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What Is a Provisional Diagnosis Vs. Differential Diagnosis?

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Updated May 09, 2013

Question: What Is a Provisional Diagnosis Vs. Differential Diagnosis?
I had an assessment done by a psychiatrist, and on the report was a provisional diagnosis and a differential diagnosis. I'm not too sure what they mean. Can you help?
Answer: Provisional diagnosis means they are not 100% sure of your diagnosis because they need more information. It is just what they are "guestimating" as your most likely diagnosis for the time being based upon what they have. Differential diagnosis means there is more than one possibility for what your diagnosis is and they must differentiate between these to determine what your actual diagnosis is.
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