Monday, August 28, 2017

Into the DSM - Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder readily lends itself to close-call differential diagnosis questions and is a natural favorite for exam writers. A question may boil down to this: Is it schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder? Well, here are the criteria for schizoaffective disorder:

A. A major mood episode (MDD or manic) concurrent with Criterion A of schizophrenia*
B. Delusions or hallucinations for two or more weeks in the absence of a major mood episode.
C. Symptoms meet criteria for a major mood episode for the majority of the illness.
D. Not attributable to substance or another medical condition.

Bipolar type (that is, psychotic symptoms alongside--but not exclusively during--a manic episode).
Depressive type (same as a above, but with symptoms of MDD).

Remember that psychotic symptoms can be present within bipolar or depressive illness. They can also be present--with the absence of any major mood episodes--in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

That's a lot to have understood before facing down a question about mood/psychotic symptoms. But now you're that much closer to correctly answering a social work exam question on the topic.

For a lot more about schizoaffective disorder, try this long Wikipedia page:

*Here's Criterion A of schizophrenia, referenced above: Two or more of the following present most of the time for a month or more:
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech
  • Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
  • Negative symptoms (e.g., blank affect, avolition)

Monday, August 07, 2017

Theories and Methods - Reality Therapy

Reality therapy (RT) was developed in the 1960s by William Glasser. Glasser's view is that people suffer from the human condition rather than mental disorders. RT helps people focus on pursuing their needs, leaving aside discussion of symptoms, the past, and the unconscious--an enormous departure from other, traditional modes of psychotherapy. The focus is here-and-now problem solving and the "three Rs": realism, responsibility, right-and-wrong. In RT treatment, clients aim to identify what they need and develop a workable plan to achieve those ends. The therapist employs a patient, supportive non-judgmental stance.

This is just a quick summary (though probably sufficient for answering a social work exam question). Find much more about reality therapy at Wikipedia and the William Glasser Institute.