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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Medical Masquerade: Psychological Disorders and Medical Illnesses

by Patricia A. Farrell, PhD 6 CE Credits

Mental health professionals and allied healthcare workers are often focused on alleviating a patient's presenting  symptoms without the benefit of true coordination of care among a 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 course will discuss 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.  Participants will gain greater insight into these disorders and some of the distinct characteristics which may provide clues to an underlying medical illness and/or to side effects of associated medications, expected or unusual, that may present in your practice as a perceived psychological disorder.


This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB CE clock hours (Diagnosis & Tx of Mental Dx's), and NYSED CE credit.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Overview: The Dilemma of Diagnosis
  • Understanding Prevalence
  • Improving Diagnostic Assessment: It’s a Two-Way Street
  • Psychological/Psychiatric Assessment Tools
  • Medical Illness and Psychiatric Symptoms
  • Autoimmune Disorders: Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus
  • Organic/Neurological Disorders
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Exposure to Infection and Virus
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Genetic Disorders: Huntington’s Disease & Wilson’s Disease
  • Toxic Exposure
  • Dietary Differences: Cultural and Individual
  • Special Considerations in Pediatric Patients
  • The Geriatric Patient: Be Prepared
  • Summary
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Articulate the clinical relevance and prevalence of “masked” medical disorders among patients with psychiatric disorders.
  • List over 20 medical disorders which commonly present with psychological symptoms and  may confound diagnosis.
  • Identify and clinically address Goldberg’s 4 “mistake categories” with regard to mental health diagnosis.
  • Recognize 9 evidence-based measures that assess common areas of psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety, and psychosis.
  • Distinguish issues that may be unique to 2 important populations, such as pediatric (e.g., PANDAs) and geriatric patients (e.g., delirium).