What Patients Can Expect from Psychiatric Evaluations

Posted on: June 6, 2018

Psychiatric Evaluations

Psychiatric evaluations can be both necessary and helpful. There is a stigma with mental health issues and the need for an evaluation of a psychiatrist. However, this stigma is unwarranted and it should not prevent a person from seeking the care they need.

As the recent death of beloved celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain highlights, it is possible for anyone, even those who appear to "have it all," to live with depression and other mental health issues. What is the most important is to seek help. An evaluation is the first step in that process.

What to expect from a psychiatric evaluation

While there are several tools we can use when evaluating a patient, the first thing we do is to sit down and have a conversation. We want our patients to feel welcome and comfortable here.

This is necessary for patients being able to provide the best possible information. The testing we conduct during an evaluation may include:

1. Interviews

Asking specific questions that ascertain a person's mental and emotional state. In an interview, there is a lot of flexibility to ask follow-up questions and to let the conversation lead itself. This can be positive since it lends itself to gathering more information, but there is no "normal" to compare a person's answers to.

2. Norm-referenced tests

These tests give patients set tasks to complete or to think about. They assess a person's basic skills and knowledge. The tests compare an individual to the "norm" to determine where they fall in the range. In this way, there is less opportunity for bias on the part of the person administering the test.

3. Observations

By observing how someone behaves and interacts, it is possible to learn a lot about them, including their mental state. We usually only use this method with children since it is easier to see how they interact in their natural state and how others interact with them.

4. Informal assessments

Sometimes, we take an informal approach by listening to a patient's concerns, asking a few questions and combining that information with in-office observations.

Be honest about the symptoms

For the evaluation to be accurate, we need patients to be as honest as possible about what they are experiencing. We need to know about all of the symptoms, feelings and struggles. It can be difficult to discuss these issues because no one wants to deal with what may feel like an overwhelming set of challenges. Still, it is important to be open and honest so that we can help. We encourage patients to share things like:

  • If their problems have a negative impact on sleep
  • Changes to weight and eating habits
  • Internal thoughts and emotions
  • How they respond to stress or challenges
  • Impacts on their personal relationships
  • If work has been impacted by their emotional and mental state

Also, we need to know about any suicidal thoughts the patient may be struggling with currently or struggled with in the past.

Schedule a psychiatric evaluation

Help is only a call away. We are here and want to be of assistance. First, we need to know what the problem is. Scheduling a psychiatric evaluation with our office will allow us to find out how we can help you. Then, we will work with you to create a treatment plan and begin to help you receive healing.

To find out more information, you can reach us here: https://evolvepsychiatryalbany.com.