What is a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation?
A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation helps diagnose 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 parts that may be affected as a result of these behaviors.
Who is evaluated?
Many times, families, spouses, teachers, or friends are the first to suspect that their loved one is challenged by feelings, behaviors, or environmental conditions that cause him or her to act disruptive, rebellious, or sad. This may include problems with relationships with friends 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 any 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?
These are the most common parts of a comprehensive, diagnostic psychiatric evaluation. But, each evaluation is different, as each person’s symptoms and behaviors are different. Evaluation may include:
- Description of behaviors (like when do the behaviors happen, how long does the behavior last, what are the conditions in which the behaviors most often happen)
- Description of symptoms (physical and psychiatric symptoms)
- Effects of behaviors or symptoms related to:
- Work performance
- School performance
- Relationships and interactions with others (such as friends, peers, spouse, coworkers, family members, or neighbors)
- Family involvement
- Activity involvement
- Psychiatric interview with the person (child or adult)
- Personal and family history of emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorders
- Complete medical history, including the person’s overall physical health, list of any other illnesses or conditions present, and any current treatments
- Lab tests, in some cases (may be used to determine if an underlying medical condition is present) and a referral might be needed, 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 include:
- What is wrong with my spouse, family member, or loved one?
- Is he or she abnormal?
- Did I do something wrong in my relationship with him or her to cause this?
- Does he or she need to be hospitalized?
- Will he or she need treatment?
- Will he or she “outgrow” or stop performing these behaviors at some point?
- Is this just “a phase” he or she is going through?
- How can I help him or her get better?
- 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 very important for any person with a mental health disorder. The primary healthcare provider 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.
When your CHILD is being evaluated
Parents often have many concerns, including:
- Is my child normal? Am I normal? Am I to blame?
- Am I silly to worry?
- Can you help us? Can you help my child?
- What is wrong? What is the diagnosis?
- Does my child need additional assessment and/or testing (medical, psychological etc.)?
- What are your recommendations? How can the family help?
- Does my child need treatment? Do I need treatment?
- What will treatment cost, and how long will it take?
Parents are often worried about how they will be viewed during the evaluation. Child and adolescent psychiatrists/providers are there to support families and to be a partner, not to judge or blame. They listen to concerns, and help the child or adolescent and his/her family define the goals of the evaluation. Parents should always ask for explanations of words or terms they do not understand.
When a treatable problem is identified, recommendations are provided and a specific treatment plan is developed. Psychiatrists/providers are specifically trained and skilled in conducting comprehensive psychiatric evaluations with children, adolescents, and families.
If you or a loved one are considering a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, contact us at 407-851-5121 to get the help you need today.