Diagnosing Mental Disorders

For each of the following case studies, play the role of a clinician and make the most accurate diagnosis possible from the given information.

1. If you interacted with Scott briefly, you might think that he is normal. However, once he told you about the government’s plot against him and how he was going to be rescued by some alien friends, you would start to suspect that he is disordered. 2. As a baby, Charlie resisted being held and showed no interest in human stimulation. Usually passive, he sometimes played with his wind-up toys but did not respond to his name being called and showed outbursts of temper if someone moved even one of his little cars from where he had placed it. 3. Shannon’s moods seem to swing abruptly, and she often seems unable to control her impulses. She has had many sexual encounters and often complains of boredom, though she is seldom alone and often caught up in very intense, stormy relationships. Her friends are on edge around her because of her Jekyll-Hyde behavior. 4. Frank awoke one morning and suddenly realized that he had another name and a family in another state. He had no idea how he came to be living his present life. 5. Although Elaine is a kind, considerate person, she has trouble making decisions by herself. She leans heavily on her friends and family for advice, even for seemingly trivial decisions. 6. While teaching her class one day, Theresa suddenly begins having difficulty breathing. Her heart starts pounding wildly, and she feels weak and dizzy. She feels as if she’s having a heart attack and is honestly afraid that she’s going to die in the next minute or two. (Assume that Theresa is not having a heart attack). 7. Although Jack is enjoying watching the football game, he feels oddly detached, as though he is watching himself and his actions from outside of his own body. Because this has happened several times recently, Jack is startled for fear that he will totally lose control of his thoughts and behavior. 8. Sarah has an unrealistic fear of shopping in crowded stores and walking through crowded streets. She has begun to spend more and more time home alone in order to avoid the panicky feeling she gets when she goes out in public. 9. Sam’s friends are starting to worry about him. Normally energetic and fun-loving, Sam has become withdrawn and sullen. He has lost weight, is constantly tired, and hasn’t been showing up to lacrosse practice or to his fraternity meetings. In his conversations with others, he expresses feelings of doubt and unworthiness, and seems to be entertaining suicidal thoughts. 10. Because Amy feels “dirty” a lot of the time, she spends much of her day at the sink, washing and rewashing her hands hundreds of times until they are red and raw.



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