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Individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Neurodevelopmental disorders are particularly different to treat in young patients since the latter’s nervous system has not developed yet, which suggests additional complications appearing in the process. Due to the detrimental effects that neurological disorders have on individuals’ cognitive development, including memory, abstract and critical thinking skills, and other essential abilities, the subject matter needs to be studied profoundly in order to gain a clear perspective of the problem and identify the tools for inhibiting the development of neurological disorders in kids and adolescents. Assessments, in turn, play a critical role in diagnosing neurodevelopmental issues, PTSD, and depressive disorders due to the elaborate analysis of critical symptoms (Adams et al., 2019). Thus, comparing and evaluating the tools used for detecting the instances of PTSD, neurodevelopmental issues, and depression needs to be seen as critical, with the focus being placed on the most effective tools. Due to the ambiguity that is typically associated with the symptoms of the specified disorders, especially in young patients, the use of a combined approach involving a multilateral analysis should be deemed essential.

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Developing tests that allow assessing the presence of developmental disorders in patients is especially difficult due to the lack of certainty in the diagnosis and the variety of symptoms that can be observed in young patients due to individual characteristics. Relying on patients’ personal perceptions of the issue becomes an especially dubious decision given the highly subjective nature of the responses obtained as a result of the proposed technique. In their study of the problem, Adams et al. (2019) utilize the thematic inductive analysis as the method of assessing the obtained information, whereas the main source of critical data is represented by survey results in the research. Surveys and interviews. It is remarkable that the authors use the data obtained from other studies in order to perform their analysis. Nonetheless, the incorporation of interviews and surveys as the main method of obtaining critical information poses the same problem of measuring the accuracy of the provided facts.

The problem of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults is another concern that needs to be addressed very carefully due to the high probability of future relapse and the high levels of subjectivity in the information received from patients. In their paper, Biggs et al. (2019) suggest using the momentary ecological assessment of the subject matter, which is a comparatively new tool. Traditionally, various types of questionnaires are utilized to figure out whether a patient has PTSD (Biggs et al., 2019). However, Biggs et al. (2019) prefer to deploy a very specific type of assessment that relies particularly strongly on the use of the 20-item PCL-5 test, which suggests daily tests performed to locate changes in patients’ behaviors. The proposed technique is believed to have significantly higher precision rates as a method of measuring PTSD in adults. Indeed, due to the high levels of subjectivity in patients’ responses, accurate evaluation of the extent of their PTSD is barely impossible. Biggs et al. (2019), in turn, propose the inventory that allows maximizing the accuracy of the analysis, at the same time retaining the crucial information that would inform the decision-making process. The specified measurement tool helps in exploring the extent to which participants were exposed to traumatic experiences, thus defining the severity of the mental health issue. The change in the number of points from 5 to 11 is quite remarkable since it is believed to provide a more accurate evaluation of the participants’ experiences (Biggs et al., 2019). However, the authors of the researchers admit that “Research on making these types of response format modifications indicates that changing a 5-point scale to an 11-point scale is unlikely to affect the mean but is likely to produce data with more variance” (Biggs et al., 2019, p. 3).

There are other relevant approaches to the assessment of the problem of PTSD in adult and child patients. The paper by Adams et al. (2019) delves into the problem of managing barriers to care for people with depression in rural areas. Due to the qualitative foundation of the study and the integration of the elements of phenomenology into the analysis, the paper is based on a basic Likert-type need assessment survey (Adams et al., 2019). Despite the simplicity of the tool, it allows gaining insight into the subject matter. However, the accuracy of the outcomes may suffer due to the lack of control over subjectivity in the evaluation provided by the participants.

Sullivan et al. (2017), in turn, have also offered an interesting perspective on the subject matter, offering a unique measurement tool for assessing the severity of patients’ PTSD. Specifically, the Post-Traumatic Stress Checklist (PCL) was used as the test for determining the severity of participants’ condition. The described framework is one of the most common approaches toward measuring the severity and extent of one’s PTSD development. Notably, the proposed assessment tool is slightly less accurate than the one utilized in the research by Biggs et al. (2019), where an 11-point scale was used. However, the choice of the identified evaluation model can be seen as justified in the described analysis since the authors have chosen to apply the multilateral approach to the assessment process. Apart from the PCL tool, the Patent Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) and the SCS frameworks were utilized to evaluate the participants’ depressive symptoms and the propensity toward catastrophizing (Sullivan et al., 2017). Combined with other approaches used to quantify the information regarding different mental health issues in the participants, the proposed approaches offer a variety of data that offers profound insight into the nature of the disorders. Moreover, changes in patient’s attitudes and behaviors can be located quite accurately despite the presence of subjective data in the research.

However, when dissecting the research performed by Sullivan et al. (2017), one will notice that the study employs far too many psychometric methodologies to provide a coherent evaluation of the efficacy of methods used for tending to the needs of people with PTSD. While one should give the authors credit for the endeavor at incorporating a vast range of testing tools and offering different assessment types to increase the veracity and credibility of the research data, the abundance of the frameworks utilized in the study may obscure the goal thereof. Specifically, the analysis of the models used for managing PTSD in the target demographic needs to be explored, which may require a homogenous approach toward the evaluation of the core data.

Moving to the depression issue as a condition that occurs very frequently in patients with mental health concerns, one will need to acknowledge the significance of the study by Zaman and Munaf (2019). The article published very recently explores the correlation between the changes in individuals’ mood and alterations in their self-esteem. The study manages to convey essential information about the mood and self-esteem correlation by performing a correlational study and utilizing the Rosenberg Self Esteem and Goldberg Depression Scales (Zaman & Munaf, 2019). The integration of the two tests is necessitated by the design of the study, which suggests comparing and analyzing two different data sets. As measurement tools, the specified tests can be seen as fairly effective since they incorporate the sets of questions that allow collecting critical information about patients’ self-esteem levels and determining the severity of their depression correspondingly.

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Remarkably, the measurement of the participants’ depression levels was carried out with the help of the Goldberg Depression Scale instead of the Beck inventory. The specified change in the direction of the research can be explained by the fact that the Beck Inventory may have worn out its welcome and no longer delivers the results of the required accuracy. Indeed, when evaluating the proposed measurement tool, one will notice that it incorporates a lesser number of questions (18 instead of 21 compared to the Beck Inventory). Therefore, the tool in question provides a more general overview of patients’ condition, yet it also allows one to delve into greater details concerning the disorder and the ways in which it manifests itself. Therefore, the incorporation of the specified tool is quite appropriate in the described scenario. Moreover, the measurement scale under analysis allows gauging the extent of participants’ depression, which is critical in locating the correlation between the two variables. While Goldberg Depression Scale gathers rather subjective data, it still provides a chance to quantify the results of the assessment with rather high precision. Finally, the assessment of the major depressive disorder in the paper by Himmelstein, Barb, Finlayson, and Young (2018) includes the use of the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), which allows reducing the extent of subjectivity in research data and produce accurate results.

The issue of results generalizability is another important characteristic of a study that determines its quality and applicability to the clinical context. The articles in question provide the results based on the analysis of rather subjective data retrieved from self-reported instances of depression and mood changes. Therefore, the generalizability of the outcomes of each study mentioned above may become questionable. However, on further inspection, one will find out that the research results are quite general in each case due to the lack of categorization in the research participants. Specifically, the outcomes of the analysis by Himmelstein et al. (2018) can be seen as quite applicable to any setting that requires the management of depressive disorders due to the lack of specificity in the characteristics of patients participating in the assessment. While the age issue may be seen as a restriction in applying the outcomes of the research to other settings, the rest of the data, such as the gender, ethnicity, and cultural characteristics of the research participants, are unlikely to play an especially big role in the management of a depressive disorder. In a similar way, the outcomes of the analysis performed by Zaman and Munaf (2019) allow detecting the threat of depression by assessing the levels of patients’ self-esteem rather accurately without knowing the unique characteristics of patients. The treatment approach will need to be adjusted to the needs of the target demographic, yet the proposed framework is pliable enough to be used for managing the needs of a diverse population.

Finally, one should mention the measurement tools utilized in the research by Adams et al. (2019). Also addressing a depression-related concern, the researchers outline the importance of managing the needs of patients living in rural areas. The concern voiced by Adams et al. (2019) is quite understandable given the lack of access to care in the designated setting. Indeed, due to the infrastructure issues, a rapid drop in the nurse-to-patient ratio, and the lack of patient education, the management of rural patients’ needs represents a major problem. In their study, Adams et al. (2019) deploy a survey as the means of locating barriers to healthcare services for patients with depression in the rural setting. Since the study in question has a clearly qualitative nature and focus, the use of a general survey as the data collection method seems legitimate.

The ethical aspects of the studies mentioned above are also remarkably clear and well-developed. None of the studies incorporates any ethically questionable elements and decisions, which means that the specified articles can be used to manage the needs of patients freely. Since each of the research papers mentions that the participants gave informed consent and were provided with clarifications concerning research goals and the role that the participants played in it, all of the studies can be deemed as fully applicable to the context of any healthcare setting. However, the extent to which each of the authors addresses the research ethics is quite different. For instance, Sullivan et al. (2017) go into extensive detail to prove the validity of their study, including the mentioning of the approval provided by the Research Ethics Board of McGill University. Biggs et al. (2019) introduce a similar approach, mentioning briefly that the study was approved by the appropriate review boards. However, the authors also note very clearly that each of the participants was provided detailed written informed consent, which some of the articles in this review only imply.

Conclusion

The review of the recent studies delving into the issue of neurological and developmental disorders in young patients has shown that a combined approach should be undertaken when diagnosing and detecting the severity of PTSD, neurodevelopmental disorders, and depression. Moreover, the integration of the analysis tools based on patients’ personal perception of their responses and the tests that allow for a more objective assessment has shed a significant amount of light on the subject of psychological evaluation. The overview of the studies in question has shown that the incorporation of both types of assessment leads to more accurate results of the assessment and helps to measure the extent of the problem quite precisely.

Therefore, the integration of a profound and accurate assessment into the process of diagnosing a mental health issue such as PTSD, depression, or neurodevelopmental disorders. Is critical. However, reliance on self-reports and self-measurement in these assessments seems to be the foundational flaw of the existing approaches. Therefore, considering the framework that could rely on both the reports submitted by patients and a detailed evaluation of changes in their well-being based on an independent consideration of external factors is needed. Thus, one will receive a full picture of the health issue development, identifying an appropriate treatment strategy.

References

Adams, C., Corbin, A., O’Hara, L., Mirang Park, Sheppard-Jones, K., Butler, L., … Bishop, M. L. (2019). A qualitative analysis of the employment needs and barriers of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in rural areas. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 50(3), 227–240. doi:10.1891/0047-2220.50.3.227

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Biggs, Q. M., Ursano, R. J., Wang, J., Krantz, D. S., Carr, R. B., Wynn, G. H., … Fullerton, C. S. (2019). Daily variation in post traumatic stress symptoms in individuals with and without probable post traumatic stress disorder. BMC Psychiatry, 19(1), 1–8. doi:10.1186/s12888-019-2041-7

Himmelstein, P., Barb, S., Finlayson, M. A., & Young, K. D. (2018). Linguistic analysis of the autobiographical memories of individuals with major depressive disorder. PLoS ONE, 13(11), 1–16. doi:10.1111/jabr.12087

Sullivan, M., Adams, H., Ellis, T., Clark, R., Sully, C., & Thibault, P. (2017). Treatment-related reductions in catastrophizing predict return to work in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research, 22(1), 1-12. doi:10.1111/jabr.12087

Zaman, N. I., & Munaf, S. (2019). Self esteem and depressive mood of individuals with mood disorders : A correlational study. Bahria Journal of Professional Psychology, 18(1), 1–10. doi:10.1186/s12888-019-2041-7

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