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Minerva Psichiatrica 2006 June;47(2):115-27


language: Italian

Making a diagnosis in liaison psychiatry: nosographic criteria and open questions

Bellino S., Fenocchio M., Paradiso E., Zizza M., Bogetto F.

Sezione di Psichiatria Dipartimento di Neuroscienze Università degli Studi di Torino, Torino


Liaison psychiatry is an intervention integrating psychiatry with other branches of medicine. In liaison psychiatry a diagnosis can be made by using the same criteria and instruments of general psychiatry, particularly clinical interview, that allows to perform anamnesis and assessment of psychic functions. The diagnosis can be confirmed by specific tests and rating scales. In liaison psychiatry diagnoses that can be made according to DSM-IV are: mental disorder in comorbidity with general medical conditions, mental disorder due to a general medical condition, adjustment disorder and somatoform disorders. The presence of a mental disorder can have a negative influence on the outcome of the organic disease. Thus, assessing and treating psychiatric symptoms is needed to improve the course of somatic illness. Subsyndromal symptoms are important too, because of the effects on outcome and the patient’s risk for developing the complete picture of a psychiatric disorder. Therefore, the cooperation of psychiatrists with other colleagues is very important: the benefit of a preliminary psychic evaluation in settings of aesthetic surgery and organ transplantation has been considered with the aim to exclude psychopathological conditions that could affect the surgical outcome. Moreover, authors notice the benefit of cooperation between psychiatrists and general practitioners. We underline that the role of psychiatrists is significant in several clinical settings to make a diagnosis of psychiatric symptoms or disorders in patients with somatic illness. Psychia-trists can contribute to define diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and warrant a cooperation with medical team, that is necessary to improve the relationship with patients and their families.

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