The purpose of a psychiatric evaluation is to help diagnose an emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorder and to determine the most appropriate care and treatment. It may be necessary if you are experiencing symptoms such as persistent low mood, anxiety, or personality changes.
A psychiatric evaluation is a comprehensive assessment that involves gathering information about a person in order to make a diagnosis. It is typically the first stage of a treatment process to ensure an individual gets the care they need. A psychiatric evaluation is usually carried out by a licensed psychiatrist, but it can be a multi-disciplinary process involving other professionals such as psychologists, social workers, nurses, and professional counsellors.The evaluation may be done in a hospital, an out-patient setting, or as a home-based assessment.
When Is a Psychiatric Evaluation Necessary?
A psychiatric assessment is most frequently carried out for clinical and therapeutic purposes, but it may also be necessary for other reasons such as for legal purposes. Sometimes, an emergency psychiatric evaluation may be required if a person is in significant distress and in need of immediate medical attention.
Mental illness can be very complex and each mental health condition has its own signs and symptoms. In many cases, individuals with mental health disorders consider their signs and symptoms as a normal part of life, making it difficult to recognize that a psychiatric evaluation could be necessary. There may also be a tendency to avoid treatment out of shame or fear.
If left untreated, mental health disorders can interfere with your ability to function, impacting all areas of life, including emotional, physical, and social health. It can lead to complications such as problems maintaining personal or family relationships, poor performance at work or school, and physical illness.
There are some patterns in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that can suggest when to get help for yourself or a loved one. A psychiatric evaluation might be needed if you or a loved one:
- Experience marked changes in personality or in eating or sleeping patterns
- Are finding it difficult to cope with problems or day-to-day activities
- Feel disconnected/withdrawn from normal activities
- Have prolonged low mood, sadness, or apathy
- Experience unusual thinking or delusions
- Have excessive anxiety
- Experience thoughts of suicide, self-harm, or causing harm to others
- Are misusing substances
- Have extreme mood swings
- Exhibit excessive aggressive or violent behavior
What Does A Psychiatric Evaluation Involve?
A psychiatric evaluation is a comprehensive assessment that uses information, direct observations, and other data to build a complete picture of the person. This helps to ensure an accurate diagnosis (of an emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorder) and appropriate treatment. The evaluation may include:
- Complete personal and family medical history of physical illness and emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorders
- A complete physical to rule out other physical conditions that may be causing symptoms
- Description of (physical and emotional) symptoms
- Questions about your current concerns and why you’re seeking help
- Description of behaviors, when they happen, and how long they last for
- How behaviors or symptoms affect things such as relationships and interactions with others, work or school performance, and participation in activities
- Assessment tools/questionnaires that help to determine how you think, feel, or behave in typical situations
- Questions about recent events or changes in your life that may have affected how you think, feel, or behave, such as relationships, work, abereavement, or trauma
- Questions about past and current alcohol and/or drug use
- Discussing past trauma, abuse, family crises, or other major life events
- Questions about past or current thoughts about violence or harm against yourself or others
- Questionnaires/interviews completed by people who know you well, such as a parent or partner
In some cases, lab tests and other assessments may be requested to determine if symptoms are related to an underlying medical condition. These can include:
- Blood tests
- Imaging studies to look for abnormalities, such as brain structures
- Educational assessments
- Psychological assessments
- Speech and language assessments
What is the Purpose of A Psychiatric Evaluation?
The aim of a psychiatric evaluation is to:
- Establish a diagnosis and hypothesis around the cause and nature of the presenting problems
- Develop an appropriate treatment plan to effectively meet the needs of the individual
- Include the patient in making decisions about their treatment and care needs
- Identify any long-term problems that might emerge in the future
- Make any necessary changes in the treatment plan for those who have had a psychiatric evaluation in the past
Psychiatric Evaluation Near Me in North Chesterfield, VA
If you’re concerned about your or a loved one’s mental health, don’t hesitate to seek advice. At EPIC Health Partners LLC, we provide adults and children with needed mental and behavioral health assessments and services. Our licensed psychiatrist, professional counselors, social workers, and dedicated supporting staff provide person-centered care toeffectively meet the unique needs of each client.
We offer a comprehensive range of mental health services, including psychiatric services and evaluation, mental health skill building, outpatient therapy, addiction recovery and treatment services (ARTS), community stabilization, and intensive in-home services to enable our clients to lead positive and rewarding lives.