Nazia Adil is a board certified Psychiatrist. She completed her residency at Michigan State University, East Lansing.
What is a Psychological Evaluation?
A psychological evaluation is a mental health assessment ,where a psychologist, or psychiatrist checks to see if you are experiencing a mental health problem. This involves multiple components, which can include answering questions verbally, receiving a physical test, and completing a questionnaire.For psychologists, this assessment helps determine the exact nature and extent of a person’s mental illness. In this assessment Psychologists help you understand and manage any issues or symptoms impacting your life. Think of these types of assessments as serving the same purpose of medical tests.
What to Expect of a Mental Health Assessment?
Mental health assessments may include a variety of components — formal questionnaires, checklists, surveys, interviews, and behavioral observations.
Types of psychological evaluations
Mental health history: You will likely be asked about the duration of your symptoms, your personal or family history of mental health, and any psychiatric treatment you may have received.
Personal history: Medical professionals may ask questions about your lifestyle and personal history, to determine the largest sources of stress in your life or any major traumas.
Mental evaluation: You will likely be asked questions about your symptoms in more detail, specifically around your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It’s also important to know how you have tried to manage them on your own.
Cognitive evaluation: This differs slightly from the mental evaluation, as your doctor will gauge your ability to think clearly, recall information, and use sound reasoning.
Physical exam: In certain cases, a physical illness can cause symptoms that mirror that of a mental illness. A physical exam can help medical professionals determine if a physical disorder (such as a thyroid disorder) or a neurological issue are to blame
Lab tests: During the evaluation, you may be asked to complete blood work, a urine test, or a brain scan to rule out any physical conditions. You may also be asked to answer questions about drug and alcohol use to confirm your experience is not a side effect.
Completing self-evaluations: In some instances, you may also be asked to complete a self-assessment to help capture your thoughts, emotions, and symptoms before receiving support.
Psychological Evaluations Are an Important Part of Mental Wellness
It is important to know that psychological assessments are not one-size-fits-all, and mental health professionals pick and choose specific sets of assessments. To start the process of getting a psychl evaluation, reach out to a medical professional, such as a family doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. You may be referred to another professional for the assessment if it is outside their specialty area. By understanding the different evaluation methods, such as a physical examination, lab tests, and cognitive evaluation, it can help you better prepare to begin your therapy journey.