Neuropsychological and Psychological Evaluations

What are some reasons to get an evaluation?

Some reasons for evaluations include:

  • Coming up with a proper diagnosis and determining a treatment plan.
  • Evaluating changes in cognitive functioning and personality after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), cerebrovascular accident (stroke), of other acquired brain injury.
  • Diagnosing learning disabilities or ADHD.
  • Differentiating between psychiatric and neurological conditions.
  • Determining psychological readiness prior to a surgery (ex: spinal cord stimulator or bariatric surgery)
  • Determining fitness-for-duty.
  • Differentiating between different types of neurodegenerative conditions (dementia). 

What is the Difference Between a Neuropsychological and a Psychological Evaluation?

A neuropsychological or psychological evaluation is a great place to start to come up with a proper diagnosis and a specific treatment plan. Neuropsychologists and psychologists perform comprehensive evaluations that take into account multiple factors that might be leading to a person’s symptoms, including medical history, psychosocial factors, medication side effects, and psychodiagnostic test profiles.

Neuropsychologists are trained in learning about both psychiatric conditions as well as neurological conditions, and may be ideal in performing  more complex evaluations in which there may be a question about differentiating between psychiatric and neurologic conditions. Neuropsychological evaluations at PNBC are conducted by board-certified or board-eligible neuropsychologists who have received specialized training in neurologic conditions, psychometrics, and proper interpretation of neuropsychological tests.

Similarly, a psychological evaluation focuses on comprehensive and objective evaluation of a person’s mood, behavior, and personality. The difference from neuropsychological evaluations is that psychological evaluation does not include the comprehensive assessment of cognitive functioning. A psychological evaluation is useful to determine an appropriate psychiatric diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

What is Involved in a Neuropsychological or Psychological Evaluation?

Typically, a neuropsychological or psychological evaluation will involve:

  1. A comprehensive interview with the examinee to gather information pertaining to the questions at hand.
  2. Review of relevant records (for example medical records or school reports).
  3. Psychological and/or neuropsychological testing.

After the evaluation, the evaluator writes a report that presents the results of the evaluation, a conceptualization of how the individual is functioning that addresses the referral question, and appropriate recommendations that will lead to the next steps of treatment planning. Feedback and education on the results of the evaluation are provided to patients whenever possible.