Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

How to Diagnose Mental Disorders

To diagnose a severe mental disorder, the person must have at least two of these symptoms:

• believing things that are untrue, for example that his thoughts are being controlled by outside forces or that people are trying to poison him (delusions);

• hearing or seeing things that no one else can (hallucinations); often these are frightening;

• agitation and restlessness or withdrawal and lack of interest.

If these symptoms have been present for less than a month, the diagnosis may be of an acute psychosis. If they have been present for more than a month, schizophrenia is possible. If there is a history of episodes in which the person seems to recover completely, bipolar disorder may be the diagnosis. The ‘high’ or manic episode can be diagnosed on the basis of:

• increased speed of talking;

• restlessness;

• irritable mood (getting angry easily);

• grand ideas (out of keeping with reality).

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