In some ways, this is one of the most important steps in the process of attaining better mental health. We do two 45 minute visits, or in some cases, one 90 minute visit, in order to do a thorough assessment. We fully define the presenting issues in order to formulate a diagnosis or problem area. Past history is often essential to understanding present issues properly. A social history is taken, which goes back to childhood and family or origin. Medical and surgery history is assessed. And a good current mental status exam is done through observation and interviewing. Many times, it can be helpful to talk to other mental health providers or health care providers, with the patient’s permission. If blood tests or other laboratories are needed, they are arranged. We maintain relationships with excellent specialists, such as neurologists, neuropsychologists, endocrinologists, internists, and surgeons if their expertise is needed to rule in or out contributing conditions.
Once the evaluation is done, the appropriate treatments can be discussed. We seek our patients preferences when there are multiple options for care, and we develop a personalized treatment plan.