When you decide that it’s finally time to explore options for taking care of your mental health, it’s normal to have questions about what to expect. It’s important to know what a psychiatric evaluation is vs a psychological evaluation before seeking treatment. Our psychiatric evaluations in South Florida will help you decide which treatment is right for you.

What Is A Psychiatric Evaluation?

A psychiatric evaluation is a diagnostic tool used to assess where you are at the start of treatment. It can help the psychiatrist determine if there are any issues with your behavior, memory, or thought processes. In the event that there are multiple areas of focus, the psychiatric evaluation helps the psychiatrist triage needs and plan an appropriate course of treatment.

Types Of Psychiatric Evaluations In South Florida

When asking what is a psychiatric evaluation, it’s important to know that there are three primary types of psychiatric evaluations that are used under varying circumstances.

Emergency Evaluation

Emergency evaluations are performed only under extraordinary circumstances, and almost always when an individual’s health and safety are an immediate concern. Individuals may:

  • Be uncooperative, agitated, or violent
  • Show signs of confusion or hallucinations
  • Pose a risk to themselves, family, or other people
  • Pose a threat of self-harm or harm to someone else

Emergency evaluations are performed in the emergency room and are performed first by a non-psychiatric physician and then a psychiatrist. The vast majority of people who need an emergency evaluation have experienced recent trauma or are under the influence of drugs.

General Psychiatric Evaluation

The general psychiatric evaluation is a general assessment to determine if an individual has a mental illness or illnesses that require psychiatric care. The evaluation can take as little as 30 minutes but may last 90 or more minutes. The longer the evaluation, the more comprehensive the data collected, which provides a more detailed picture for the psychiatrist. 

This assessment involves a series of questions, a review of the person’s medical history, may involve routine lab work, as well as talking with the individual’s friends and loved ones. 

Clinical Consultation

The clinical consultation is a diagnostic tool to help assess individuals who are unable to request a psychiatric evaluation on their own. Some mental illnesses severely impact the way a person thinks or behaves and the consultation helps to inform treatment options. Clinical consultation is usually requested by a medical doctor or family members. 

What Is A Psychological Evaluation?

A psychological evaluation is a mental health assessment or screening that is performed by a psychologist. This evaluation helps diagnose mental health disorders, such as:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Dementia
  • Intellectual disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance Abuse Disorder

The evaluation helps the psychologist determine what symptoms are present; the severity of the symptoms and how long they have been present. It can also help the psychologist uncover if there are any underlying causes for mental health disorders. In addition, psychological testing can help determine:

  • Existing coping strategies
  • Learning disabilities
  • Personality style of the individual
  • Issues that may be influencing behavior

Types Of Psychological Evaluations

There are four primary psychological evaluations:

Behavioral Assessment

This diagnostic tool helps psychologists get to the root of what may be causing problematic behaviors — especially if the reason is unclear. It assesses behaviors and emotions.

Clinical Interview

There are two types of clinical interviews: structured clinical and clinical diagnostic interviews. These help to provide a clearer picture of underlying causes to provide a more accurate mental health diagnosis.

Personality Assessment

This tool is used to help inform treatment by taking into account the genetic, social, and environmental aspect of the person’s personality. 

Intelligence Testing

There are two primary tests to measure intelligence: intelligence tests and neuropsychological assessment. This test is designed to assess cognitive abilities and intelligence potential.

Psychiatric Evaluation Vs Psychological Evaluation: What’s The Difference?

When considering your treatment options, it’s important to understand the difference between psychiatric evaluation vs psychological evaluation. 

A psychiatric evaluation is performed by a psychiatrist, who is a medical doctor and is considered a medical procedure. These types of evaluations take into account your mental and physical health. Treatment is holistic and is often focused on biological and pharmaceutical therapies.

Psychological evaluations are performed by psychologists who are licensed practitioners, but not medical doctors. Evaluations may consist of structured tests and interviews with the individual — and they may include the family. They are focused on the psychological, social, and emotional aspects of a person’s health, but do not assess physical symptoms. Treatment is generally focused on behavioral therapies.

When considering which option is best for you, it’s helpful to ask yourself:

  • Do I want to focus on mental or psychical symptoms, or both?
  • Will I need medication?
  • Do I want help getting educational or employment accommodations for a disability?
  • What kind of treatment or therapy do I want?

Psychiatric Evaluations In South Florida

Getting help for your mental health disorder is a brave first step in living a meaningful and fulfilling life. Neuroscience Institute provides psychiatry services to help you find relief from mental health disorder symptoms and to get you on the road to recovery. The time to heal is now. Call us at (561) 621-2408 or contact us today to find out about your psychiatric treatment options.