Chapter 2
Page 8

Diagnoses of Mental Health Disorders

Before prescribing psychotropic medications for a child, the psychiatrist will give the child a diagnosis using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM). The DSM is used to evaluate a person in 5 areas called axes.

AXIS I: Clinical Disorders: Clinical disorders, such as as Major Depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attachment Disorder, Learning Disability, Pervasive Developmental Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder

AXIS II: Personality Disorder: Personality Disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder

AXIS III: General Medical Conditions: Physical health conditions, such as Asthma, Diabetes, Fetal Alcoholism Spectrum Disorder

AXIS IV: Psychosocial and Environmental Problems: Factors that describe a person's life circumstances, such as child abuse, placement disruptions, problems getting along with peers and problems in school

AXIS V: Global Assessment of Functioning Scale: This scale assesses how a person is functioning in all areas of his or her life. For children under 18 years, this scale measures how the child is functioning in his or her family, with peers and in school. The scale goes from 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest score.

If the caregiver or medical consenter needs help understanding the diagnosis, they should talk with the medical provider.