WHY DO I NEED A NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION?
You may have visited your primary care physician or neurologist and received a referral for a neuropsychological evaluation. Or you may have been experiencing troublesome symptoms that you or your family are concerned about, and want to uncover anything that might be causing them.
Neuropsychological evaluation might be warranted if you are experiencing new or worsening symptoms of:
- Memory loss
- Attention or concentration difficulties
- Poor organizing and planning
- Difficulty multi-tasking
- Language difficulty (word or name finding, slurred speech, etc)
- Problems with visual skills
- Problems with writing or reading
- Changes in behavior
- Changes in thinking
- Difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Getting lost in known areas
Other reasons for needing a neuropsychological evaluation include:
- Ensuring correct previous diagnosis
- Guiding treatment plan
- Surgery pre-clearance
- Track changes over time
- Determine level of care needed
- Document severity of injury/illness
Some conditions which call for neuropsychological evaluation include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Learning disabilities (ADHD, dyslexia, etc.)
A note about memory loss:
Many people have difficulty with memory at some point in their lives, particularly as they age. A thorough and timely assessment can be essential to:
- Rule out conditions other than dementia that may have similar symptoms and may be treatable, including depression, chest and urinary tract infections, severe constipation, and vitamin and thyroid deficiencies.
- Give a patient and their family an explanation for their symptoms, removing uncertainty, and provide knowledge of what the next steps should be.
- Allow patients access to treatment as well as information, advice and support.
- Give patients the complete information that they need to plan and make arrangements for their future.
- Diagnose the type of dementia, if that is what is causing symptoms. Different treatment options are recommended based on what type of dementia is diagnosed.
- Give peace of mind in knowing what to expect.
If you are found to have early-stage memory loss, your doctor can guide you through the next steps. Although there is no cure for some dementia, medications such as cholinesterase inhibitors might help with symptoms like memory loss and confusion. Your doctor can explain your options and help you understand what to expect. One of the advantages of early diagnosis is the opportunity it provides patients to start planning for their own future rather than leaving it in the hands of others.