Diagnostic overshadowing

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Diagnostic overshadowing is the attribution of a person’s symptoms to their mental condition, when such symptoms actually suggest a comorbid condition. The term was first used to describe the underdiagnosis of mental illness in people with intellectual disability.[1] In recent years, the term has also been used when physical illnesses are overlooked in people with mental illness.[2]


  1. ^ Reiss, Steven; Levitan, Grant W; Szyszko, Joseph (May 1982). "Emotional disturbance and mental retardation: Diagnostic overshadowing". American Journal of Mental Deficiency. 86 (6): 567–574. PMID 7102729. 
  2. ^ Jones, Simon; Howard, Louise; Thornicroft, Graham (September 2008). "'Diagnostic overshadowing': worse physical health care for people with mental illness" (PDF). Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 118 (3): 169–171. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.2008.01211.x.