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How to Prepare for a Neuropsychiatric Exam

By Donna Porter ; Updated October 25, 2017

A neuropsychiatric exam is intended, in part, to measure cognitive and mental functioning, factoring in personality, intelligence, memory, learning ability and physical or mental illness or injury. Neuropsychiatric exams may be recommend following a head injury, to meet certain workers' compensation or medical insurance demands, and in a litigation process, for example. It may also be used in the diagnostic process for a variety of health concerns and provide a functional baseline for future comparison to determine disease or treatment progress. Read on to better prepare for the neuropsychiatric exam process.

Select a psychologist or neuropsychiatric that is most qualified for your particular situation. For example, choose a professional experienced with learning disorders if the patient has ADD, or a neuropsychiatrist familiar with organic brain injury when a car wreck is involved. Check credentials to ensure that the professional is well-practiced in neurology, psychology or psychiatry.

Prepare for a neuropsychiatric exam financially so that there are no surprises. Exams may take several hours over the course of one to several days. Costs for a neuropsychiatric exam often exceed $2,000. Contact your health insurance company, if applicable, to verify coverages.

Familiarize yourself with the testing process, as it varies for each individual. The test is not invasive, though it may exacerbate some frustration if the patient has cognitive deficits, mental fatigue or illness; this is normal. The neuropsychiatric exam tests, in part, one's memory, intelligence and hand-eye coordination, which may not function as well or be better than expected.

Discuss any concerns with the examiner or her staff. Discuss any medications or herbal supplements that you take, any physical limitations you have and any factors which may affect the testing schedule. While neuropsychiatric tests are less effective when divided into very short sessions, the examiner can work with you to accommodate some needs.

Promote optimal exam performance, especially if the neuropsychiatric exam affects vocational and educational pursuits or rehabilitation. Drastic changes are not recommended. Getting a good night's sleep, avoiding late night caffeine and eating a healthy diet are recommended.

Avoid performance enhancers, including energy drinks, as you prepare for a neuropsychiatric exam. While this may not dramatically affect the core results, the test results will serve the patient best if they take the neuropsychiatric exam under typical lifestyle conditions.

Tips

Relax as you prepare to take a neuropsychiatric exam. Though somewhat tiring and inconvenient, the process is generally well tolerated. Obtain copies of your test interpretation.

Warnings

Patients should not experience any overt conflicts that detract from the testing process, be it from the examiner or the environment (such as frequent outside interruptions). Speak up during the test if there is a concern.

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