How is mental illness diagnosed

Doctor consulting patient and examining mental illness in clinic or hospital mental health service center

How is mental illness diagnosed

How is mental illness diagnosed

Mental illness is a general term referring to any abnormality involving mental health. It includes a wide range of symptoms and conditions, many of which are difficult to diagnose. Mental health professionals including psychologists, therapists, and counselors work together using psychology assessments and interviews to help determine if a person has a diagnosable mental illness.

Why There is No True Normal

When it comes to the field of mental health and psychology, it could be said that there is no real normal. That’s because it depends upon the model that is used to determine abnormality. For example, the statistical method of abnormality is often used when determining general IQ as well as deviation from standards and norms that most of society complies with. When an individual exhibits symptoms or behaviors that deviate from these norms, they might be considered mentally ill with the statistical model.

Other models include

  • Biological model
  • Psychodynamic model
  • Cognitive
  • Behavioral

Each of these models may render different results for the same individuals since they all take a unique perspective on what factors are used to determine abnormality. For example, someone could exhibit so-called normal behaviors in everyday life, but show extreme pervasiveness or cognitive issues when it comes to their thinking processes. Such a person might still be considered abnormal in their thinking, even if their behavior is in line with societal norms.

This process can be confusing to the average person. But there is a standard that mental health professional utilizes to determine mental illness. It is known as the DSM. The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This is known as the “Bible” of mental illness to most mental health experts, and it is used across most mental health settings today.

Components in a Mental Diagnosis

When healthcare practitioners go through the process of diagnosing a potential mental disorder, they may use the following information.

  • Medical History information– The essential piece of information that is required when determining whether mental illness exists is a medical history. This process attempts to rule out any physical or biological factors involving the behavior, cognitive component, or other factors before determining that someone has a diagnosable mental illness.
  • Familial components– Family history and components, including issues like “failure to thrive” and isolation are all significant when looking at a person’s general mental health. Delving into the family history can help rule out environmental factors in the diagnosis. The APA (American Psychological Association) generally view environmental factors as proof that there is no mental illness. But others argue that the negative environment may have caused the disorder.
  • Mental health information (prior)- Perhaps the most significant piece of information is any prior mental health information that is connected to the patient. The mental health history should follow the patient so that professionals dealing with the person will have a whole picture of the person.

About Sundance Healthcare

At Sundance Healthcare, we understand the many factors that must go into a legitimate diagnosis of mental illness. We also understand the difficulty that many have in admitting that they (or someone they love) have a mental disorder. However, just like physical disorders, proper diagnosis and treatment are necessary to help the person return to a state of balance in their mental health life.

We are located in Dallas, Texas, and we offer a full range of tests, facilities, and treatment programs.

Visit us today to find out more and contact us with any questions. We’re here to help.

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