Psychological Evaluation in Orange County, CA
For individuals who may be suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder, a psychiatric assessment, also commonly referred to as a psychological evaluation, is the first step in developing a mental health treatment plan. Psychiatric assessments are also used in legal settings like commitment hearings, child custody cases and disability determinations. Family members often request psychiatric assessments for spouses, children or parents who need treatment but may not realize they are suffering from a mental disorder.
Depending on who requested the evaluation and its purpose, the psychiatrist must determine whether the priority is to develop an effective working relationship with the patient, or alternatively, if it is to obtain comprehensive information efficiently. The priority established will shape the nature of the evaluation.
The primary goals of a psychological evaluation are:
- To determine whether there is a diagnosable psychiatric disorder that requires treatment by a psychiatrist
- To collect data to establish the proper diagnosis
- To determine if an emergency intervention is needed to address safety issues for the patient or others (confidentiality issues and consent become arguable if the psychiatrist believes the patient is a danger to self or others)
- To develop either a short-term or long-term treatment plan
To schedule a psychological evaluation with a psychiatric specialist in Orange County, call (949) 202-5268 or contact Debra A Hill, MD online.
What to Expect from Psychiatric Assessments
The evaluation will generally begin with the patient interview but may include interviews with sources close to the patient, as well as a physical examination, review of medical records and diagnostic testing. Any psychological or psychiatric treatment history will be particularly relevant.
The psychiatrist may use rating scales and functional assessments, as well as a battery of psychological and neuropsychological testing. A range of medical diagnostic testing may be necessary, from thyroid testing to toxicology and drug screenings.
Psychiatric assessments do not always result in a formal diagnosis. There can be a determination of potential psychological disorders which have no medical component and cannot be treated with psychotropic medication. In this case, there may be a referral to psychological counseling for treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy or group counseling. Psychotropic medication may be recommended as a short-term intervention or perhaps for long-term treatment. Issues like family history, side effects of certain drugs and medical conditions will be considered.
Who Has Access to the Results of the Psychological Evaluation
In medical, psychological and psychiatric relationships, confidentiality is the law unless it is determined that the patient is a danger to self or others. If there are no emergency safety concerns, the patient's consent is required to share any information contained in a psychiatric evaluation.
If, however, the psychological evaluation was required as part of a legal process (disability determination, child custody case, involuntary commitment hearing, etc.), the legal entity who ordered the evaluation will be provided with the results. Unless court-ordered, the individual being evaluated can choose whether or not to participate in the assessment process.
If you are considering a psychiatric evaluation for yourself or someone else, request more information about psychiatric assessments today. Call (949) 202-5268 or contact Debra A Hill, MD online.
Debra A Hill, MD
Address24891 Sausalito St
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
By Appointment Only
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Fri: By Appointment Only