Health Library Explorer
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A-Z Listings Contact Us
Pediatric Health Library
Translate
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Topic IndexLibrary Index
Click a letter to see a list of conditions beginning with that letter.
Click 'Topic Index' to return to the index for the current topic.
Click 'Library Index' to return to the listing of all topics.

Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation for Children

What is a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation?

A comprehensive psychiatric evaluation may help to diagnose any number of emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorders. An evaluation of a child or adolescent is made based on behaviors present and in relation to physical, genetic, environmental, social, cognitive (thinking), emotional, and educational components that may be affected as a result of the behaviors presented.

When should a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation be sought?

Many times, parents are the first to suspect that their child or teen is challenged by feelings, behaviors, and/or environmental conditions that cause them to act disruptive, rebellious, or sad. This may include, but is not limited to, problems with relationships with friends and/or family members, school, sleeping, eating, substance abuse, emotional expression, development, coping, attentiveness, and responsiveness. It's important for families who suspect a problem in one or more of these areas to seek treatment as soon as possible. Treatment for mental health disorders is available.

What is involved in a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation?

The following are the most common components of a comprehensive, diagnostic psychiatric evaluation. However, each evaluation is different, as each child's symptoms and behaviors are different. Evaluation may include:

  • Description of behaviors present (for example, when do the behaviors occur, how long does the behavior last, what are the conditions in which the behaviors most often occur)

  • Description of symptoms noted (physical and psychiatric symptoms)

  • Effects of behaviors or symptoms as related to:

    • School performance

    • Relationships and interactions with others (for example, parents, siblings, classmates, or teachers)

    • Family involvement

    • Activity involvement

  • Psychiatric interview

  • Personal and family history of emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorders

  • Complete medical history, including description of the child's overall physical health, list of any other illnesses or conditions present, and any treatments currently being administered

  • Laboratory tests, in some cases (may used to determine if an underlying medical condition is present), including:

    • Blood tests

    • Radiology studies to look for abnormalities, especially in the brain

    • Educational assessments

    • Speech and language assessments

    • Psychological assessments

A parent's concerns when a child is being evaluated

It's natural, and quite common, for a parent to question himself or herself when it becomes necessary for a child or adolescent to be psychiatrically evaluated. Parents may have many questions and concerns as to the welfare and emotional well-being of their child. Common questions parents frequently ask include:

  • What's wrong with my child?

  • Is my child abnormal?

  • Did I do something wrong in raising them to cause this condition?

  • Does my child need to be hospitalized?

  • Will my child require treatment?

  • Will my child "outgrow" these behaviors?

  • Is this just "a phase" my child is going through?

  • What will treatment cost?

  • Where do I go for help for my child?

  • What does this diagnosis mean?

  • How can my family become involved?

If a diagnosis is made based on 1, or more, psychiatric evaluations, parent, and family involvement in treatment is extremely important for any child or adolescent with a mental health disorder. Your child's doctor or mental health practitioner will address your questions and provide reassurance by working with you to establish long-term and short-term treatment goals for your child.

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Roux, Susan L., ARNP
Date Last Reviewed: 9/8/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered By Krames StayWell
Copyright © Krames StayWell except where otherwise noted.
About Us
  • Follow Us On:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Health Hub
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • RSS
  •  
  • Bookmark and Share
© Brigham and Women's Hospital | 75 Francis Street, Boston MA 02115 | 617-732-5500