Psychiatric Evaluation

Also known as: psychiatric assessment, mental health assessment.

What is a pediatric psychiatric evaluation?

A psychiatric evaluation is an evaluation process with a mental health professional (a medical doctor with an MD - a psychiatrist; as opposed to a psychologist with a PhD), designed to diagnose and treat, emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions or disorders, presenting in children or adolescents.

A diagnosis may take a number of visits and evaluating sessions may involve only the child, or also include the parents.

What happens during the child's psychiatric evaluation?

During the psychiatric evaluation many topics may be covered and might include the patient's:
  • general medical health history
  • history of the problem/behavior
  • developmental history
  • mental status
  • sexual history
  • family history
  • social and environmental history
  • history and information on the use (or not) of medications
  • smoking/alcohol or other substance use

Other person's close to the child or adolescent may also be interviewed (for example family members, school personnel, personal pediatrician).

In some cases, blood, x-rays or other forms of assessments or diagnostic tests may be needed. Once a diagnosis is made, recommendations for a specific treatment plan will be outlined. Treatment may involve both the use of medications and other therapies.

Is any special preparation needed?

No special preparation is needed for an evaluation.

What are the risk factors?

In most cases, there are no risks factors related to receiving a psychiatric evaluation.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: November 19, 2019 11:23 AM

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