How Can Psychological Assessment be Helpful?
Psychological assessment can be helpful in a myriad of ways. For example, these evaluations are frequently useful in identifying underlying learning, developmental, psychiatric, and/or neurocognitive vulnerabilities in children, which may impact upon academic and social performance. In addition to informing the various types of medical / psychiatric interventions that may be helpful, these types of assessments also play a critical role in directing the kinds of academic / social accommodations that are provided within the school system itself. With these types of treatment and support systems in place, children are much more likely to thrive academically and socially.
Psychological assessment can also be extremely helpful with adults who may be struggling in different areas of their lives, particularly in situations where past treatments have been sub-optimal or ineffective. These evaluations provide important information not only about where someone may be struggling specifically (e.g., depression, substance use, impulsivity, personality disorders), but also with respect to comorbidity / complexity. For example, research has suggested that roughly 6 in 10 people with a substance use disorder also struggle with other forms of mental illness. As the latter remains untreated, the likelihood of successfully treating the former declines considerably. National comorbidity studies have also demonstrated the high co-occurrence of certain clusters of psychiatric disorders – for example, depression and anxiety, or substance use and impulsivity. In cases where diagnosis remains unclear, or is indicative of multiple underlying conditions, psychological assessment can be especially useful in terms of enhancing clinical clarity, and informing subsequent interventions and treatments.
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