AP Psychology Homework: Diagnostic I
Read the following descriptions and provide a diagnosis.
To earn all possible points you need to (1) provide the general category
(e.g., mood (affective) disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, etc.) and
(2) provide the specific diagnosis (e.g., panic disorder, bipolar, cyclothymic, antisocial
personality disorder, etc.)
A 27-year-old, athletic young man has an intense fear of needles.
He tries to rationalize his fear by explaining that he is just being
cautious and protecting himself from AIDS.
He realizes that his fear is irrational but is unable to control it.
The patient has fainted twice in the past when his blood was drawn during
a physical examination. He becomes
extremely anxious at the sight of a needle and worries for days before an
appointment with his physician or dentist.
A 31-year-old woman who owns a small gourmet restaurant complains that
her life feels like it is in a state of constant flux.
“Some days I feel like I’m on top of the world.
I can design a new dish in the afternoon and whip up thirty meals and ten
soufflés an hour in the evening. My
kitchen staff barely have time to wash the dishes.”
“On other days”, she continues, “I feel depressed and can barely
get out of bed and go into the restaurant.”
The patient reports that she gets
her work done even though it is difficult.
During these periods she wonders why she even bothers running a
restaurant. Everything seems to be
a problem. The periods of depressed
mood last a few days and then pass. Sometimes her friends and employees at work
comment that her mood changes a lot and they don’t know how she will be acting
from one day to the next. The
patient reports that her moods often do change from one extreme to another in a
few days. “I feel like a
ping-pong ball: up, down, up, down.” The
patient has never had a Major Depressive Episode or a Manic Episode.
She also reports that these emotional ups and downs have been going on
for over 3 years.
John is a 22-year-old man who is being seen for the first time in a
hospital emergency room where he admits to hearing voices that continually make
critical comments about his behavior and job performance.
He feels that the voices are coming from devices the CIA have implanted
in monitoring equipment at his job. There is no evidence of an underlying medical condition or
substance-related problem that might be the cause of his symptoms.
He denies feeling depressed or euphoric.
When the patient is asked how long he has been hearing the voices, he
says, “about 9 months.”
A 38-year-old man has been increasingly anxious about his job in a large
manufacturing company. He feels
that he has been passed over for a promotion several times.
The patient is preoccupied with many small events and conversations that
have occurred at work during the year and worries how his superiors will
interpret them. He finds it almost
impossible to control his worrying. During
the day at work, he feels restless, edgy, and experiences muscular tension.
At home he is irritable and has difficulty sleeping.
His wife asks him about work but he doesn’t want to talk about it.
Lauren is a 31-year-old self-styled actress and model who supports
herself by working as a waitress in a nightclub until the right professional
opportunity occurs. She likes to be
the center of attention and flirts with the patrons of the club who admire her
sexy figure and provocative costume. Lauren loves the attention she gets from the men at the
nightclub. What Lauren lacks in
talent, she makes up for in provocative behavior.
Lauren has had brief, impulsive
sexual relationships with many men. She
becomes rapidly involved with each new man, idealizes him, and begins an intense
but shallow affair. As the
relationship develops, she becomes more dependent and fearful of being
abandoned. She begins to lose sight
of her own identity and becomes more and more suggestible and frantic.
Lauren’s mood rapidly shifts from periods of excitement to depression,
as she fears that the relationship may deteriorate.
Lauren’s lovers soon become
disenchanted and often alarmed by her behavior. As they begin to pull away from her or try to end the
relationship, Lauren makes dramatic threats that she cannot live without her
lover. These threats have escalated
to the point that she has made suicidal gestures.
These usually consist of scratching her wrists or taking 5 or 6 aspirins.
When the relationship finally ends, Lauren becomes enraged------until she
meets the next man.
A 42-year-old businessperson owns a small clothing store that he runs
with his wife. She reports that
several days ago he began to talk about a new theory he had developed to make
money in the stock market. He
tried, unsuccessfully, to explain the theory to his wife. When she told him that it didn’t make any sense, he began
screaming, “I’m a genius. You
can’t understand my plan because I am so far above you.
I am going to make a fortune.”
He slept little for the next few
days and spent most of his time working on his investment theory and rearranging
the merchandise in their store. A
few days later, he began buying large amounts of very risky stocks.
The patient’s wife reports that he has had a number of similar episodes
in the past during which he became grandiose and developed several
“sure-fire” investment schemes. During one episode he tried to corner the egg futures market
and the couple ended up with a railroad boxcar filled with $50,000 worth of
eggs. Following that particular
episode, he went into a severe depression. He withdrew from his wife, refused to talk about their financial
situation, and stayed in bed (refusing to go to work) for several days.
He also had recurring thoughts of suicide.
He also had recurring thoughts of suicide.
Sadie, a 43-year-old woman, was brought into a hospital emergency room by
her family. Her mother explained
that Sadie had just discovered that her husband had been having an affair with
another woman. She was arguing with
her husband when she suddenly stopped and announced that she could not see
anything. She claimed to be
completely blind. The family was
concerned that Sadie might have had a stroke because of her history of
Sadie was examined by the
emergency-room physician and the neurologist on call who found no evidence of
neurological deficits. The
patient’s blood pressure was only slightly elevated.
A psychiatrist was called to see the patient. When he entered the room, he found Sadie and her concerned
sister holding hands. The
psychiatrist asked Sadie to tell him what had happened and she stated, “I was
arguing with my husband and suddenly I couldn’t see anymore, but that’s OK.
I know that my family will take care of me.”
A 20-year-old woman and her girlfriend were walking through their college
campus one night when a man jumped out of the bushes, pointed a gun at them, and
ordered them to give him their money. The
friend protested and the gunman knocked her to the ground, grabbed both
women’s purses, and ran off. The
friend was shaken but unhurt. At
the time, both women felt lucky to be alive.
Several weeks after the robbery,
the patient became preoccupied with safety.
She had recurrent thoughts of the robbery and had difficulty sleeping.
Every little noise seemed to startle her.
When thinking about the incident, she reported feeling as if it were all
a dream. Yet, she avoided walking
on campus near the area where the attack occurred because of the intense anxiety
it caused her.
Douglas is a 45-year-old man who is married with two grown children and
lives in a small midwestern city. He
owns a small furniture shop that is currently doing poorly.
Douglas and his wife have had long-term marital problems that escalated
when their last child left home. His
wife accused him of being inattentive to her needs and spending all of his free
time on his hobby, taxidermy. Douglas
is proud of the large collection of birds that he has stuffed over the years,
especially his birds of prey. When
he arrives home after work, he immediately goes down to his taxidermy shop in
Recently, after a serious
argument, his wife threw out all of the stuffed birds she could find in the
house while Douglas was at work. When
he returned home he was enraged. The
next morning Douglas left for work and simply disappeared.
Three weeks later, Douglas awoke in an inexpensive hotel room in a large
city several hundred miles away from his home.
He had no idea how he had gotten there and no memory of the period of
time since he left home. He called
his son, who immediately flew to meet him.
Over the next 2 days, his son reconstructed the events that occurred
during the 3 lost weeks.
The day after Douglas arrived in
the new city he went to the Museum of Natural History and volunteered to be a
guide in the zoology section. He
seemed knowledgeable, especially about birds, and was accepted in the program.
A week later he met a middle-aged woman on the museum staff who he asked
out. They quickly became friends
and then lovers. She admitted to
Douglas’ son that he was always very vague about his past and seemed to have
no visible means of support. His work at the museum and the relationship with the woman
continued until he awoke in his hotel room 3 weeks later with no memory of how
he had gotten there.
Dennis is a 28-year-old single man who works the evening shift in the
packaging division of a large company. His
fellow workers consider him to be an “odd bird” who is generally suspicious,
distant, displays few emotions, and has little to do with his associates.
Dennis periodically announces that he know the other workers are talking
about him and attacking his reputation as a good worker.
He frequently interprets their casual comments as insults and is
persistently resentful of their behavior. When
the foreman asks for details about his accusations, he cannot or will not be
specific, other than to say that he cannot trust his co-workers.
Dennis has few friends in the
factory because of his accusations and other unusual behavior.
He is always anxious and remains suspicious and unforgiving of the other
workers no matter how well he knows them. During
breaks he sits alone at a table in the corner of the lunchroom with his back to
the wall. Dennis is an intelligent
and efficient worker and the factory management feels he is worth keeping as an
employee despite his unusual behavior.