According to the criteria found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a Dysthymic Disorder is diagnosed correctly when the individual presents with a chronically depressed mood that occurs for most of the day, more days than not, for at least two years. During periods of depressed mood, at least two of the following additional symptoms are present: poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or hypersomnia, low energy or fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration or difficulty making decisions, and feelings of hopelessness. When you find that a psych report lacks information supporting the diagnosis of a Dysthymic Disorder, the attorney should ask the doctor, where in their report they provided historical data demonstrating that the patient met the diagnostic criteria for a Dysthymic Disorder.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
A Major Depressive Disorder is a severe Mood Disorder that is characterized by a pervasive clinical depression and a series of associated symptoms. The severity of a Major Depressive Disorder often mandates that the patient be given substantial anti-depressant medication, psychotherapy, hospitalization and possibly electroconvulsive shock therapy. According to the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, if the patient presents with five or six symptoms, the diagnostic modifier “Mild” is used in specifying the disorder. Doctors should be questioned on cross-examination when you find they do not provide information in their report supporting their conclusions about the severity of a Major Depressive Disorder.
Neuropsychologists have obtained either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. in psychology and have taken additional postdoctoral training in the area of neuropsychology. Neuropsychologists can provide information about how a neurological injury may affect and/or be affected by psychological variables. They also can provide information about whether a patient’s difficulties are likely to be due to brain pathology or emotional factors. Further, neuropsychologists typically administer a relatively large number of tests, called a battery, in a face-to-face manner. Test batteries are sometimes designed by the neuropsychologist to answer specific questions and at other times standardized batteries are used. In short, neuropsychologists are psychologists with advanced or postdoctoral training in evaluating brain functions and correlating specific cognitive and emotional impairments with specific brain pathology.
According to the DSM-IV-TR, a Panic Disorder Without Agoraphobia is diagnosed correctly when the individual presents with recurrent and unexpected Panic Attacks. There must be evidence that shows that these Panic Attacks have been followed by one month or more of either persistent concern about having additional attacks, worry about the implications of the attacks or the consequences, or a significant change in behavior related to the attacks. Further, the patient must not exhibit Agoraphobia or anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing. When a psych report lacks information supporting the DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of a Panic Disorder Without Agoraphobia, the attorney should ask the doctor, where in their report they provided historical data demonstrating that the patient met the diagnostic criteria for a Panic Disorder Without Agoraphobia. This line of questioning will clearly reveal the flawed nature of the doctor’s report.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
A Major Neurocognitive Disorder is a relatively new disorder that appears in the DSM-5, which was published in 2013. According to a reading of pages 602 to 605 of the DSM-5, a Major Neurocognitive Disorder is correctly diagnosed when the individual presents with a substantial impairment in cognitive performance that is measured by the examining physician’s administration of neuropsychological tests or “another quantified clinical assessment.” Thus, when you are reading a psych report where the examiner diagnosed a Major Neurocognitive Disorder you should immediately look to see if the examiner discussed the administration and results of neuropsychological tests or “another quantified clinical assessment.” If you find that the examiner has declined to discuss any of these measures, you should question the doctor about their omission on cross-examination.