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What to Expect from a Mental Evaluation

Nancy MacGregor MA, ATR-BC, LPC, ACS, Clinical Director

A mental evaluation, which is also referred to as a mental health evaluation, psychiatric diagnostic evaluation or a psych eval, helps medical professionals determine an individual’s mental state. These psych evals are vital because their results ensure the patient receives the best treatment for the mental health issue that he or she is experiencing. A feeling of anxiousness before this type of evaluation is common. Therefore, to help patients feel more comfortable, information about what to expect during this particular appointment is referenced below.

Most Patients Feel Anxious Before Their Mental Evaluation

Many patients feel anxious before they complete their mental health evaluation, which is typical. Nevertheless, knowing what will happen during a psychiatric diagnostic evaluation and the reasons for this evaluation usually helps individuals feel more comfortable about this appointment.

A patient benefits from having a mental evaluation because it gathers crucial information that the medical professional uses to understand how the patient feels, thinks, reasons and remembers.

Individuals who benefit from psych evals include those who have:

  • Concerns about their future.
  • Persistent social or behavioral issues.
  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Difficulties at school or at work.

What does a Mental Health Evaluation Provide the Doctor?

Once the patient answers a variety of questions and performs certain physical tests, the doctor can use the patient’s results to diagnose numerous mental disorders.

Mental disorders a psych eval can help doctors diagnose include:

  • Eating disorders (e.g., anorexia nervosa, pica, bulimia nervosa).
  • Mood disorders (e.g., bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder).
  • Anxiety disorders (e.g., agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder).
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Addictive and substance abuse disorders (e.g., stimulant-related disorders, alcohol-related disorders).
  • Psychotic disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, delusional disorder).

Besides determining if an individual is suffering from a mental condition, the psych eval also helps the medical professional determine if the individual has a dual diagnosis due to a co-occurring substance-use disorder. Furthermore, a mental evaluation helps rule out that the patient’s symptoms result from some other health issue (e.g., thyroid disease).

What to Expect During an Appointment for a Mental Evaluation

Upon arriving for a mental health evaluation, the doctor and patient work together to detail his or her family and medical history. Since some mental health disorders are inherited, gathering both biological and social information helps the doctor understand the patient’s overall mental health perspective.

Once the doctor completes documenting the patient’s biological and social information, he or she receives a questionnaire, which is the mental health evaluation. There are no wrong answers; this questionnaire is designed to assist the doctor with determining the patient’s current state of mind, which psychological symptoms the patient is experiencing and potential treatment options.

Creating a Personalized Mental Health Treatment Plan

Each patient receives a treatment plan that caters to his or her particular mental health disorder. Harmony Bay’s mental health professionals take the time to review the treatment plan with the patient. By detailing each treatment within the patient’s plan, he or she can appreciate the benefits and risks associated with each treatment option.

Preparing for a Mental Evaluation

While there is nothing special that patients need to do to prepare for a psych eval, thinking about the reasons they need the assessment is a good idea. For example, they should consider writing down the way they feel and their thoughts for several days or weeks before their mental evaluation. Keeping track of this information can help them provide accurate information on their questionnaire.

Some information to keep track of during these days includes:

  • Symptoms directly associated with mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety).
  • Issues that tend to increase the severity of their mental health symptoms.
  • Disturbing behaviors.
  • Bothersome thoughts.
  • How often their mental health symptoms occur and how long these symptoms last.

If you, or someone you love, is suffering with a mental health issue, do a search online for a mental evaluation near me. However, if you happen to be in the South New Jersey area, Harmony Bay’s doctors can help. Please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of the mental health professionals at Harmony Bay. To schedule an appointment, please call 855-765-6399.

Mental Health Help with Harmony Bay Wellness

Between the healthy coping skills mentioned above and professional help, you can overcome PTSD and start becoming the person you want to be. At Harmony Bay Wellness, we offer specialized treatment programs backed by evidence-based mental health therapies to help you change your life. If you or someone you love can benefit from PTSD therapy, contact us today at 855.857.6050.

Treatment with Harmony Bay

Harmony Bay is an outpatient behavioral health service that offers primary mental health treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. Our mission is to make mental health care convenient and affordable while providing an unmatched experience to our clients. contact us today by calling 855.765.6399.