What is a Psychiatric Evaluation/Medication Consultation ?
A psychiatric evaluation or psychological screening, is the process of gathering information about a person within a psychiatric service, with the purpose of making a diagnosis. The psychiatric evaluation is usually the first stage of a treatment process, but psychiatric assessments may also be used for a various legal purposes.
Medication alone is almost never the treatment of choice for most mental health problems. There is a large body of research showing the effectiveness of psychotherapy with most psychiatric conditions. In conditions such as anxiety and mood disorders, for which medication is often effective, psychotherapy is often equally effective and may significantly decrease the likelihood of relapse versus medication alone. However, medication may be a very important piece of the treatment puzzle.
Typically, a patient is seen by a psychologist or other licensed mental health provider and is receiving some form of psychotherapy before being referred for a medication evaluation. Our physicians/nurse practitioner are available to provide evaluation and psychopharmacological treatment when medication is a treatment option being considered. However, our clinicians sometimes require patients to be receiving ongoing psychotherapy with a licensed mental health provider. If the patient is not currently receiving psychotherapy it may be possible to receive such treatment from one of our other clinicians.
- Assess and enhance the safety of the patient and others.
- Establish a provisional diagnosis (or diagnoses) of the mental disorder(s) most likely to be responsible for the current emergency, including identification of any general medical condition(s) or substance use that is causing or contributing to the patient’s mental condition.
- Identify family or other involved persons who can give information that will help the psychiatrist determine the accuracy of reported history, particularly if the patient is cognitively impaired, agitated, or psychotic and has difficulty communicating a history of events. If the patient is to be discharged back to family members or other care taking persons, their ability to care for the patient and their understanding of the patient’s needs must be addressed.
- Identify any current treatment providers who can give information relevant to the evaluation.
- Identify social, environmental, and cultural factors relevant to immediate treatment decisions.
- Determine whether the patient is able and willing to form an alliance that will support further assessment and treatment, what precautions are needed if there is a substantial risk of harm to self or others, and whether involuntary treatment is necessary.
- Develop a specific plan for follow-up, including immediate treatment and disposition; determine whether the patient requires treatment in a hospital or other supervised setting and what follow-up will be required if the patient is not placed in a supervised setting.