Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Miscellaneous Essay on Medical Topic:
Differential Diagnosis

Recently I was asked about some of the challenges involved in psychiatric diagnosis of adolescents.  This turns out to be a difficult topic.  Firstly, psychiatric diagnosis is an arcane practice, shrouded in obscurity.  Secondly, adolescents can be rather obscure themselves. 

In order to understand the topic fully, it is necessary to start at the beginning.  That means ancient Greece.  The term diagnosis comes from the Greek roots diagignoskein "discern, distinguish;" and gignoskein "to learn."  Thus, a diagnosis is established when the doctor learns the distinctionbetween the disease that the patient has, and other, similar diseases that might present the same clinical picture.  This post is not a general-interest kind of thing.  In fact, it is kind of boring.  The entire text is on The Rest of the Story