The purpose of a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation is to diagnose any number of emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorders using interview skills, laboratory data, neuropsychological testing, rating scales, neuroimaging studies, physical examination, clinical history, and collateral information if necessary. An evaluation of an adult is made based on behaviors present and in relation to physical, genetic, environmental, social, cognitive (thinking), emotional, and educational components.
The purpose and conduct of a psychiatric evaluation depend on who requests the evaluation, why it is requested, and the expected future role of the psychiatrist in the patient’s care. The outcome may or may not lead to a specific psychiatric diagnosis. At times the evaluation will have administrative or legal purposes; at others, the main goal is to establish an effective working relationship with the patient, at other times the emphasis is placed on obtaining information needed for immediate clinical recommendations and decisions.
On the basis of information obtained in the evaluation, a differential diagnosis is developed. The differential diagnosis comprises conditions (including personality disorders or personality traits) described in the DSM-V. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The initial treatment plan addresses any specific diagnoses and psychiatric needs of the patient that have been identified during the evaluation. The initial treatment plan begins with the determination of the appropriate treatment setting and includes an explicit statement of the diagnostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitative goals for treatment that include short-term and longer-term goals.
A comprehensive treatment plan addresses biological, psychological, and sociocultural domains. The psychiatrist can select from a range of individual, group, and family therapies to create an integrated multimodal treatment that includes biological and socio-cultural interventions.