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Assessment and Diagnosis

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University of Toronto St. George

th PSY240 January 18 Assessment and Diagnosis Diagnosis of abnormality Advantages of classification Ability to label is important for statistical purposes, governments can then collect information about incidence rates over time, e.g. ADHD diagnosis increases, what is going on? Etiology why did it develop? Need to know what it is to research why it develops Without treatment, assessment is irrelevant; classification helps determine appropriate treatments Allows predictionprognosis how will symptoms pan out? E.g. adjustment disorder (caused by specific stressors) only lasts 6 months at most, others must be managed over time (e.g. schizophrenia, personality disorders) Communication in fieldresearch research should apply to people everywhere, not just a single hospital, so should make sure everyone is talking about the same disordersymptoms Knowing there is a name and treatments can be relieving, not feeling alone, not as chaotic Disadvantages of classification Arbitrary distinction between normal and abnormal, ignores continuum (categorical) Have to draw lines and decide what makes it into the DSM, can be influenced by social factors E.g. Diagnosis of depression 5 of 9 symptoms for at least 2 weeks Assumes disorders are distinct, when really they overlap in symptomology Some people are diagnosed with multiple disorders, assumes these are discrete when really there may be something at the root of many problems (e.g. perfectionism major depressive disorder, social phobia, body dysmorphic disorder, OCD) People have argued the DSM is too categorical
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