Why We Need Psychiatry

In a psychiatry tutorial, we learned just how focussed we are on physical symptoms (I don’t think that was its goal, but I learned it in anycase).

Students had to act out certain psychiatric symptoms, while the other students guessed.

One student was being “interviewed”, rattled off a few sentences, and then abruptly stopped:

Someone shouted: ABSENCE SEIZURE!

The real answer was “thought blocking”.

Another student scratches wildly at his arms, informing the doctor that he think he has lice under his skin.

Someone shouts: PRURITIS!

The real answer is formication (not to be confused with fornication).

At any rate, it’s not a wonder that psychiatric conditions are so often misdiagnosed. The great impersonator, indeed.


  1. So true. I relative of mine received a preliminary diagnosis of MS- turned out it was an anxiety attack/minor nervous breakdown.

    1. o.O go figure – we’re taught to put psychiatric options on the differential diagnosis for MS.

  2. MazelTov2U says:

    I’m not a medical student..but i don’t think pruritus is one kind of the psychiatric symptoms..or maybe that student was just kidding…lol…

    1. Neither are absence seizures – that’s why it was so funny 😛

  3. voyagesista says:

    Generally, absence seizures involve a person stopping what they were doing, gazing off in space then resuming their activity as if they never stopped.

    On the flip side though, I’ve seen patients misdiagnosed with anxiety/depression when they actually had a possibly life threatening condition.

    1. Yep, that’s why we thought it was hilarious.
      That happens. The great pretenders, or the hidden diseases. The prospect of missing it gives me nightmares.
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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