Psychiatric conditions

Depressed mood often accompanies other psychiatric disorders. In elderly patients, distinguishing between depressive illness and dementia is a common dilemma, although sometimes they are present together. Both depressive and manic symptoms may occur in combination with symptoms of schizophrenia: schizo-affective disorder. Agitated depression and mixed depressive/anxiety neurosis are easily mistaken for pure anxiety states. Antisocial personality disorder may be confused with mania.

Substance misuse commonly coexists with mood disorders. Depression of mood can be secondary to alcoholism, due to the depressing effects of alcohol on the brain. Equally, patients with depression not infrequently attempt to self-medicate with alcohol; this is counterproductive, however, because the euphoriant effects of alcohol only last an hour or two, and are followed by a superadded lowering of the mood. Manic patients commonly abuse substances. Hence, all psychiatric assessments must include a record of the patient's pattern of substance use.

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