The long awaited EASY Diagnostic System for DSM-5 with ICD-10 codes is now available! Click here
As mental health professionals, we have a medical. ethical and legal obligation to screen all new patients systematically and accurately for a broad range of disorders, to assign the diagnoses according to the latest DSM criteria, and to record the diagnoses in the chart. But this is virtually impossible from a practical perspective. For example, one of the most widely used structured diagnostic interviews can take up to three or four hours, or more. In addition, structured interviews can be exceptionally frustrating due to the dichotomous nature, and the arbitrary cut-off points, for many of the diagnostic criteria.
As a result, most therapists simply scribble some plausible diagnosis in the chart, such as “depression.” Sometimes you can get away with this, but you may set yourself up for legal or clinical problems down the road if you don’t do a comprehensive diagnostic assessment and document your findings in the chart. For example, patients with diagnoses such as Borderline, Narcissistic, or Paranoid Personality Disorder, may be clinically challenging or litigious, and many patients may have violent or suicidal urges you are not aware of, to say nothing of the predictable clinical problems associated with undiagnosed alcohol or drug abuse, or the patient’s hidden desires to maintain symptoms in order to obtain disability or win a lawsuit.
What’s the solution to this problem?
Over the past ten years, I have been developing, refining, and validating the EASY Diagnostic System. Patients can complete the Diagnostic Survey on their own at home between sessions or in the waiting room in 30 to 45 minutes. Then you can quickly review the scores during a therapy session and tick off the pre-coded diagnoses on the Diagnostic Summary Sheet in one of three categories: Unlikely, Possible, or Probable. In addition, you will automatically document the severity of the symptoms as Mild, Moderate, or Severe, since all disorders are assessed with highly reliable, dimensional scales. In most cases, you can complete the diagnostic interview in 5 to 10 minutes, and you can keep all the information in the patient’s chart for outstanding documentation.
This diagnostic system is comprehensive, quick and easy, and will provide you with a wealth of interesting and vitally important information, much of which you would not otherwise be aware of. The Diagnostic Survey includes highly reliable screening instruments for more than 60 of the most common disorders, including—
- Many of the Relational Disorders: plus Anger Toward Self, Anger Toward Others, Violent Urges, and Relationship Satisfaction Scale
- Mood Disorders: Major Depression, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar I and II Disorder, Cyclothymic Disorder
- Anxiety Disorders: GAD, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Phobias, and the five types of Social Anxiety
- Obsessions and Compulsions: OCD, Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Stress and Trauma-Related Disorders: Adjustment Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, PTSD
- Somatic Disorders: Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD), SSD with Predominant Pain
- Habits and Addictions: Gambling, Drug and/or Alcohol Misuse Disorder, plus the new Cravings and Urges to Use scale
- Eating Disorders: Binge Eating Disorder, Bulimia (Purging and Restricting types), Anorexia
- Dissociative Disorders: Dissociative Identity Disorder
- All 10 Personality Disorders: including Clusters A, B, and C with all specific disorders
You’ll also find a number of interesting sub-scales, such as the ultra-short, extraordinarily accurate Pain Scale. The screening for Dependent PD includes sub-scales for Neediness, Conflict Phobia, and the Fear of Being Alone, scales that can help to focus and direct the therapy. The EASY Diagnostic Survey includes a superb motivational assessment (the Willingness Scale) that accurately predicts which depressed patients will respond rapidly, and which ones will resist any form of treatment if the motivational issues are not skillfully addressed. You’ll also find screening for suicidal and violent urges, as well as an assessment of the patient’s honesty and openness in filling out the survey.
Included is the EASY Diagnostic Guidebook with tips on how to assign diagnoses according to DSM-5 criteria, along with a table listing the reliabilities of the screening instruments, and other useful tools such as the Suicidal Urges Screening Interview.