In order to determine if a person has had a psychological injury that determination typically rests on an evaluating physician’s diagnosis of a DSM disorder. In reading medical-legal reports one sometimes encounters the “diagnosis” of Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Condition. Unfortunately, this is not a DSM-IV-TR mental disorder. In contrast, it is considered to be a condition that may become a focus of clinical interest, namely, it might require some attention or perhaps counseling. Regardless, this condition is specified correctly when one or more psychological or behavioral factors have affected a general medical condition found in the patient. In order to use this category, there must be information in the form of medical records and psychological data showing that the individual’s signs and/or symptoms are indicative of a specific medical condition and are not completely understandable in terms of the underlying physical pathology and/or an attempted simulation of symptoms. So, if a physician in a medical discipline, such as orthopedics or internal medicine, has determined that all of the individual’s complaints are understandable in terms of their underlying physical pathology it is not appropriate to specify Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Condition.
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