Assess Emotional Responses

Although emotional response has probably been informally observed already, inquire specifically whether the patient has noticed any sudden mood changes. It is appropriate to ask, ''How are your spirits?'' During the interview, the interviewer has already noticed the patient's affect, which is the emotional response to an event. The response may be appropriate, abnormal, or flat. An appropriate response to a loved one's death may be to cry. An inappropriate response is to laugh. A flat response shows little emotion. Patients with bilateral cerebral damage lose control of their emotions.

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