Abstract

The author, who is the editor of the Mental and Behavioral Disorders chapter of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides), Sixth Edition, comments on the previous article, Assessing Mental and Behavioral Disorder Impairment: Overview of Sixth Edition Approaches in this issue of The Guides Newsletter. The new Mental and Behavioral Disorders (M&BD) chapter, like others in the AMA Guides, is a consensus opinion of many authors and thus reflects diverse points of view. Psychiatrists and psychologists continue to struggle with diagnostic taxonomies within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but anxiety, depression, and psychosis are three unequivocal areas of mental illness for which the sixth edition of the AMA Guides provides M&BD impairment rating. Two particular challenges faced the authors of the chapter: how could M&BD disorders be rated (and yet avoid an onslaught of attorney requests for an M&BD rating in conjunction with every physical impairment), and what should be the maximal impairment rating for a mental illness. The sixth edition uses three scales—the Psychiatric Impairment Rating Scale, the Global Assessment of Function, and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale—after careful review of a wide variety of indices. The AMA Guides remains a work in progress, but the authors of the M&BD chapter have taken an important step toward providing a reasonable method for estimating impairment.

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