A 14-year-old boy is brought to the psychiatrist because for the past 15 months he has been irritable and depressed almost constantly. The boy notes that he has difficulty concentrating, and he has lost 5 lb during that time period without trying. He states that he feels as if he has always been depressed, and he feels hopeless about ever feeling better. He denies suicidal ideation or hallucinations. He is sleeping well and doing well in school, though his teachers have noticed that he does not seem to be able to concentrate as well as he had previously. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?
a. Major depression
b. Dysthymic disorder
c. Mood disorder secondary to a general medical condition
d. Normal adolescence
the answer is below…
The United States Medical Licensing Examination, or USMLE for short, is a three-part licensing examination that is required in order to receive a license to practice medicine within the United States.
The USMLE assesses a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, and to determine fundamental patient-centered skills that are important in health and disease and that constitute the basis of safe and effective patient care.Examination committees composed of medical educators and clinicians from across the United States and its territories prepare the examination materials each year.
This exam is designed by the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners to determine whether or not an individual understands and can apply the knowledge necessary to practice medicine safely and intelligently.
The USMLE is actually comprised of three different exams that are referred to as steps, which examine the individual’s knowledge of specific topics related to the field of medicine such as basic science, medical knowledge, medical skills, clinical science, and the application of all of these skills and areas of knowledge in the medical field.
All three steps of the USMLE include a series of computerized multiple-choice questions, but the format of the exam and the information covered in each multiple-choice section is different for each step of the USMLE. The USMLE Step II also has a clinical skills portion that examines an individual’s ability to work with real patients and the USMLE Step III has a computerized patient simulation portion in addition to the multiple-choice section of the exam. In order for an individual to receive a license to practice medicine, the individual must pass all three steps of the USMLE.
The correct answer is b; Dysthymic disorder.
This patient is suffering from a dysthymic disorder, characterized by an irritable or depressed mood for at least one year. (This patient is an adolescent–if he were an adult, the time requirement for the diagnosis of dysthymic would be two years.) The patient complains of difficulty concentrating and has had some weight loss. He also feels hopeless about ever not feeling depressed. However, he has no suicidal ideation or psychotic symptoms and no other vegetative symptoms. He is still doing well in school, a clue that the depression is probably not severe enough to rate a diagnosis of major depression, especially when combined with the length of time that this patient has been depressed and irritable.