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Berlin, R.J. (1977). The British Journal of Psychiatry. CXXVI, 1975: Cross National Study of Diagnosis of the Mental Disorders: A Comparison of the Diagnosis of Elderly Psychiatric Patients Admitted to Mental Hospitals Serving Queens County, New York, and the Former Borough of Camberwell, London. J. R. M. Copeland, et. al., United Kingdom Team. B. J. Gurland, et al., United States Team. Pp. 11-20.. Psychoanal Q., 46:352-353.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The British Journal of Psychiatry. CXXVI, 1975: Cross National Study of Diagnosis of the Mental Disorders: A Comparison of the Diagnosis of Elderly Psychiatric Patients Admitted to Mental Hospitals Serving Queens County, New York, and the Former Borough of Camberwell, London. J. R. M. Copeland, et. al., United Kingdom Team. B. J. Gurland, et al., United States Team. Pp. 11-20.

(1977). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 46:352-353

The British Journal of Psychiatry. CXXVI, 1975: Cross National Study of Diagnosis of the Mental Disorders: A Comparison of the Diagnosis of Elderly Psychiatric Patients Admitted to Mental Hospitals Serving Queens County, New York, and the Former Borough of Camberwell, London. J. R. M. Copeland, et. al., United Kingdom Team. B. J. Gurland, et al., United States Team. Pp. 11-20.

Robert J. Berlin

This study compared the frequencies of various diagnoses of mental hospital patients over the age of sixty-five, "paying particular attention to the high frequency of organic and low frequency of functional disorders reported among these patients in the United States" as compared with London. One important reason for making this diagnosis correctly is that previous studies have indicated the "prognosis for survival among the elderly is twice as good for the functional as organic patients." Improper diagnosis may become a self-fulfilling prophecy: therapists will most likely have less enthusiasm for treating organic patients, and valuable treatment opportunities may thus be missed.

Patients diagnosed by project psychiatrists as having affective disorders had high levels of depression and low levels of organic symptoms such as impaired memory, aphasia, and disorientation. The opposite was true for patients with dementia. Of these organic symptoms, disorientation showed the greatest level of difference, while impaired memory showed the least difference. "These findings would seem to indicate that disorientation when present is one of the best symptoms for discriminating between affective disorder and dementia in the geriatric age group and that impaired memory, which occurs in both conditions, is the symptom most likely to cause diagnostic confusion." The latter

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shows the greatest improvement in the affective group three months after admission, while in the demented patient, no improvement is observed.

"Differences in diagnostic frequencies for elderly patients between areas of New York and London seem to be due to different diagnostic criteria employed by the psychiatrists rather than to the behavioral characteristics of the patients themselves."

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Article Citation

Berlin, R.J. (1977). The British Journal of Psychiatry. CXXVI, 1975. Psychoanal. Q., 46:352-353

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