Key relationships, especially intimate adult partner relationships and parent/caregiver-child relationships, have a significant impact on the mental health of the individuals in the relationships. These relationships can be health-promoting and protective, neutral, or detrimental to mental health outcomes. Relationship problems that cannot be resolved by friends, family, or clergy require professional intervention by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals.
Some of the main diagnostic categories for relationship problems involving children include:
Relationship Distress with Spouse or Intimate Partner
This diagnosis is used when there is distress within an intimate (spouse or partner) relationship or when the quality of that relationship is affecting the course, prognosis, or treatment of a mental or other medical disorder. Partners can be of the same or different genders. Typically, relationship distress is associated with impaired functioning in behavioral, cognitive, or other areas of life. Examples of behavioral problems include conflict resolution difficulty, withdrawal, and overinvolvement. Cognitive problems can include chronic negative attitudes toward the other’s intentions or dismissals of the partner’s positive behaviors. Problems may result in chronic sadness, apathy, and/or anger about the other partner.
Disruption of Family by Separation or Divorce
This diagnosis is used when partners in an intimate adult couple are living apart due to relationship problems or are in the process of a divorce.
High Expressed Emotion Level Within Family
This diagnosis refers to hostility, emotional overinvolvement, and criticism directed toward a family member. This category is used when a family’s high level of expressed emotion is the focus of clinical attention or is affecting the course, prognosis, or treatment of a family member’s mental health or other medical disorder.
Mental Health Library Sources:
Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.
Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.
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