Joan has seen several specialists and undergone numerous diagnostic tests to determine the cause of her recurring headaches and episodes of dizziness. The doctors are perplexed and can seem to find no physiological cause for Joan's symptoms.

My guess would be between 3 possible disorders:

  1. If she's lying about the headaches and dizziness, then she is seeking attention which could point to Histrionic Personality Disorder (if she makes a big scene every time she goes to get tested).

  2. If she's not lying and the doctors can't find a physiological symptom, then it could be Generalized Anxiety Disorder (she keeps going to get tested because she is having trouble identifying cause of stress).

  3. If she is not lying, then she could just be imagining the headaches and suffering from schizophrenia, which is characterized by breaks from reality (as in, she imagines the headaches and dizziness but they don't really occur.


I don't think you can rule out that she really is suffering from headaches and dizziness. Just because the doctors can't find a physiological cause doesn't mean that there isn't one.

  • $\begingroup$ So then which of the other 2 options do you agree with? $\endgroup$ – whatwhatwhat Mar 11 '16 at 2:54
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see that it has to be one of your possibilities. She could just have headaches and dizziness from a physical but undiagnosed cause. There's no reason to assume that she has a psychological disorder. $\endgroup$ – Ruth Mar 11 '16 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ It doesn't have to be one of the possibilities, those were just my guesses. Bear with me on this hypothetical situation where the answer must be a mood/personality disorder. What could it be? Yes, I understand that there is a magnificent amount of information missing that could point to ANYTHING else, but, again, this is a hypothetical situation :) $\endgroup$ – whatwhatwhat Mar 12 '16 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean what psychological disorder could make someone seek help for headaches and dizziness? Anxiety is supposed to cause tension headaches and vertigo sometimes, and depression is also associated with dizziness and headaches. symptomchecker.webmd.com/… $\endgroup$ – Ruth Mar 13 '16 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that is what I'm asking. Also - you know how when you take a beginner's psychology class and they ask you really simple, non-detailed questions in order for you to understand the fundamentals without being overwhelmed by higher level detail? This is one of those questions. We are to diagnose what disorder the person might have. The information given is that she has gone to get tested many times but cannot find any explanation for her symptoms, yet I'm supposed to figure out what disorder she has based on only this info. It's a bit of an open-ended question. $\endgroup$ – whatwhatwhat Mar 14 '16 at 1:11

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