There is no medical test that can provide a diagnosis of mental illness. A health care professional can do a number of things in an evaluation including a physical exam and long term monitoring to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing symptoms. The diagnosis is an important tool for you and your doctor. Doctors and therapists use a diagnosis to advise you on treatment options and future health risks. Another reason a diagnosis matters is that it tells health insurance companies that you have a condition requiring medical care. A doctor’s diagnosis is also necessary to qualify for Social Security disability support or for job protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Brain-Altering Science and the Search for a New Normal

In 2006, Liss Murphy was in thrall to what she calls a “sepsis of the soul” — an intractable and debilitating depression. No conventional treatments had helped. So when she heard that doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, had developed an experimental cure for severe depression that involved permanently implanting electrodes in the brain, she didn’t Read more

The Stigma Against People Who Use Heroin Makes It Harder for Them to Get Help

Joseph Palamar, New York University Langone Medical Center Heroin use and dependence have grown dramatically in the US over the last decade. Between 2002-2004 and 2011-2013, past-year use increased by 62.5% and abuse/dependence by 90%. And the demographics of heroin use have changed as well. Over a decade ago, heroin was less prevalent and more Read more

Trauma and the DSM: Paradigm Shifts Don’t Come Easy

Guest post by Toni Watt, Ph.D., with contributions by Laurie Seremetis, M.D.  Children in state custody have experienced maltreatment, neglect, and family disruption. Thus, behavioral health systems serving these children need to be trauma-informed. Fortunately, there is a national movement underway with initiatives to promote trauma screening, training, and services. However, it has been noted Read more

Older Posts