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Mental Illness

Describe how psychologists use specific diagnostic criteria in the diagnosis of mental illness. Explain the difference between changes in behavior when they are temporary (such as distress, irrationality, unpredictability, and unconventionality) and when they are long term and may indicate a mental illness.

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The primary resource used by psychologists to determine a mental disorder and/or mental illness is drawn from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR [APA], 2000) criteria. However, from a psychological perspective, the term abnormal used to assess a mood indicating the presence of mental illness has not been adequately defined in the DSM-IV-TR. Therefore, there may be the potential by practitioners to confuse normal or common mood changes, and a mental disturbance such as depression. For instance, the DSM-IV-TR offers no operational definition for a mental disorder, but refers to different types of psychopathology at different levels. Basically, the DSM-IV-TR criteria implies a distinction between a "mental" and a medically-determined physical disorder.

The DSM -IV-TR (2000) describes a mental disorder within concepts of distress, dysfunction, disability, disadvantage, irritation, patterns, etiology and statistical deviation. On this basis, based on DSM criteria, what is considered as deviating from the "norm" is related to mental phenomena and described as abnormal behavior. Thus, to aid in diagnosing a mental illness or ...

Solution Summary

This solution describe specific diagnositc criteria in diagnosing mental illness.