A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation may be needed to diagnose 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.
Many times, families, spouses, teachers, or friends are the first to suspect that their loved one is challenged by feelings, behaviors, or environmental conditions that cause him or her to act disruptive, rebellious, or sad. This may include problems with relationships with friends 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 any of these areas to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment for mental health disorders is available.
These are the most common parts of a comprehensive, diagnostic psychiatric evaluation. But, each evaluation is different, as each person's symptoms and behaviors are different. Evaluation may include:
Description of behaviors (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 (physical and psychiatric symptoms)
Effects of behaviors or symptoms related to:
Relationships and interactions with others (like spouse, coworkers, family members, or neighbors)
Personal and family history of emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorders
Complete medical history, including description of the person'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
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 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?
How can I help him or her get better?
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 very important for any person 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 loved one.