Differentiating Between Mental And Physical Health Problems

Perhaps the issue which has received the most attention in the literature concerns the differentiation between mental and physical health. Many mental health scales include physical symptoms, which may be relatively uncommon in younger populations and indicative of psychological distress. However, in older populations, with their greater incidence of chronic health problems, such instruments may yield very high rates of false positives. Further, mental health problems often have physiological concomitants, and physical health problems can affect psychological states. Obviously, identifying the primary source of the symptoms is crucial in determining treatment options, although sometimes the only way in which to determine the precise etiology for a particular illness is to test different treatments. However, there are critical issues in differentiating anxiety, depression, and psychoses from a variety of physical health problems.

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