Diagnostic Emotional
Disturbances Checklist

Diagnostic Emotional Disturbances Information to help you determine if an evaluation is appropriate.

Many people struggle with undiagnosed emotional issues. Their undiagnosed disability could be holding them back from enjoying the success and happiness they could otherwise achieve. This diagnostic emotional information can help get them on that path.

Understanding Bipolar e-book Explains the different types of bipolar disorder. Offers proven strategies to coping and living with bipolar disorder. Author was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2004.

Conquering Stress - Beat Stress, Depression and Anxiety Without Drugs Get natural relief from anxiety, depression and stress with program developed by former sufferer of stress, depression and anxiety.

My Out-Of-Control Child eBook Does your child have Oppositional Defiant Disorder? This is the online text version of the parent-program (read online or print out a hard copy from your printer), for working parents who can't attend the training program in person. Also includes online live audio recordings, Power Point Presentations and Videos.


Emotional disturbance
is also known as mental illness and can include depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia and many other conditions.

The Diagnostic Emotional material on this page is shared for informational purposes only. This is NOT for self-diagnostic purposes. A diagnosis of an emotional disturbance should ONLY be made by a qualified professional. Read through this information on emotional disturbances. If it is appropriate, you should seek evaluation and diagnosis by a qualified professional.

Many people avoid the topic of emotional issues and as a result, miss out on important diagnostic emotional information.

With that qualification, the following Diagnostic Emotional material is provided, again, for informational purposes only:

Diagnostic Signs - Emotional Disturbances:


"Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression is a different disorder than Major Depression or Dysthymia. It is usually characterized by mood swings from high to low, although some forms may involve only one of these extremes.

How Do You Know if You Have Manic-Depression?
Bipolar disorder or manic-depression is manifested by highs and lows. When a patient is manic side, there is a persistent feeling of euphoria or irritability associated with lack of need for sleep, excessive energy, agitation, fast and loud speech, increase in goal-directed activities such as spending sprees and establishing businesses with no appropriate plan, and hypersexuality. Patients with this disorder develop poor judgment and impulsivity."

Bipolar reference information from Mental Health About.com


There are several types of depression. One type is Major Depressive Disorder.

Major Depressive Disorder
By Nancy Schimelpfening
, About.com Guide
Updated November 10, 2009

"According to the DSM-IV, a person who suffers from major depressive disorder must either have a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities consistently for at least a two week period. This mood must represent a change from the person's normal mood; social, occupational, educational or other important functioning must also be negatively impaired by the change in mood. A depressed mood caused by substances (such as drugs, alcohol, medications) or which is part of a general medical condition is not considered to be major depressive disorder.
Major depressive disorder cannot be diagnosed if a person has a history of manic, hypomanic, or mixed episodes (e.g., a bipolar disorder) or if the depressed mood is better accounted for by schizoaffective disorder and is not superimposed on schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder or psychotic disorder. Further, the symptoms are not better accounted for by bereavement (i.e., after the loss of a loved one) and the symptoms persist for longer than two months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.
This disorder is characterized by the presence of the majority of these symptoms:
• Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). (In children and adolescents, this may be characterized as an irritable mood.)
• Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day
• Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5 of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
• Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
• Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day
• Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
• Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
• Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day
• Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
Source:American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. 4th edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 1994."

Depression Information from About.com

Depression Reference from About.com


What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?What is it? Who is Affected? Who is at Risk?By Owen Kelly, Ph.D., About.com GuideUpdated March 01, 2010

"What is OCD?
At one time or another, we've all double-checked that we locked the front door, "knocked on wood" to ward off certain disaster, or had a strange or even disturbing thought pop into our head from out of the blue. While most people continue about their daily routine without giving these experiences a second thought, if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), these kinds of occurrences can become both distressing and debilitating.OCD is considered an anxiety disorder, as people affected by this mental illness experience severe anxiety as the result of obsessive thoughts. Often, extensive rituals are undertaken in an attempt to reduce the anxiety caused by obsessions.
• More About Anxiety Disorders
Symptoms of OCD
Obsessions are thoughts, images, or ideas that won't go away, are unwanted, and are extremely distressing or worrying ("What if I become infected with a deadly disease?" or "What if I molest a child or murder my partner?"). Compulsions are behaviors that have to be done over and over again to relieve anxiety. Compulsions are often related to obsessions. For example, if you are obsessed with being contaminated, you might feel compelled to wash your hands repeatedly. However, this is not always the case."

Sources:American Psychiatric Association. "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th ed., text revision" 2000. Washington, DC: Author.Pauls, David. "The genetics of obsessive compulsive disorder: a review of the evidence."American Journal of Medical Genetics April 15 2008, 148: 133-139. 01 September 2008.Rachman, Stanley. "Obsessions, responsibility and guilt." Behaviour Research and Therapy February 1993, 31:149-154. 01 September 2008.Saxena, Sanjaya, and Rauch, Scott. "Functional neuroimaging and the neuroanatomy of obsessive-compulsive disorder". Psychiatric Clinics of North America September 1 2000, 23: 563-586. 01 September 2008.

OCD Information from About.com


What is Schizophrenia?
Basic Information About Schizophrenia

From Catherine Harrison, PhD, former About.com GuideUpdated November 29, 2007

Some people confuse schizophrenia with “split personality,” a popular term for multiple personality disorder (MPD), in which a person appears to have more than one distinct identity.

Schizophrenia is completely unrelated to MPD. MPD does not respond to medication and is usually treated by talk therapy to re-integrate the separate personalities.

Schizophrenia, on the other hand, involves a breakdown of the normal integration of different functions of the brain. Schizophrenia responds well to medications that treat the underlying chemical imbalances. Schizophrenia is treated with antipsychotic medications, combined with psychosocial therapies and social supports.

It can be difficult to diagnose schizophrenia, because there is no one, single symptom that is always present in schizophrenia and never present in another illness. However, there are some symptoms that strongly suggest a person may have schizophrenia, such as:

• Hearing voices that talk about the person, or talk to each other
• Feeling that people are reading or controlling one’s thoughts
• Feelings of being plotted against

Research continues to look for a cure for schizophrenia, but until then most people with schizophrenia must take medications for the rest of their lives in order to control their symptoms.

Schizophrenia Information from About.com

This Diagnostic Emotional information is designed to help people get started in the right direction. This diagnostic emotional material is provided for informational purposes only on diagnostic emotional issues, and does not constitute medical advice. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. This diagnostic emotional information is but one component in your determination of whether professional medical advice should be obtained. Professional medical advice should be sought whenever appropriate.

Return to Diagnostic Checklists from Diagnostic Emotional

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