Mental Health Assessment

Excess of everything is bad! In today’s mechanized world, people are no better than ATM machines, working 24x7x365. It is obvious that too much of work and competition has caused a multitude of health problems, ranging from common lifestyle diseases to serious mental health disorders, like anxiety, depression and panic attacks. If not treated properly, these problems which seem to be very generic, can prove fatal. Thus, getting a proper health assessment becomes necessary, to diagnose the problem at the right time.

While some psychologists blame the busy and hectic schedules to problems like stress, depression and anxiety, but there are diverse social and psychological factors that influence the cause, presentation and course of the mental health disorders.  A mental health assessment lets the doctor diagnose your problem, be it mood swings, childhood disorders, cognitive & personality disorders, diseases of the nervous system like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Epilepsy and Parkinson’s diseases or substance related disorders, like cocaine and alcohol dependence. A successful treatment helps differentiate between mental and physical problems and encourage the patients to develop a positive attitude towards life.

Mental health assessment includes an interview with a doctor and some physical and written tests, depending on the nature of the problem. It basically tests each and every aspect of your personality, like the way you talk, see, behave, interact, your ability to think, reason and remember. Physical tests include review of your, as well as your family’s medical history. The doctor may refer to some blood tests, to check thyroid hormone functioning, electrolyte levels and toxicology screening, for drug or alcohol related problems. The psychometric tests for mental health assessment includes written and oral tests, where the patient is asked to fill questionnaires, answers given to which are then analyzed to determine the status of the problem. A proper mental health checkup may take a few weeks or months, depending on the nature and scale of the problem. But, you should never take these check ups lightly and follow the advice given by the doctor.

Now a days, many mental heath clinics have come up, which specialize in dealing with the problems that children and adolescents face today. Lack of time for recreation and extreme pressure to perform in examinations, has seriously affected the quality of life of children and teenagers. The communication gap between children and parents also leads to some psychological problems, which can generate suicidal tendencies in children, at times. Apart from these, the increasing crime rate, alcohol and drug abuse are some of the problems that come up, while doing mental health assessment of children and adolescents. Studies have shown that people with mental health disorders are more prone to smoking than the general public. Though nicotine is said to have a relaxing effect and better concentration level, useful specially for Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s patients, but it is also true that it gives just temporary relief and doesn’t solve the base of the problem. Infact, smoking affects the absorption of some anti-psychotic medications like akathesia (for restlessness) and tardive dyskinesia (for slower involuntary movements), thus postponing the recovery of the patients.

In order to provide a healthy work environment and to maintain the efficiency of the employees, most of the companies hire HR professionals, Industrial Psychologists and Counselors, who regularly review the feedback given by the employees and  implement the suggested changes. Organizing some rejuvenating mental health programs, is also the responsibility of the HR department of the companies. Yoga, meditation, music concerts and sports events etc., organized by private companies every now and then, do help in rejuvenating the senses and give a break from the hectic schedule of work life.

In most of the legal cases, Forensic health assessment helps assess civil, criminal and family law cases, ranging from murder and assault to malpractice and child custody. Psychologists are also needed in jails, to transform the prisoners and help them get back on the right track.

People suffering from mental health disorders often face repelling attitude from the society, which can be very humiliating for both the patients as well as their families. Thus, getting the treatment at the right time is very crucial for them. Although a primary care doctor can also do a mental heath check-up, but visiting a psychologist or psychiatrist is usually advisable. Social workers, community mental health nurses, counselors and occupational therapists can also help in some cases. The most important part of the treatment is to the patient to mental health clinics. A proper communication between the patient and the doctor is necessary, without which, it gets hard to diagnose the root of the problem.

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