The Medical History
The medical history is part of any complete evaluation for emotional and/or behavioral problems. The substantial progress of neuroscience research during the past several decades has provided substantial evidence for the conclusion that some psychiatric disorders are the result of abnormal brain mechanisms. This potentially places psychiatric disorders on the same level as medical disorders: that is, having a physical or biological (i.e., organic) etiology. The medical basis of psychiatric disorders, as well as other potential relations between medical illness, treatments for medical illness, and behavioral/emotional disorders, further underscores the importance of the medical history in an assessment interview. A substantial literature supports the principle that preexisting or concurrent medical problems affect psychological functioning, and vice versa. Medical history information becomes critical in developing a comprehensive understanding of a client's life circumstances and psychosocial functioning.