
  • Use language appropriate for a counseling professional.
  • Cite and reference resources, giving appropriate credit for another’s work.

Resources

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