Diagnosing Using the DSM
Assessment 2 Instructions:
Diagnosing Using the DSM
Write a 5–6 page assessment in which you identify disorders in three case
vignettes based on DSM criteria. Select one of the cases to present evidence–
based treatment recommendations, and support your recommendations with
findings from research.
For both children and adults, the exact diagnosis and treatment will vary
depending on how long after the event symptoms appeared and what those
symptoms are. However, timeliness and preciseness of the diagnosis is of
utmost importance. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is a tool used to
diagnose and treat disorders.
For example, determining when anxiety is so severe that it constitutes a disorder
will depend on several factors, including:
• Other causes of anxiety are not identified. The anxiety is not caused by a medical
problem, or drug or substance abuse
• The anxiety is distressing
• The anxiety interferes with daily functioning
• The anxiety does not stop on its own with a few days
Traumatic life events are not always as extreme as those that occur in a war, but
these events are often associated with psychiatric disorders. Trauma–and
stressor–related disorders now fall under the trauma umbrella and include
posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reactive attachment disorder, disinhibited
social engagement disorder, acute stress disorder, and adjustment disorders.
Sadly, children are too often exposed to traumatic events and lack the coping
skills to deal with them. Violence, abuse, accidents, natural disasters, and
serious illness are all traumatic events children experience. With the DSM, both
children and adults can receive the proper treatment necessary to continue being
functional members in society.
The DSM is a classification manual used by professionals in the field of
psychology. For this assessment, you will diagnose three clients. Read the
vignettes for each client in the Case Study Vignettes. In your paper, for each client,
• The diagnosis, discussing each criterion the client fits and does not fit for that
diagnosis from the DSM–5 (which you should cite).
Select one of the clients and in a separate, final section of the paper,
complete the following:
• Analyze two recommended treatments for the client and explain why they
would be recommended (one or both of these treatments should come from a
current peer–reviewed journal article).
• Support your analysis with a peer–reviewed journal article about the
diagnosis you chose for this client.
• How well does the article’s discussion of the diagnosis compare to the behaviors the
• As a professional in the field of psychology, how would you use the information
from the article to inform your professional behavior?
• Title page: Include your name, course, date, and faculty.
• References: DSM–5 and two or more peer–reviewed journal articles.
• Written communication: Written communication is free of errors that detract from
the overall message.
• APA formatting: Resources and citations are formatted according to APA style and
• Length of paper: 5–6 typed, double–spaced pages.
• Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your
proficiency in the following course competencies:
• Competency 2: Analyze research findings from within the field of abnormal
o Apply research findings from the professional literature to support the analysis of
• Competency 3: Apply the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders (DSM) to psychological disorders.
o Identify the appropriate diagnosis from the DSM for each client.
o Assess how each client evidences the criteria of the given diagnosis.
• Competency 4: Apply psychological theory and research in abnormal psychology to
inform professional behavior.
o Assess how research findings inform professional behavior.
• Competency 5: Analyze treatment of psychological disorders.
o Analyze two treatments for one of the psychological disorders.
• Competency 6: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and
consistent with expectations for professionals in the field of psychology.
o Use well–developed written communication by writing in a manner that is generally
concise, logically organized, and utilizes correct punctuation, spelling, grammar, and
o Apply scholarly writing skills and use proper APA formatting and style in all papers
and reference lists.
Case Study Vignettes
Anxiety, Trauma, Stressor, and Obsessive Compulsive Related Disorders
Fred was raised in Houston. His father and mother were both successful realtors. He is the middle of three brothers, who remain close. He remembers, “We never wanted for anything.” Fred was an A student in high school and college and a top athlete. He completed medical school and now practices as an anesthesiologist at a local hospital.
Fred experienced some emotional distress a number of years ago as he considered coming out and letting his family know he is homosexual. His father initially struggled with the news but came to accept it. Fred’s father is quite amiable towards Fred’s partner. Fred’s oldest brother was nonplussed by the news. Fred and his partner are welcomed in his brother’s home. Fred’s mother’s response was “I don’t believe it. Please never mention this again.” The youngest brother’s response was to accuse Fred of hurting mom.
Fred has again been experiencing emotional distress this past year as he and his partner discuss the idea of either marrying or having a commitment ceremony. Fred is certain that he wants to do this but struggles with the question of what to tell family members and whether to even invite his mother and youngest brother.
In this context Fred complains of daily panic attacks. These generally occur when he is getting ready for work or near the end of the work day. The panic attacks started several weeks after Fred was robbed at gunpoint at a subway station. This occurred four months ago. He stated he does not think he was particularly affected by the attack but wonders because the panic attacks started soon after. Following the attack, Fred decided he is not going to use the subway anymore because it is too dangerous. Fred has been commuting by bicycle even though it is often difficult to negotiate the city streets by bike.
Fred reports that there is no mental illness that he is aware of in his immediate family. He strongly suspects that his mother’s father was an alcoholic because he remembers his grandfather smelling of alcohol during his (Fred’s) childhood and because his mother refuses to have any alcohol in her home.
Phil is 20. He comes in because he is “stressed” now that he is not working. Phil reports that his first job was at a restaurant, but he quit because it was “too messy.” After work he would shower for hours to get the food smells out of his hair. Even after showering he would feel greasy and dirty. He next found work at a clothing store. Phil reports that he was initially very well regarded by his boss at the clothing store at which he worked. He worked hard, always making sure displays were orderly and the clothes were perfectly folded and arranged in order by size. His boss so appreciated the attention that he took with the displays that she made him the assistant manager and put him in charge of the other employees. She was relieved that she had a second in command so that she could leave the store under his supervision.
However, the boss soon became frustrated with Phil. He did little to help manage the employees or problem-solve difficulties. He did not seem able to field customer complaints. He did a poor job on some of the managerial tasks assigned to him. But he did continue to neatly fold the clothes and arrange them by size, even after the boss told him he should delegate this to another employee so he could focus on his role. After several warnings about this, Phil was eventually terminated.
Phil reported he had been married for a year but his wife left him because she found him controlling. He is not sure what this means but notes that they often argued because he got frustrated that she did not put things away where they belonged. She would especially get upset because he would try to clean up the kitchen when she was cooking, so “things wouldn’t get too messy.”
Stacey is 35 years old and lives alone. Stacey was married when she was 20 and was married for 4 years. The couple did not have any children. Stacey’s mother describes that Stacey was shy when she was little and tended to play alone with her dolls and stuffed animals. She had a brother who was ten years older than her. The family lived in the country and had a lot of pets and other animals, such as horses and chickens. Stacey loved the animals and was good at helping to care for them.
Stacey had a close childhood friend named Anna who she met in the first grade. The two girls would sometimes get to play at each other’s houses and sometimes would spend the night. When they were in the fourth grade, Anna’s family moved out of state. Stacey was small for her age and wore glasses. She became a target for other kids to make fun.
Following Stacey’s divorce, she became more reclusive. Stacey’s former husband, Chad, was critical of Stacey and left because in his words she “was a doormat with no personality.” She currently maintains a job as a cashier at a local grocery store. She has worked there for seven years and her employers are happy with her performance. She is highly accurate and efficient at her job. When she is off of work, she tends to stay home alone with her pets.
Four years ago Stacey enrolled in college thinking she might like to become a nurse. Several of her classes required her to give presentations in front of the class, and Stacey described that she was “paralyzed with fear” in thinking about public speaking. She was afraid she would not be able to get through her speech and that her classmates and teachers would make fun of her. She dropped those classes, and therefore was unable to move forward in her education.
Stacey says that she is content with her job and with living alone with her pets. She has three dogs, two cats, and several birds. All of the pets came to her through a pet rescue agency. She states that pets are accepting and loving and don’t criticize.