Diagnosing and Assessing Mental Health Disorders


Mental health disorders vary quite broadly, with multiple subcategories of the known types existing. However, six core disorders can be distinguished as the primary ones. These are the anxiety disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (American Psychiatric Association, 2014). The specified mental health concerns require accurate diagnostic and assessment strategies so that they could be correctly identified and addressed correspondingly. By promoting patient awareness, as well as deploying credible and established tests for identifying mental health issues in patients, one can expect an accurate identification of a corresponding issue.


Anxiety Disorders

The phenomenon of an anxiety disorder is quite complex one, since its symptoms may vary in patients significantly. To diagnose the anxiety disorder, a therapist must combine a blood test with a general physical exam and specific questions asked to a patient. The physical assessment may help identify an underlying factor affecting the development of anxiety, such as rheumatoid arthritis (Brown & Thorsteinsson, 2019). In turn, the blood test will help locate the presence of hypothyroidism, which may also cause anxiety.

Eating Disorders

To identify the presence of an eating disorder, a physical examination is required first. The specified tool will allow identifying the presence of obvious eating disorders such an anorexia nervosa (American Psychiatric Association, 2014). Afterward, a psychological evaluation involving questions concerning the patient’s eating habits is administered.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

To diagnose OCD, evidence-based tools are typical used. As a rule, the Yale–Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale is integrated into the analysis (American Psychiatric Association, 2014). The scale allows identifying the behaviors associated with OCD and, therefore, informs the further choice of treatment strategies.


As a rule, a physical assessment represents the first step toward diagnosing schizophrenia in a patient. In the course of the specified evaluation, a combination of a physical assessment and an observation is deployed. Specifically, in order to determine the presence of schizophrenia in a patient, a therapist may utilize tools such as an MRI scan, a CT scan, and blood tests (Brown & Thorsteinsson, 2019). Additionally, a questionnaire can be administered to a patient to obtain core information that will allow identifying major issues. Issued by the American Psychiatric Association (2014), the specified tool is believed to be highly credible.

Bipolar Disorder

In turn, the process of determining the presence of a bipolar disorder requires the use of a combined approach involving a physical examination, asking the patient questions concerning their mental state, and considering the diagnostic criteria listed in DSM-5 (Brown & Thorsteinsson, 2019). Specifically, mood swings, concentration issues, reckless behavior, and similar factors point to the presence of a bipolar disorder.


Finally, PTSD requires a thorough assessment of the patient’s mental state. Specifically, the inability to recall and identify key factors that have led to the trauma is typically seen as one of the core signs of PTSD. Another symptom that is usually used as the diagnostic criterion is a loss of interest toward the activities that used to be common in the patient. Finally, the feeling of being estranged from others can be seen as a core sign of PTSD (Brown & Thorsteinsson, 2019). The presence of the described issues combined indicates high likelihood of PTSD.


With the focus on promoting awareness and encouraging early diagnosis and interventions, the extent of mental health issues in the general audience is expected to be reduced. Currently, six key types of mental health disorders are distinguished, each requiring a specific test that will allow determining the presence thereof. By combining tests with observations, a therapist can identify a mental health issue successfully and prevent its development at an early stage.


American Psychiatric Association (2014). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). APA.

Brown, R., & Thorsteinsson, E. (Eds.). (2019). Comorbidity: symptoms, conditions, behavior and treatments. Springer Nature.

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