Physical Examination for the Academic Psychiatrist: Primer and Common Clinical Scenarios

Pierre N Azzam, Priya Gopalan, Jennifer R Brown, Patrick R Aquino
Academic Psychiatry 2016, 40 (2): 321-7
As clinical psychiatry has evolved to mirror the patient care model followed in other medical specialties, psychiatrists are called upon increasingly to utilize general medical skills in routine practice. Psychiatrists who practice in academic settings are often required to generate broad differential diagnoses that include medical and neurologic conditions and, as a result, benefit from incorporating physical examination into their psychiatric assessments. Physical examination allows psychiatrists to follow and to teach patient-informed clinical practices and comprehensive treatment approaches. In this commentary, the authors encourage routine use of a targeted physical examination and outline common scenarios in which physical examination would be useful for the academic psychiatrist: delirium, toxidromes, and unexplained medical conditions (e.g., somatic symptom disorders).

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