Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation
What is a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation?
A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation may be necessary to diagnose any number of emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorders. An evaluation of a child, adolescent, or adult is made based on behaviors present and in relation to physical, genetic, environmental, social, cognitive (thinking), emotional, and educational components that may be affected as a result of the behaviors presented.
Who is evaluated?
Many times, families, spouses, or friends are the first to suspect that their loved one is challenged by feelings, behaviors, and/or environmental conditions that cause them to act disruptive, rebellious, or sad. This may include, but is not limited to, problems with relationships with friends and/or family members, work, school, sleeping, eating, substance abuse, emotional expression, development, coping, attentiveness, and responsiveness. It's important for families who suspect a problem in one, or more, of these areas to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment for mental health disorders is available.
What is involved in a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation?
The following are the most common components of a comprehensive, diagnostic psychiatric evaluation. However, each evaluation is different, as each individual's symptoms and behaviors are different. Evaluation may include:
- Description of behaviors present (for example, when do the behaviors occur, how long does the behavior last, what are the conditions in which the behaviors most often occur)
- Description of symptoms noted (physical and psychiatric symptoms)
- Effects of behaviors/symptoms as related to:
- Work performance
- School performance
- Relationships and interactions with others (for example, spouse, coworkers, family members, neighbors)
- Family involvement
- Activity involvement
- Psychiatric interview
- Personal and family history of emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorders
- Complete medical history, including description of the individual's overall physical health, list of any other illnesses or conditions present, and any treatments currently being administered
- Laboratory tests, in some cases (may be used to determine if an underlying medical condition is present), including:
- Blood tests
- Radiology studies to look for abnormalities, particularly in the brain structures
- Educational assessments
- Speech and language assessments
- Psychological assessments
When a family member is being evaluated
It's natural, and quite common, for spouses and family members to question themselves when it becomes necessary for a loved one to be psychiatrically evaluated. You may have many questions and concerns as to his or her welfare and emotional well-being. Common questions frequently asked include:
- What is wrong with my spouse/family member/loved one?
- Are they abnormal?
- Did I do something wrong in my relationship with them to cause this?
- Do they need to be hospitalized?
- Will they require treatment?
- Will they "outgrow" or stop performing these behaviors at some point?
- Is this just "a phase" they're going through?
- What will treatment cost?
- Where do we go for help?
- What does this diagnosis mean?
- How can my family become involved?
Once a diagnosis is made, family involvement and active participation in treatment is extremely important for any individual with a mental health disorder. The physician, or mental health practitioner will address questions and provide reassurance by working with you to establish long-term and short-term treatment goals for your loved one.