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Child and Adolescent Mental-Health Disorders  

Susan Frauenholtz and Amy Mendenhall

Mental-health disorders are widely prevalent in children and adolescents, and social workers are the primary service providers for children and families experiencing these disorders. This entry provides an overview of some of the most commonly seen disorders in children and adolescents: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and specific learning disorders. The prevalence, course, diagnostic criteria, assessment guidelines, and treatment interventions are reviewed for each disorder. In addition, the key role of social workers in the identification and intervention of these disorders, as well as ways social workers can support the children and families experiencing these disorders, is discussed.


Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Mood Disorders  

Karen Kyeunghae Lee

Depression and bipolar mood disorders are mental disorders that are characterized by mood disturbance combined with decreased functioning of the affected individuals. This entry focuses on major depressive disorder and bipolar I and II disorders among adults in the United States. Bipolar disorder has unique clinical features and intervention options, and so it is discussed in a separate section after depression. Diagnosis, prevalence, comorbidity, risk factors, course, assessment, treatment, service utilization, and international perspectives are reviewed for each disorder. The implications for social work are briefly addressed at the end of this entry.


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders  

Janet B. W. Williams and Michael First

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association is referred to as DSM-5 ™ . DSM-5’s early predecessor, DSM-III, differed considerably from the first two editions. Its innovative incorporation of specified diagnostic criteria had a major impact on the field of mental health. In DSM-5, these criteria have been further updated to reflect the important gains in our understanding of mental disorders.



Catheleen Jordan and Cynthia Franklin

Assessment is an ongoing process of data collection aimed at identifying client strengths and problems. Early assessment models were based on psychoanalytic theory; however, current assessment is based on brief, evidence-based practice models. Both quantitative and qualitative methods may be used to create an integrative skills approach that links assessment to intervention. Specifically, assessment guides treatment planning, as well as informs intervention selection and monitoring.


Dissociative Identity Disorder  

Gregory L. Nooney

Individuals with the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder (DID) developed a myriad of methods, including the creation of an intricate inner world of alternate identities, or alters, to creatively survive the devastating effects of early childhood trauma and attachment wounds. Unfortunately, a belief in its rarity even by mental health professionals, the perceived difficulty in diagnosing and treating dissociation, and a fear of the unknown have resulted in DID’s being underdiagnosed. The result has been that many with this condition have been ineffectively treated for co-occurring disorders and have been inaccurately perceived as resistive to treatment. Detailed methods of diagnosing DID, specific steps to help stabilize clients with DID, and in-depth trauma-specific protocols are summarized, along with ways to minimize the elevated risks of compassion fatigue and countertransference in working with this population.


Pomeroy, Elizabeth  

Diana M. DiNitto and Lori K. Holleran Steiker

Elizabeth C. (Beth) Pomeroy, PhD, was a social work practitioner, educator, and researcher known for her work on social work assessment, diagnosis of mental disorders, and practice in the areas of grief and loss, HIV/AIDS, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.


Richmond, Mary Ellen  

John F. Longres

Mary Ellen Richmond (1861–1928) formulated the first comprehensive statement of direct social work practice principles. She founded the Public Charities Association, the juvenile court, and the Housing Association, and helped to develop teaching materials for Charity Organization Societies nationwide.


Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders  

Concepcion Barrio, Mercedes Hernandez, Paula Helu Fernandez, and Judith A. DeBonis

Social workers in health and mental health and across public and private health sectors are expected to be knowledgeable of comprehensive approaches to effectively serve individuals dealing with psychotic disorders, including family members involved in their care. Effective services require expertise in assessment, diagnostics, treatment planning, and coordination of community support services. This article provides a knowledge base for social work practitioners working with clients challenged by the experience and consequences of serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. We begin by reviewing the public health significance of these disorders, clinical phenomenology and its historical context, and symptoms and classification. We then discuss the family and cultural context, evidence-based treatments, and several social and clinical issues that social work practitioners should be aware of when working with this client population.