A Guide to the Assessment on Mental Health
A psych evaluation, otherwise known as a psychological assessment test, sounds like a broad concept; however, this process is specifically designed to help us understand which obstacles might be getting in our way.
What Is A Psychological Evaluation?
An evaluation requires several rounds of testing using a combination of techniques. Exams are most commonly administered to diagnose mental health disorders, addiction issues, and learning disabilities. Psychological assessments are intended to evaluate a variety of health problems, from substance abuse disorders in adults to ADHD and anxiety in young children. People who are new to therapy may also undergo a psychological evaluation to help their psychiatrist become familiar with their specific case.
What Kind of Problems Can A Psych Evaluation Solve?
Overall, psych evaluations help doctors and patients understand what kind of health issues someone may be having that aren’t physically evident. The signs of disorders are not always clear, so they require extra verification before a medical professional can issue a diagnosis.
These evaluations can also determine the exact nature and extent of certain illnesses. Tests help psychologists by giving them more clues toward who the patient is.
Psych evaluations may help diagnose disorders such as:
- Anxiety disorders (GAD, PTSD)
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Bipolar disorder
- Head trauma
- Intellectual disabilities
So what about psych evaluations can actually help diagnose these disorders?
The Process of A Psych Assessment
Before the assessment starts, patients are required to undergo a full medical examination. Following the examination, the psychologist will likely host a 30-60 minute clinical interview with the patient. From there, the testing begins. Here are some common components of psychological evaluations:
- Norm-References Tests: These are used to assess intelligence, reading, spelling abilities, motor skills, and adapted behavior. They are usually standardized.
- Physical Exam: Mostly helpful when testing for strokes and head trauma, physical exams can help medical professionals see how you complete physical tasks.
- Observation: A psychologist may observe a patient in their natural setting to understand where they come from.
- Lab Testing: Lab tests collect blood work, urine tests, and even brain scans to determine if any illness-related information may appear.
- Self Assessments: Some psychologists may ask their patients to try to capture their own thoughts and emotions on paper.
- Informal Tests: Informal tests, while there is no evidence behind them, are a great way to analyze behavior and see how patients respond.
Who Can Administer Psychological Evaluations?
Only psychologists are trained to administer and interpret psychological evaluations. These tests can be completed at therapy centers, impatient units, nursing homes, emergency departments, prisons, and outpatient facilities.
Psych Evaluations: Prioritizing Mental Health
These evaluations are necessary for the well being of children and adults alike. While they’re not for everyone, they can be helpful for individuals who could benefit from a greater understanding of their own behaviors.
After undergoing a psych evaluation, patients should follow the advice of the psychologist that interpreted the tests. They are also encouraged to continue going to therapy, take necessary medication, and prioritize their own mental health.
To learn more about psych evaluations, ask our team of mental health professionals. Give us a call at 866-488-8684 or visit here for more information.