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 parts that
may be affected as a result of these behaviors.
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 him
or her to act disruptive, rebellious, or sad. This may include 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 parts 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 (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 noted (physical and psychiatric symptoms)
Effects of behaviors or symptoms as related to:
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 current treatments
Lab tests, in some cases (may be used to determine if an underlying medical condition
is present), including:
Radiology studies to look for abnormalities, particularly in the brain structures
Speech and language 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, 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?
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 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