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December 6, 2010

HealthForumOnline Adds Online Continuing Education Course on Differential Diagnosis for Medical Disorders with Presenting Psychological Symptoms

HealthForumOnline (HFO) has added a new online continuing education (CE/CEU) course entitled Medical Masquerade: Psychological Disorders and Medical Illnesses to their growing library of nationally-approved CE/CEU courses for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and nurses. Health professionals are often focused on alleviating a patient's presenting symptoms without the benefit of true coordination of care among an interdisciplinary team of health professionals. As such, there are times when hidden, yet central, medical illnesses and medication side effects which mimic psychological disorders can go undetected and untreated.  To facilitate a more informed diagnostic process and targeted intervention this online CE/CEU course discusses medical illnesses and their associated medication side effects that can "masquerade" as psychological disorders within several relevant disease models such as endocrine disorders, cancer, pulmonary ailments, cerebral/neurologic dysfunction, cardiovascular disorders, sleep disorders, immune system conditions, metabolic disorders, hematologic disorders, vitamin/mineral disorders, and infections.  HFO’s CE/CEU courses are theory- and evidence-based and are fast, convenient and especially cost-effective as health professionals have free ongoing access to course updates beyond completion of the CE activity.

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) December 6, 2010 -- HealthForumOnline (HFO), a nationally-approved (APA, ASWB, NBCC, PSNA, CA-BBS) provider of online continuing education (CE) for psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses and other allied healthcare professionals announces the addition of  a new online CE/CEU course, Medical Masquerade: Psychological Disorders and Medical Illnesses to their extensive online CE resource library by the nationally-renowned author, lecturer and clinical psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell.

At first glance, diagnosing psychiatric and psychological disorders may seem like a straightforward process, with the art of it expressed in making the correct differential diagnosis among DSM-defined mental disorders. However, when you consider that many medical diagnoses, particularly those involving the central nervous system (CNS), immune system, and/or causal factors related to disturbances of the endocrine or metabolic systems, have psychiatric components, the diagnostic process suddenly becomes much more complex. Specifically, the presence of an undetected medical illnesses or an insufficient examination into the possibility that a medical illness either exists or is contributing to the psychological symptoms that are salient in the patient's initial presentation may result in an inappropriate or missed diagnosis by the mental health practitioner. In addition, the medications often associated with the aforementioned conditions may have side effects that are of a psychiatric nature and/or when multiple medications are taken, as is common among geriatric patients, the interaction effect can lead to the development of delusions, hallucinations, sleep disturbances, cognitive impairment and other changes in mental status.

“As the incidence of medical mimics of psychiatric disorders is high and certain patients are particularly vulnerable, clinicians should rule out these medical conditions before making a purely psychiatric diagnosis,” notes Dr. Farrell. She adds that “diagnostic accuracy will not only allow for optimal treatment planning and outcome expectations for both the clinician and the patient, but will also enable the clinician to avoid the legal and ethical issues that may arise in caring for patients who have medical illnesses that mimic psychiatric disorders.”

Toward this end, Dr. Farrell’s new online CE/CEU course presents a more thorough understanding of the interplay of medical and psychiatric disorders. It progresses from a discussion of the prevalence of these disorders, provides ways to improve diagnostic assessments, outlines 9 psychological/psychiatric tests for mental status, mood, anxiety and psychosis, includes an overview of medical illnesses that may have psychiatric symptoms, and an outline of major categories of these medical illnesses with relevant statistics on the incidence of the illnesses and the usual age groups affected. Familiarity with the psychological assessments will enable the clinician to most accurately make the appropriate diagnosis which will guide the subsequent treatment.

This is the third continuing education course that Dr. Farrell has authored for HealthForumOnline. Formerly a medical consultant for disability determinations, and an educator at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as an instructor for medical students, Dr. Farrell’s two other online CE courses are related to Social Security Disability (SSD) report writing for mental health professionals]; one focusing on adults and one focusing on children. In addition, Dr. Farrell has appeared regularly on such national TV shows as The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, Court TV, CNN, E! Entertainment, Anderson Cooper 360, National Geographic, MSNBC, ABC World News, The O’Reilly Factor, Inside Edition, VH1, and Fox & Friends. She has been interviewed by national publications including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Constitution, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Working Women, Self, Real Simple, Men's Health, and Life and Style. She is currently the WebMD moderator for the Anxiety/Panic Board and has recently written two books, How to Be Your Own Therapist: A step-by-step guide to taking back your life and It’s Not All in Your Head: Anxiety, Depression, Mood Swings, and Multiple Sclerosis, published by Demos Health.

Psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses and other allied health professionals can chose from HFO’s 19 categories of continuing education (CE) topics related to health psychology and behavioral medicine (i.e., ethics, cancer adaptation, women’s health, cultural diversity, eating disorders, reproduction/sexuality, aging/gerontology, pediatric behavioral medicine, assessment, chemical dependency, chronic/acute illness, clinical intervention, group therapy, infectious disease, long-term care, neuropsychology, pain management, spirituality, LGBT issues) containing 70 online CE courses that are fast, convenient and cost-effective. All HFO CE courses and supporting materials are available online or as downloadable, transportable PDFs. Participants print their own CE certificates. Lastly, HFO routinely updates our online CE courses, notifies customers of these updates and enables customers to review these updates for free online even after they have completed the CE activity and generated their CE certificate. 

For more information on this course or a complete listing of titles in our online CE resource library, visit HealthForumOnline.com.

About HealthForumOnline:

HealthForumOnline (HFO) is approved as a provider of CE courses by the American Psychological Association, the National Board of Certified Counselors, the Association of Social Work Boards, and several state professional organizations, including the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation, and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. HFO's CE Program's Advisory Committee and authors are comprised of over 60 nationally-recognized experts in behavioral medicine.