You might be familiar with some kinds of psychological evaluations like the Rorschach Inkblot test or the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory – III (MCMI-III). Similarly, neuropsychological tests measure some personality or cognitive elements present in a person.
Like psychological tests, these assessments are equally beneficial to clinicians and psychologists, particularly neuropsychologists.
What Are Neuropsychological Tests?
Clinicians use neuropsychological tests to characterize and provide insight into one’s cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions. These are especially useful for people who have (or have experienced):
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Brain damage
Additionally, neuropsychological tests allow a clinician or neuropsychologist to gather information about motor, linguistic, and higher functioning skills. This understanding of a person’s psychological functioning is a prime consideration in neuropsychological testing.
There are a few psychological tests that are used in a neuropsychological capacity and have proven helpful in diagnosing patients and learning more about complex comorbidities. The Weschler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV) and the Wescher Memory Scale (WMS), for example, are two types of psychological assessments that serve a purpose in neuropsychology. Certain disorders that affect calculation skills and attention span can be detected by WAIS-IV. While they do not pinpoint a diagnosis for mental health illnesses and disturbances, they do provide valuable insight and can assist clinicians in making a diagnosis possible. Other tests like the Halstead-Reitan Battery assessment is used to identify whether certain disturbances are of an organic or functional nature. Ideally, results from this type of evaluation will help doctors to distinguish between patients with and without brain damage or other diseases.
Mental Illness, Substance Abuse and Neuropsychological Tests
Mental illness and substance abuse play a role in neuropsychological evaluations. The presence of one or both can change testing results but, in turn, they can also provide information into a person’s psychological state. The American Academy of Neurology’s article on neuropsychological testing on adults noted that both mental health disorders and substance abuse or addiction can influence many psychological traits. For example, a person with alcoholism often shows impairment in attention, problem-solving, and abstraction. Conversely, depression and severe depression often are accompanied by impairment in motor skills, cognitive abilities and memory.
Testing and Rehabilitation
Evaluations like those mentioned above can prove advantageous to rehabilitation and treatment facilities. Because neuropsychological tests assist in diagnoses of mental health disorders, clinicians can better determine whether some traits are inherent (“organic”) or functional (meaning a result of brain trauma or the onset of a disease such as Alzheimer’s). The results of such tests can guide and influence an individual’s treatment and ongoing recovery.
By understanding how a person’s brain works and what contributes to certain behaviors, a person can be helped in the most appropriate way.
FRN is host to a great team of psychologists, counselors, and clinicians who are working with your utmost well-being in mind. Neuropsychological testing is just one aspect of our treatment plans. It benefits our staff to know what exactly you are experiencing, and it helps you to better understand your experience as well. Together, we can work out an individualized rehabilitation and recovery plan that addresses your unique needs and goals. Call us today.
David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.