In order for treatment and recovery to begin, patients will need to undergo a mental health assessment, which clinicians use to screen for mental health and substance use disorder issues. Mental health evaluations are performed so that a treatment plan can take into account different aspects of treatment. Although many patients may feel nervous before and during an assessment, the results are completely confidential and solely used to create a plan right for them. Because there is no one, true method used to determine whether a patient is suffering from a mental illness, each mental health evaluation and assessment is extensive and tailored to meet the individual’s needs.
Admitting you need help can be intimidating and evoke feelings of shame or embarrassment. We want you to feel comfortable and encourage you to read on to better understand the mental health assessment process.
The primary goal of a mental health assessment is to screen patients for various mental illnesses before crafting a treatment plan, including depression, anxiety, dementia, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mental illness is a disease just like a physical ailment and deserves the same standard of care, as mental illnesses affect a patient during everyday activities. Addiction often occurs in the presence of mental illness, so it’s very important to fully understand the link between the two disorders.
With the help of certified professionals at Lake Behavioral Health, personalized treatment is well within reach.
A mental health assessment gives clinicians a fuller picture of a patient’s physical and mental medical history. Not only does it test for mental illness, but it checks a patient who has already been referred for mental health treatment. Other reasons for mental health evaluations include helping a patient distinguish between mental and physical health problems, and evaluating the mental health of a patient recently released from the hospital.
The information collected during this assessment is completely confidential and solely used to create a custom treatment program to focus on recovery during a patient’s stay at Lake Behavioral Health.
There are a handful of tests, listed below, that clinicians perform during a mental health assessment and before admission into Lake Behavioral Health. Each test is designed to build a better picture of a patient’s full health status and will aid in perfecting a patient’s treatment options.
Sometimes physical illnesses cause symptoms mirroring a mental illness, and a physical exam can provide a true diagnosis. For example, a thyroid disorder or neurological problem often has symptoms mimicking a mental illness. It’s also essential during the exam to be upfront with the clinician about medications or supplements you take.
This final portion of the assessment puts the brain to use. A clinician will evaluate a patient’s ability to think clearly, recall information and use logical reasoning. Small tasks will gauge their ability to focus attention, remember small amounts of information, recognize objects or shapes, or solve basic math problems.
Standard of any assessment, a clinician will order the typical lab tests required, including blood work, a urine test, a brain scan, and other necessary tests to rule out a physical condition. You may also be asked about drug or alcohol use, and a substance abuse assessment will be ordered if necessary.
During the assessment, the clinician will ask questions about a patient’s lifestyle and personal history such as if they’re married, what their job is, military career, arrest record, upbringing, and if there has been recent trauma or stressors in the patient’s life.
This is where the assessment begins to get more personal; the clinician will ask questions about a patient’s thoughts, feelings, and habitual behaviors. They’ll also ask how the patient’s symptoms affect their daily lives and activities in more detail. Additionally, clinicians will ask what makes those symptoms better or worse and how the patient has attempted to manage them. Additionally, a clinician will examine a patient’s body language — how they move, if they make eye contact, how often they talk, etc.
A clinician will ask questions regarding how long your symptoms have been occurring, family and medical history of mental illness, and whether you’ve received psychiatric treatment in the past.
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