Mental Health Evaluation 

Mental health evaluations assist mental health professionals in diagnosing and treating mental illness and co-occurring disorders. 

A mental health evaluation gives a doctor, counselor, psychologist or other licensed professional a picture of the way a person feels, reasons, thinks and remembers. Through a series of questions and observations, a professional can diagnose a number of mental disorders.
Some mental disorders an evaluation may help diagnose include:
Depression and mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Attention Deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance abuse and addictive disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders

In addition to determining if a person suffers from a mental condition, the evaluation can help determine whether a person has co-occurring substance use disorder. 
People shouldn’t be nervous about a mental health evaluation. Evaluations can help professionals understand an individual’s mental health needs and determine a treatment plan or path to recovery.

Signs and Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a few signs and symptoms may indicate the need for a mental health evaluation. Catching a mental health disorder early may prevent it from getting worse or stop it from happening.

Some symptoms include:
- An unusual drop in functioning at work or school and in daily activities
- Changes in sleep or appetite
-Difficulty with memory, thinking and other mental tasks
-Exaggerated beliefs about personal powers or magical thinking
-Feeling disconnected from surroundings
-Heightened sensitivity to sight, touch, sound or taste
-Loss of desire, apathy
-Mood changes
-Paranoia or fear or others
-Unusual behavior
-Withdrawal or loss of interest from activities

How to Prepare for a Mental Health Evaluation

Nothing special is required to prepare for an evaluation. However, it is a good idea to think about the reasons for the assessment. Writing in a journal about thoughts and feelings in the days and weeks before the evaluation appointment may also help.

Some things to think about include:

- Mental health symptoms
- Troubling thoughts and behaviors
- Events that may make the symptoms worse
- How long the symptoms last
- How often the symptoms occur
- A list of your current and past medications
- A list of current a past treatment mental health and health care professionals. 

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