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Assessing and Diagnosing Patients With Mood Disorders

Week 3: Mood Disorders

While most people experience sadness or grief at some point in their lives, it is typically of short duration and may occur in response to some type of loss. Clinically significant depression, on the other hand, is more disruptive and serious. It lasts longer and has more symptoms that interfere with daily functioning.

This week, you will explore the differences among mood disorders such as depressive, bipolar, and related disorders, and you will examine challenges in properly differentiating among them for the purpose of accurately rendering a diagnosis. You also will look at steps that can be taken to increase the likelihood that patients who are diagnosed with these disorders benefit from treatment and refrain from physically harming themselves or others.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Apply concepts, theories, and principles related to patient interviewing, diagnostic reasoning, and recording patient information
  • Formulate differential diagnoses using DSM-5-TR criteria for patients with mood disorders across the lifespan

Assignment: Assessing and Diagnosing Patients With Mood Disorders

Case study video #151 Training Title 151. . (2018).[Video/DVD] Symptom Media. Retrieved from

Accurately diagnosing depressive disorders can be challenging given their periodic and, at times, cyclic nature. Some of these disorders occur in response to stressors and, depending on the cultural history of the client, may affect their decision to seek treatment.

Bipolar disorders can also be difficult to properly diagnose. While clients with bipolar or related disorders will likely have to contend with the disorder indefinitely, many find that the use of medication and evidence-based treatments have favourable outcomes.

To Prepare:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources. Consider the insights they provide about assessing and diagnosing mood disorders.
  • Download the Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation Template, which you will use to complete this Assignment. Also, review the Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation Exemplar to see an example of a completed evaluation document.
  • By Day 1 of this week, select a specific video case study to use for this Assignment from the Video Case Selections choices in the Learning Resources. View your assigned video case and review the additional data for the case in the “Case History Reports” document, keeping the requirements of the evaluation template in mind.
  • Training Title 151. . (2018).[Video/DVD] Symptom Media. Retrieved from
  • Consider what history would be necessary to collect from this patient.
  • Consider what interview questions you would need to ask this patient.
  • Identify at least three possible differential diagnoses for the patient.
  • You will need the 7th edition APA Title page and introduction that ends with a purpose statement at the beginning of your CPE. Then begin with the template provided in your resources. You will include a conclusion as well.

For the Assignment:

Complete and submit your Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation (CPE), including your differential diagnosis and critical-thinking process to formulate a primary diagnosis. Incorporate the following into your responses in the template:

  • Subjective: What details did the patient provide regarding their chief complaint and symptomology to derive your differential diagnosis? What is the duration and severity of their symptoms? How are their symptoms impacting their functioning in life?
  • Objective: What observations did you make during the psychiatric assessment?
  • Assessment: Discuss the patient’s mental status examination results. What were your differential diagnoses? Provide a minimum of three possible diagnoses with supporting evidence, listed in order from highest priority to lowest priority. Compare the DSM-5-TR diagnostic criteria for each differential diagnosis and explain what DSM-5 criteria rule out the differential diagnosis to find an accurate diagnosis. Explain the critical-thinking process that led you to the primary diagnosis you selected. Include pertinent positives and pertinent negatives for the specific patient case.
  • Reflection notes: What would you do differently with this client if you could conduct the session over? Also include in your reflection a discussion related to legal/ethical considerations (demonstrate critical thinking beyond confidentiality and consent for treatment!), health promotion and disease prevention taking into consideration patient factors (such as age, ethnic group, etc.), PMH, and other risk factors (e.g., socioeconomic, cultural background, etc.).

This is the case study video

Training Title 151. . (2018).[Video/DVD] Symptom Media. Retrieved from

Learning Resources

Classroom Productions (Producer), & Harrigan, S. (Director). (2015). Bipolar Disorders. [Video/DVD] Microtraining Associates. Retrieved from

Classroom Productions (Producer), & Harrigan, S. (Director). (2015). Depressive Disorders. [Video/DVD] Microtraining Associates. Retrieved from

Megan Cogswell, Toby Levine Communications, & Alvin H. Perlmutter, I. (Producers), &. (1992). Mood Disorders. [Video/DVD] Annenberg Learner. Retrieved from

Bipolar Disorder in Children. . (2005).[Video/DVD] Aquarius Health Care Media. Retrieved from

Last Updated on June 15, 2022

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