The diagnosis is based on the findings of cognitive abilities (intelligence) and adaptive skills tests (how a child functions in everyday activities). Cognitive testing is often administered by a psychologist. A test may also be used by a psychologist or developmental pediatrician to evaluate adaptive abilities. The American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual, known as the DSM-5, provides a list of symptoms that should be present for at least one year before being diagnosed with MR. The DSM-5 lists several specific disorders that can be diagnosed with MR including: mild intellectual disability (IQ 50-55), moderate intellectual disability (35-40), severe intellectual disability (20-34), and profound intellectual disability (below 20).
Mental retardation is not just a single number that describes someone's intelligence. It is also an assessment tool that helps doctors know what services should be provided to people with the condition.
People with mental retardation have difficulties learning new information and using their memories correctly. They may also have problems with reasoning and problem-solving skills. There are many different causes of mental retardation which include genetic factors, problems during pregnancy or birth, illness during childhood, head injuries, and drug abuse. Some forms of mental retardation are more common in certain groups of people such as males or minorities. Others are found in everyone affected. It is important to remember that not all people with mental retardation feel impaired.
Clinical psychologists (psychologists who treat mental illnesses and aberrant behavior) generally employ clinical testing to clarify diagnoses and analyze the degree and character of a person's or family's disturbances and dysfunction. They may also use psychological tests to measure an individual's cognitive ability or personality traits.
Psychologists use several different methods to diagnose psychiatric disorders. The first step in diagnosing any disorder is to determine if there are any physical causes for the symptoms experienced by the patient. If no physical cause can be found, then the psychologist must look to the patient's history of behavior and mental status changes to identify similarities and differences with other people. This form of diagnosis is called "clinical diagnosis." Psychologists may also conduct laboratory experiments on patients to see how their responses compare with controls groups of people without psychological problems.
How do psychologists study mental processes? Cognitive psychologists study mind functions such as thought, perception, emotion, memory, language, motivation, and judgment by measuring and analyzing how individuals respond to questions or perform tasks. They typically test people's knowledge of words, phrases, or concepts through interviews or questionnaires and then compare their results with those of control groups of people of similar age who have not been diagnosed with any psychological disorders. Cognitive psychologists also use brain imaging techniques such as fMRI to study mental processes.
A psychologist will diagnose a mental condition or problem and decide the best course of treatment for the patient. A psychologist frequently collaborates with a psychiatrist, who is also a medical practitioner and can prescribe medication if medication is considered to be essential for a patient's treatment. However, many psychologists do not prescribe medications.
Diagnosing mental conditions or problems requires experience and expertise. In addition to clinical observations, a psychologist may ask patients questions, review their records, and conduct psychological tests to determine the presence of a mental disorder. The psychologist may then work with the patient to develop a treatment plan that includes any necessary interventions such as counseling or medication.
Psychologists use various tools to diagnose patients. Psychological tests are used to measure a person's cognitive abilities, such as memory, reasoning, and perception. Patients often take these tests under controlled conditions in a laboratory setting by a psychologist who has been trained in their use. The results help identify areas of strength and weakness, which guides the therapist in selecting appropriate treatments.
In addition to testing, psychologists also make diagnoses based on their clinical observations of their patients. For example, a psychologist might note that a patient appears anxious during an appointment and refer him or her to counseling to address this issue. Or, a psychologist might notice that a patient exhibits certain symptoms of several disorders and connect him or her with other patients who have similar problems so that he or she can provide appropriate care.
A diagnosis can help you gain a better understanding of your condition. Fully exploring and comprehending what a diagnosis entails may be both powerful and informative. Unexplained actions can now be explained explicitly as a sign of a condition. This may be a big relief for an individual or a family, as well as a huge stress reducer.
Psychological disorders are often associated with severe consequences. For example, someone who has panic attacks might avoid situations where he or she could have a heart attack because they do not want to suffer through another episode. Those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder might waste time and energy engaging in repetitive behaviors without realizing it. They might wash their hands over and over again because they were told by a doctor that they had "dirty" hands. Such examples show how important it is to find a solution for the problem at hand.
Diagnosing a psychological disorder doesn't make things worse, it makes them better. Now that you know what a diagnosis means, you can take steps to get help if you need it. If you are already receiving treatment, then no action should be taken to remove your name from the list.