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September 23, 2016

Neuropsychological Evaluation

What is the purpose of neuropsychological testing? Neuropsychological tests can be helpful to determine the reasons for changes in the following areas: cognitive functioning, behavior, day-to-day tasks at work/school and/or home, and self-care (e.g., money management, ability to make personal decisions).

A variety of conditions typically warrant neuropsychological testing. Here are some examples: cognitive problems of unclear cause; dementia (e.g., Alzheimer’s); ADHD; learning disorders; traumatic brain injury and concussions; Movement disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s); multiple sclerosis; stroke and cerebrovascular disease; brain tumor; infectious diseases (e.g., Lyme disease); metabolic illness or toxin exposure; learning disorders; psychiatric disorders; and alcohol and substance use disorders.

What is a neuropsychological test? Neuropsychological testing is a scientifically-based way to use paper-and-pencil and computerized tasks to assess an individual’s functioning in the following domains: intellectual ability (I.Q.); academic skills; memory; attention and concentration; information processing speed; executive functions such as impulse control, organization, decision making, and ability to think flexibly; language skills; visual-spatial skills; motor and sensory skills; mood and personality.

What is involved in a typical neuropsychological evaluation? An evaluation typically includes three steps. First, a clinical interview is conducted to gather information about your symptoms, medical history, and other relevant information. Second, you will take a neuropsychological test that includes paper-and-pencil and computerized tasks that are used to assess many or all of the abilities listed in the section above. The type of test is selected based on the needs of each client. However, testing usually takes several hours. Third, results and recommendations are compiled in a report. The report will be available you about 2 to 3 weeks after your visit, and thorough written and verbal feedback with recommendations will be provided to you.

Feedback is tailored to the individual client. Some examples of feedback include: identification of strengths and weaknesses; identifying of problems that might not be easily detected by other kinds of tests (e.g., brain scans, blood tests); development of an informed treatment by identifying appropriate diagnoses and other potential contributing factors such as mood, fatigue and medication; identification of helpful strategies to compensate for difficulties; guidance on accommodations for school or work; establishing a “baseline” before significant problems appear in cases of suspected progressive conditions; and monitoring the effects of treatment (e.g., medication, neurosurgery, psychotherapy).

Are there any other services I can get at Hanover Psychiatry after I receive the results of the evaluation? Yes! Treatment is also available at Hanover Psychiatry including psychotherapy, cognitive remediation of executive functions, and medication management.

Eligibility for neuropsychological testing services at Hanover Psychiatry: These services are offered to patients 16 years of age and older who are motivated to participate in the testing process, medically stable, not undergoing significant medication changes, and are able to abstain from abusing substances prior to the test.

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