The mental health professional asks the patient open-ended and diagnosis-specific questions to elicit answers that may be relevant in diagnosing a mental health condition. The goal is to learn more about the patient’s current problems and symptoms as well as their personal and family psychiatric and medical histories.
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 components that may be affected as a result of the behaviors presented.
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 them 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 is important for families who suspect a problem in one, or more, of these areas to seek treatment as soon as possible.
There are three major types of psychiatric evaluations: a general psychiatric evaluation, an emergency evaluation and a clinical consultation.