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June 30, 2013

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

HealthForumOnline (HFO) has recently updated Medical Masquerade: Psychological Disorders and Medical Illnesses, one of over 80 online CE courses available in HFO's library of nationally-approved online CE courses for mental health professionals. Hidden, yet central, medical illnesses and medication side effects which mimic psychological disorders can go undetected and untreated. To facilitate a more informed diagnosis and targeted intervention this online CE 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.

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) June 30, 2013 – HealthForumOnline (HFO), a nationally-approved (APA, ASWB, NBCC, CA-BBS) provider of online continuing education (CE) for psychologists, social workers, counselors, and other allied healthcare professionals announces recent updates to Medical Masquerade: Psychological Disorders and Medical Illnesses, a popular online CE course from their extensive online CE resource library by Dr. Patricia A. Farrell.

Dr. Farrell is a clinical psychologist who 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.

Dr. Farrell notes that 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 these “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. 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 recently updated online CE 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.

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 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.