What is the role of a mental status exam in the evaluation of alcoholism?

Updated: Mar 23, 2020
  • Author: Warren Thompson, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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The physician should, nonetheless, perform a brief mental status exam to help guide the referral process. Basic elements that should be covered in the mental status exam include an assessment of mood, perceptual problems such as hallucinations, and a safety screen. The use of a standardized instrument helps ensure important questions are asked and the results transmitted with some degree of objectivity. Several validated instruments exist, including The Patient Health Questionnaire from the Primary Care Evaluation of Mental Disorders (PRIME-MD) [27] and the Cornell Psychiatric Screen. [28]

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