AP Psychology Homework: Diagnostic I


Name: ___________________________________


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.)

1.                  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.

Diagnostic Group: ___________________________________________

Specific Diagnosis: __________________________________________

2.                  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.

Diagnostic Group: ____________________________________________

Specific Diagnosis:____________________________________________

3.                  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.”

Diagnostic Group: ____________________________________________

Specific Diagnosis: ___________________________________________

4.                  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.

Diagnostic Group: _____________________________________________

Specific Diagnosis: ____________________________________________

5.                  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.

Diagnostic Group: ______________________________________________

Specific Diagnosis:______________________________________________

6.                  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.

Diagnostic Group: _____________________________________________

Specific Diagnosis_____________________________________________

7.                  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 hypertension. 

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.” 

Diagnostic Group: ______________________________________________ 

Specific Diagnosis: ______________________________________________

8.                  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.

Diagnostic Group: _______________________________________________

Specific Diagnosis: _____________________________________________

9.                  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 the basement.

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.

Diagnostic Group: ______________________________________________

Specific Diagnosis: _____________________________________________

10.              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.

Diagnostic Group: _______________________________________________

                  Specific Diagnosis: ________________________________________


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