Unmasking Psychological Symptoms: How Therapists Can Learn to Recognize the Psychological Presentation of Medical Disorders

Unmasking Psychological Symptoms: How Therapists Can Learn to Recognize the Psychological Presentation of Medical Disorders

Unmasking Psychological Symptoms: How Therapists Can Learn to Recognize the Psychological Presentation of Medical Disorders

Unmasking Psychological Symptoms: How Therapists Can Learn to Recognize the Psychological Presentation of Medical Disorders

Synopsis

More than 100 medical diseases-many common ailments-are capable of masquerading as mental disorders. This book shows clinicians how to identify patients who are most likely to have an underlying physical ailment and how to direct them to a targeted medical work-up. With guidance on working with patients during the referral process and afterward, as well as on integrating medical findings into ongoing therapeutic work, clinicians will benefit from the practical advice on recognizing signs, symptoms, and patterns of medical diseases that may be underlying a psychologically presenting malady.

Excerpt

More than 100 somatic disorders are capable of mimicking psychological conditions. This reality presents every therapist with an important clinical challenge—to unmask psychological signs and symptoms that are being caused by medical disorders. When you are seeing a patient who appears to have a psychological problem, how might you assess whether that individual could have an underlying, discrete medical condition that is actually causing or complicating the presentation? And how might such an evaluation be accomplished during an interview? This book addresses these questions.

In our work as therapists, we have learned to be attuned to the subtleties of our patients’ emotional lives, but we are often ill prepared to detect clues that mark the presence of covert organic illness. Yet, an importantpartofour job is to unmask any physical condition a patient might have. This is a vital undertaking, because fully effective mental health treatment is only possible once contributing medical disorders have been accurately diagnosed.

This book facilitates an expansion of your observational and listening skills. Using clinical stories, it introduces a variety of medical disorders and shows how these conditions are often camouflaged in people’s lives. Discussions are included on how to approach somatic complaints, which particular mental status findings point to organic dysfunction, and how to conduct a thorough assessment.

This book is about well-described somatic disorders that may not look like they are physical because they initially or primarily affect the individual’s mental and behavioral life. Many widespread and familiar maladies can masquerade as mental disorders: thyroid disorders, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, temporal lobe epilepsy, HIV, the long-term consequences of head trauma, Lyme disease, and the side effects of medications, to name only a few. These and other physical conditions are common in patients who are . . .

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