Diagnosing Depressive and Bipolar Disorders
Diagnosing a depression is one of the most common—and yet most complex—differential diagnoses a social worker may make. The word itself covers a wide range of variations of the illness from normal sadness to serious clinical depressions that might not present the same way. Clinical depression disorders can look agitated or leaden even within the same specific form of the illness. They can be persistent depressions, mild and adjustment related, or caused by particular life events as in postpartum depressions.
Social workers need to know how to differentiate among types of depressions. They also need to know how to find the overlaps that depression has with other illnesses such as anxiety and trauma disorders.
This week you observe a case of unipolar depression and then apply your diagnostic decision-making process to a case study. You also consider how to differentiate among disorders on these two spectrums and the importance of validating a diagnosis over time.
Analyze a case study focused on a depressive disorder or bipolar disorder utilizing steps of differential diagnosis
Analyze lived experiences of depression
Evaluate cases to determine accurate mood disorder diagnosis
Morrison, J. (2014). Diagnosis made easier (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Chapter 11, “Diagnosing Depression and Mania” (pp. 129–166)
Classroom Productions. (Producer). (2015). Depressive disorders [Video]. Walden University.
American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Bipolar and related disorders. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., text rev.).
Jain, R., Maletic, V., & McIntyre, R. S. (2017). Diagnosing and treating patients with mixed features. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 78(8), 1091–1102. doi:10.4088/JCP.su17009ah1c
Diagnosing and Treating Patients with Mixed Features by Jain, R.; Maletic, V.; McIntyre, R., in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Vol. 78/Issue 8. Copyright 2017 by Physicians Postgraduate Press. Reprinted by permission of Physicians Postgraduate Press via the Copyright Clearance Center.
Walton, Q. L., & Payne, J. S. (2016). Missing the mark: Cultural expressions of depressive symptoms among African-American women and men. Social Work in Mental Health, 14(6), 637–657. doi:10.1080/15332985.2015.1133470
TED Conferences, LLC (Producer). (2013). Depression, the secret we share [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_depression_the_secret_we_share
TEDx Talks. (2013a, May 23). Depression is a disease of civilization: Stephen Ilardi at TedxEmory [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/drv3BP0Fdi8
American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Assessment measures. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., text rev.). https://go.openathens.net/redirector/waldenu.edu?url= https://dsm.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425787.Assessment_Measures
Santiago-Rivera, A. L., Benson-Flórez, G., Santos, M. M., & Lopez, M. (2015). Latinos and depression: Measurement issues and assessment. In K. F. Geisinger (Ed.), Psychological testing of Hispanics: Clinical, cultural, and intellectual issues (2nd ed., pp. 255–271). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/14668-014
Thase, M. E., Weisler, R. H., Trivedi, M. H., & Manning, J. S. (2017). Utilizing the DSM-5 Anxious Distress specifier to develop treatment strategies for patients with major depressive disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 78(9), 1351–1362. doi:10.4088/JCP.ot17015ah1
Utilizing the DSM-5 Anxious Distress Specifier to Develop Treatment Strategies for Patients with Major Depressive Disorder by Thase, M.; Weisler, R.; Trivedi, M.; Manning, J., in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Vol. 78/Issue 9. Copyright 2017 by Physicians Postgraduate Press. Reprinted by permission of Physicians Postgraduate Press via the Copyright Clearance Center.
Document: Suggested Further Reading for SOCW 6090 (PDF)
Note: This is the same document introduced in Week 1.
Discussion: Applying Differential Diagnosis to Depressive and Bipolar Disorders
What is it truly like to have a mental illness? By considering clients’ lived experiences, a social worker becomes more empathetic and therefore better equipped to treat them. In this Discussion, you analyze a case study focused on a depressive disorder or bipolar disorder using the steps of differential diagnosis.
To prepare: View the TED Talk “Depression, the Secret We Share” (TED Conferences, LLC, 2013) and compare the description of Andrew Solomon’s symptoms to the criteria for depressive disorders in the DSM-5-TR. Next review the steps in diagnosis detailed in the Morrison (2014) reading, and then read the case provided by your instructor for this week’s Discussion, considering the client against the various DSM-5-TR criteria for depressive disorders and bipolar disorders.
By Day 3
Post a 300- to 500-word response in which you address the following:
Provide the full DSM-5-TR diagnosis for the client. For any diagnosis that you choose, be sure to concisely explain how the client fits that diagnostic criteria. Remember, a full diagnosis should include the name of the disorder, ICD-10-CM code, specifiers, severity, medical needs, and the Z codes (other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention). Keep in mind a diagnosis covers the most recent 12 months.
Explain the diagnosis by matching the symptoms identified in the case to the specific criteria for the diagnosis.
Recommend a specific evidence-based measurement instrument to validate the diagnosis and assess outcomes of treatment.
Describe your treatment recommendations, including the type of treatment modality and whether or not you would refer the client to a medical provider for psychotropic medications.
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