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Assessing and Diagnosing Patients With Anxiety Disorders, PTSD, and OCD

(The comprehensive evaluation is typically the initial new patient evaluation. You will practice writing this type of note in this course. You will be ruling out other mental illnesses so often you will write up what symptoms are present and what symptoms are not present from illnesses to demonstrate you have indeed assessed for all illnesses which could be impacting your patient. For example, anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, bipolar symptoms, psychosis symptoms, substance use, etc.)
CC (chief complaint): A brief statement identifying why the patient is here. This statement is verbatim of the patient’s own words about why presenting for assessment. For a patient with dementia or other cognitive deficits, this statement can be obtained from a family member.
HPI: Begin this section with patient’s initials, age, race, gender, purpose of evaluation, current medication and referral reason. For example:
N.M. is a 34-year-old Asian male presents for psychiatric evaluation for anxiety. He is currently prescribed sertraline which he finds ineffective. His PCP referred him for evaluation and treatment.
Or
P.H., a 16-year-old Hispanic female, presents for psychiatric evaluation for concentration difficulty. She is not currently prescribed psychotropic medications. She is referred by her therapist for medication evaluation and treatment.
Then, this section continues with the symptom analysis for your note. Thorough documentation in this section is essential for patient care, coding, and billing analysis.
Paint a picture of what is wrong with the patient. This section contains the symptoms that is bringing the patient into your office. The symptoms onset, duration, frequency, severity, and impact. Your description here will guide your differential diagnoses. You are seeking symptoms that may align with many DSM-5 diagnoses, narrowing to what aligns with diagnostic criteria for mental health and substance use disorders.
Past Psychiatric History: This section documents the patient’s past treatments. Use the mnemonic Go Cha MP.
General Statement: Typically, this is a statement of the patients first treatment experience. For example: The patient entered treatment at the age of 10 with counseling for depression during her parents’ divorce. OR The patient entered treatment for detox at age 26 after abusing alcohol since age 13.
Caregivers are listed if applicable.
Hospitalizations: How many hospitalizations? When and where was last hospitalization? How many detox? How many residential treatments? When and where was last detox/residential treatment? Any history of suicidal or homicidal behaviors? Any history of self-harm behaviors?
Medication trials: What are the previous psychotropic medications the patient has tried and what was their reaction? Effective, Not Effective, Adverse Reaction? Some examples: Haloperidol (dystonic reaction), risperidone (hyperprolactinemia), olanzapine (effective, insurance wouldn’t pay for it)
Psychotherapy or Previous Psychiatric Diagnosis: This section can be completed one of two ways depending on what you want to capture to support the evaluation. First, does the patient know what type? Did they find psychotherapy helpful or not? Why? Second, what are the previous diagnosis for the client noted from previous treatments and other providers. Thirdly, you could document both.
Substance Use History: This section contains any history or current use of caffeine, nicotine, illicit substance (including marijuana), and alcohol. Include the daily amount of use and last known use. Include type of use such as inhales, snorts, IV, etc. Include any histories of withdrawal complications from tremors, Delirium Tremens, or seizures.
Family Psychiatric/Substance Use History: This section contains any family history of psychiatric illness, substance use illnesses, and family suicides. You may choose to use a genogram to depict this information. Be sure to include a reader’s key to your genogram or write up in narrative form.
Social History: This section may be lengthy if completing an evaluation for psychotherapy or shorter if completing an evaluation for psychopharmacology. However, at a minimum, please include:
Where patient was born, who raised the patient
Number of brothers/sisters (what order is the patient within siblings)
Who the patient currently lives with in a home? Are they single, married, divorced, widowed? How many children?
Educational Level
Hobbies:
Work History: currently working/profession, disabled, unemployed, retired?
Legal history: past hx, any current issues?
Trauma history: Any childhood or adult history of trauma?
Violence Hx: Concern or issues about safety (personal, home, community, sexual (current & historical)
Medical History: This section contains any illnesses, surgeries, include any hx of seizures, head injuries.
Current Medications: Include dosage, frequency, length of time used, and reason for use. Also include OTC or homeopathic products.
Allergies: Include medication, food, and environmental allergies separately. Provide a description of what the allergy is (e.g., angioedema, anaphylaxis). This will help determine a true reaction vs. intolerance.
Reproductive Hx: Menstrual history (date of LMP), Pregnant (yes or no), Nursing/lactating (yes or no), contraceptive use (method used), types of intercourse: oral, anal, vaginal, other, any sexual concerns
ROS: Cover all body systems that may help you include or rule out a differential diagnosis. Please note: THIS IS DIFFERENT from a physical examination!
You should list each system as follows: General: Head: EENT: etc. You should list these in bullet format and document the systems in order from head to toe.

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