The goal of psychological testing is to create a comprehensive assessment of the patient. Psychological testing uses a variety of techniques to assess a person’s behavior, personality, and capabilities. Psychological testing should be conducted by a licensed psychologist experienced in the performance and interpretation of psychological tests.
Before psychological testing begins, a formal interview is conducted by the psychologist with the patient. The interview usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes. During the interview the psychologist will ask the patient questions about his or her childhood, personal history, and family background, as well as about certain experiences the patient may have had at home, at school, at work, or at play.
Following the initial interview, the patient will be asked to complete a standardized psychological assessment administered by the psychologist. These tests are designed to determine specific aspects of the patient’s skills, knowledge, and/or personality. Standardized psychological tests allow the psychologist to measure the patient’s results against a specific measurement scale for a specific analytical concept.
If the patient is a young child, observations of the child in his or her natural setting, such as the home, school, or neighborhood, may provide the psychologist with valuable information in the child’s psychological assessment. How the child is treated by other children, teachers, and parents can help the psychologist make a psychological evaluation of the child.
In addition to standardized psychological tests, the psychologist may also make use of other materials, including projective tests, occupational tests, and academic tests to aid in the evaluation of the patient’s strengths as well as weaknesses.
Often, a personality disorder is diagnosed if enduring personality characteristics and traits become unhealthy, and maladaptive interfere with a person's social, career or personal functioning and causes clinically significant distress. Personality disorders may sometimes lead to self-destructive patterns of behaviors and thoughts, that may challenge work and personal relationships, and in some cases be life-threatening. Personality disorders tend to develop during childhood and are believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and social factors. They affect up to 10 to 15 percent of people at some point in their lives, varying greatly depending on the type and severity of the personality disorder and the affected person.
General symptoms can include:
- Mood swings
- Eccentric behaviors
- Angry outbursts
- Dramatic, erratic behaviors
- Troubled relationships
- Social isolation
- Anxious, fearful
- Lack of impulse control
- Frequent suicidal threats
- Alcohol or substance abuse
If you or someone you know seems to be experiencing any of these personality traits, it is important to seek psychological help and support, as most personality disorders are well-treated with a variety of cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal psychotherapy approaches, by a qualified Psychologist. Personality disorders can sometimes lead to depression, abuse, violence, and even suicide. The most effective treatment for personality difficulties includes psychotherapy, and in some cases, may also require medication, hospitalization or a combination of these. Working with an experienced psychologist to provide complete support is often most effective.
ADHD in Children
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common condition among children in preschool and early school years that involves trouble paying attention and controlling behavior. ADHD affects approximately two million children in the US.
ADHD is classified by symptoms of inattention and of hyperactivity / impulsiveness. A child with six or more symptoms from each category lasting for at least six months at home and at school may be diagnosed with ADHD.
These symptoms include:
- Easily distracted
- Makes careless mistakes
- Seems to not listen when spoken to
- Doesn't follow instructions properly
- Forgetful and frequently misplaces things
- Doesn't finish tasks
Hyperactivity / Impulsiveness
- Constantly fidgeting and squirming
- Feeling restless
- Runs or climbs in inappropriate situations
- Constantly talking
- Has difficulty playing quietly
- Interrupts others
ADHD occurs as a result of altered brain function and anatomy. Scientists believe that neurotransmitters in the brains of people with ADHD are not used properly. Heredity and environmental factors may also play a role.
Treatment for ADHD usually includes therapy, medication or a combination of both. The best treatment method is still under debate. However, most people benefit from a combination of therapy and medication. Symptoms of ADHD may subside as children get older, but many people also suffer during adulthood. It is important for children to see their doctor on a regular basis and continue effective treatment methods if they suffer from ADHD.
Although attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is first diagnosed in young children, many people continue to suffer from this condition as adults. Adult ADHD is typically more subtle and harder to diagnose, but affects between 30 and 70 percent of people that were diagnosed as children.
Many adults who seek treatment for depression or anxiety may actually suffer from adult ADHD. Symptoms of adult ADHD are basically the same as in children, only more subtle. They can include:
- Being easily distracted
- Trouble relaxing
- Trouble organizing
- Trouble concentrating
- Mood swings
To be diagnosed with adult ADHD, you must have a childhood diagnosis in addition to your current symptoms. Managing this condition is simple through the use of medication and psychotherapy. Making life adjustments to accommodate your condition can also help to make ADHD more manageable. Talk to your doctor today about how to treat this disorder.