PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION AND NEUROLOGICAL SCREENING

A psychological evaluation is a mental health test that looks at a range of characteristics that include cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and executive functioning. A neurological screening test, also called a neuropsychological screening, is used when certain items in the psychological screening indicate possible neurological damage such as brain injury, autism, and dyslexia.

There is a lot of overlap in these screenings; the difference is that the first is a broad exam while the second looks for specific disorders based on atypical findings in a mental health screening.

Mental Health Testing Looks at Broad Characteristics

A psychological evaluation is a mental health test that looks at broad personal characteristics.

  • Appearance. How is the person dressed? How is their hygiene? Posture?
  • Behavior. Has the person or others close to him or her reported behavior changes?
  • Attentiveness.
  • Motor and speech activity.
  • Mood and affect. Does the person see himself as happy, sad, fearful, or angry?
  • Thoughts and perceptions. Do they fall within normal limits?
  • Attitude and insight.
  • Higher cognitive abilities. There may be I.Q. and achievement testing to measure items like abstract thought, judgment, and verbal comprehension.

Some of these items may be further examined in neurological evaluation when they appear outside norms.

It is important to remember that mental health issues may have origins in the physical, as well as the psychological realms. Families that are uncertain about their loved one’s ability to function on their own may seek a mental health examination. An attorney or a judge concerned about a defendant’s competency for trial or even to sign legal documents can also order it.

Neurological Screening Identifies Potential Disorders of the Brain

A neurological evaluation is extremely useful when items in the psychological evaluation indicate a mental health issue that is physical in origin. At this juncture, there is a closer look at items revealed during the mental health screening, including:

  • History of psychiatric illness
  • Aberrant behavior or thinking
  • Difficulties in day-to-day performance on the job or in social situations  

This information is useful ensuring a client receives appropriate care.

To learn more about mental health testing, get in touch with Marsha Ferrick.