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NBME 20 Answers

nbme20/Block 1/Question#15

A 30-year-old man who completed a successful course ...

Adjustment disorder with anxiety

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submitted by hayayah(422),

Definition of adjustment disorder:

Emotional symptoms (eg, anxiety, depression) that occur within 3 months of an identifiable psychosocial stressor (eg, divorce, illness) lasting < 6 months once the stressor has ended.

If symptoms persist > 6 months after stressor ends, it is GAD.

hello  Yep, and I think what we are supposed to take from this Q is: The only info. we have for this patient is that he ended chemo 2 months ago and has been calling the doctor a lot -- this is supposed to mean he has been calling a lot since ending chemo 2 months ago. His frequent calls starting after ending chemo and within 3 months of the stressor fits with the above-stated definition of "adjustment disorder" with anxiety. I stressor in this case could possibly be either the actual illness or the ending of chemo/treatment. It probably does not matter much in this case. +  
charcot_bouchard  I think doing uw done me wrong here. Adjustment disorder isnt diagnosed when symptom match another disorder --- it was like never a right answer. But ofc its right answer in nbme +1  
maxillarythirdmolar  Just to add to that, the tingling in his fingers may seem like a distraction/it probably is. Likely has some relation to his Chemo. +1  




While I can get on board with Adjustment Disorder, I don't see how this answer is any better than Somatic Symptom Disorder. From FA:

Variety of bodily complaints lasting months to years associated with excessive, persistent thoughts and anxiety about symptoms. May co-appear with illness.

SSD belongs in a group of disorders characterized by physical symptoms causing significant distress and impairment.

savdaddy  I think part of it stems from the fact that this patients symptoms are occurring within the time-frame for adjustment disorder while SSD seems to have a longer timeline. Aside from that I find it difficult to see why SSD wasn't a possible answer. +1  
chillqd  To add to that, I inferred that the obsession with checking temp and with the tingling sensation were signs provided to him by the physicians of recurrence. He is anxious over his cancer recurring, and they are more specific than a variety of body complaints +  
hello  In somatic symptom disorder, the motivation is unconscious. I think for the patient in this Q-stem, his motivation is conscious -- he wants to make sure that recurrence of cancer is not going "undetected". +3  
cienfuegos  I also had issues differentiating these two and ultimately went with SSD, but upon further review it seems that a key differentiating feature was the timeline. His somatic symptoms would have had to have been present for at least 6 months per the DSM criteria https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519704/table/ch3.t31/ +