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Clinical assessment and investigation in psychiatry

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Hamish McAllister-WilliamsORCiD, Dr David Cousins, Professor Brian Lunn


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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd The assessment of patients with mental health problems is often seen as very different from assessment in other areas of medicine. However, it actually has much in common with any area of medicine in which taking a good history is vital. It should be conducted in a systematic way using good interview techniques. A clear knowledge of signs of mental illness (e.g. delusions, hallucinations) is essential for an accurate assessment of a patient's difficulties. This should allow the clinician to reach a differential diagnosis, and to estimate how much confidence can be placed in the primary diagnosis. Although there are few diagnostic tests in psychiatry, appropriate investigation of patients includes an assessment of their physical health (and whether this might relate to their psychiatric presentation), a formal and detailed assessment of their cognitive function (which can help characterize or localize possible brain pathology), objective ratings of the severity of symptoms, and neuroimaging.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McAllister-Williams RH, Cousins D, Lunn B

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Medicine (United Kingdom)

Year: 2016

Volume: 44

Issue: 11

Pages: 630-637

Print publication date: 01/11/2016

Online publication date: 14/09/2016

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1357-3039

ISSN (electronic): 1365-4357

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.mpmed.2016.08.004