A mental health diagnosis involves many steps beginning with an evaluation by a doctor or other mental health professional if symptoms of mental illness are present. The evaluation will begin with the health care provider asking questions about your symptoms and medical history and sometimes performing a physical exam. Although there are no laboratory tests to specifically diagnose mental illness, doctors may use various tests to make sure something else isn't causing the symptoms. If no other illness is found, you may be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses.
Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a mental illness. The doctor bases his or her diagnosis on the person's report of symptoms -- including any social or functional problems caused by the symptoms -- and his or her observation of the person's attitudes and behavior. The doctor then determines if the person's symptoms and degree of disability point to a diagnosis of a specific disorder.
Halloween is nigh, and along with the parade of adorable elves and fairies
knocking on your door come some more disturbing phenomena: scary haunted
houses, wild parties and, perhaps most jarringly, a new onslaught of ghastly
horror films. This year the biggest new release will be Saw IV, the
fourth installment of a tale of a psycho who delights in putting his victims
through ever more elaborate and deadly traps.
Scary movies are nothing new, but films like those in the Saw and
The standard manual used by experts for the diagnosis of recognized mental illness in the U.S. is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM), which is compiled by the American Psychiatric Association.
WebMD Medical Reference
Joseph Goldberg, MD on February 15, 2012