Stefanie is a 32-year-old female from Puerto Rico who presents to your office today with complaints of difficulty sleeping. You learn that Stefanie can go for a few days with minimal sleep (about 3 hours/night), but does not seem to be fatigued the next day. Stefanie explains that after 3 days with minimal sleep, she “crashes” and has a good night’s sleep. She states that sleep will be “alright” for a few days, even a few weeks, and then she will have a similar issue with sleep.
You learn throughout the assessment process that Stefanie has had this problem for years. She noticed that it began in college and thought it was just because of the workload and academic demands. However, she found that it persisted after college. She also notices that she has periods where she will engage in increased amounts of goal-directed activity. She states that things will just “pile up” at work and she gets this burst of energy to “make everything right.” She states that these bursts will last most of the day. She states that these periods show up probably every 2 to 3 weeks.
Stefanie also confesses to problems with being “down in the dumps.” She states that when she has her episodes in which she endeavors to “make everything right,” she feels fantastic and on top of the world. However, when these periods of energy end, she reports that she feels “depressed”—but then states: “well, maybe not depressed, but I definitely feel sad and empty.” She also endorses feelings of fatigue and a decreased ability to concentrate when she is feeling sad. She finally tells you: “I have lived with this for so long, I have to admit that it is finally a relief to tell someone how I feel!”
Stefanie is dressed appropriately to the weather. She has no gait abnormalities. Physical assessment is unremarkable. Gross neurological assessment is within normal limits.
MENTAL STATUS EXAM
Stefanie is alert and oriented × 4 spheres. Her speech is clear, coherent, goal directed, and spontaneous. Self-reported mood is “sad.” Affect does appear consistent with dysphoria. Eye contact is normal. Speech is clear, coherent, and goal directed. She denies visual or auditory hallucinations. No overt evidence of paranoid or delusional thought processes noted. She denies suicidal or homicidal ideation and is future oriented.
At this point, please discuss any additional diagnostic tests you would perform on Stefanie.