Mental health or illness tests lack a single direct way of establishing if a person suffers from psychological sicknesses or is fully healthy.
Instead, the only assurance you can have during its diagnosis is through a mental health professional who has performed a comprehensive evaluation. The following are the steps involved during mental health tests.
During diagnosis, a primary care physician (PCP) or a general practitioner will initially rule out physical health conditions. Some medical disorders can cause significant symptoms to mental illnesses, so lab tests or full physical exams may be necessary. For instance, thyroid disease may mimic depression symptoms. Therefore, addressing the thyroid condition first will help a patient feel better emotionally.
After ruling out physical health conditions, a PCP may proceed with diagnosis to determine the possibility of mental illness. PCPs have qualifications required to diagnose psychological conditions such as major depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Sometimes, they even prescribe the appropriate medication for any mental conditions they discover.
However, PCPs quite often may refer patients who have suspected mental illnesses to mental health professionals. They may recommend patients to consult psychotherapists to start therapy or psychiatrists for medication management.
Mental Health Professional
A mental health professional will begin the diagnosis by interviewing the patient. Questions may include symptoms and its history, challenges faced, and any other information related to the mental illness. Also, family members may be required for the interviews, especially during children’s diagnosis, severe sicknesses, disabled patients, or those who lack the necessary knowledge about their conditions.
Usually, a mental health professional may need to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) to perform diagnostic tests. The main reason is the DSM-5 helps to outline the criteria for each mental sickness.
At times, psychologists may need to perform psychological tests, which are essential assessment tools required for administration.
Psychological testing is crucial for clarifying patients’ diagnoses, identifying their IQ or any learning disabilities, brain injuries, and dementia. Psychologists may perform these tests using a computer, written questions, or give tests orally for patients to describe how they feel, think, and behave.
Screening Mental Health Tests
Screening tests do not diagnose mental health disorders, but they can indicate if further evaluation is essential. However, some physicians administer screening tests during annual physical examinations, to establish whether a person may have mental illnesses, such as anxiety or depression. Administration may involve a simple list of questionnaires.
PCP or mental health professionals may also use screening tests to determine whether further assessment is crucial for the potential of substance or drug abuse. For instance, a few simple questions can identify if an individual has alcohol use disorder.
Additionally, one can access screening tests online, such as Mental Health America’s website. This site provides screening tools that can establish if you should contact your doctor about anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, psychosis, PTSD, among other mental health issues.
Also, it has screening tools for children, which parents can supervise.
Final Thoughts from the Recover
If you suspect that you or a loved one has mental health issues, consult a physician immediately for help. Addressing mental illnesses early enough can prevent possible risks for future worse problems. Therefore, performing all mental health tests can help to establish and treat possible risky psychological disorders.
Also, ensure to search our list of available rehab centers near you for the support that concerns your mental health needs.