Psychological Assessment for the Physician

Diagnose accurately, treat effectively--these goals are the hallmark of good psychological care. Today, clinicians feel intense pressure to give high quality care in an efficient, cost-effective, and timely manner.

BAPTA helps clinicians to make definitive diagnoses and to assess clinical severity for numerous behavioral and cognitive disorders. BAPTA's state-of-the-art psychological and neuropsychological testing contributes to the development of appropriate treatment interventions Many disorders present with similar symptom profiles. In these situations, psychological testing can make crucial differential diagnoses, freeing the clinician to focus on treatment.

BAPTA offers comprehensive diagnostic capabilities for the following patient populations: cognitive disorders (including Alzheimer's and other dementias), learning disorders, closed head injuries, drug and alcohol dependence, impulse disorders, depression and other mood disorders, developmental disorders, thought disorders, personality disorders, psychosomatic disorders, malingering, and anxiety disorders. Appropriate use of psychological testing provides patients the highest standard of care and reduces the risk of costly diagnostic or therapeutic errors.

Here are some examples where the clinician might consider referring a patient for testing:

Case I : Child Out Of Control

A boy shows impulsive and agitated behaviors in the classroom and is failing his classes. Several teachers complain. In addition to medical etiologies, the child could be suffering from a disorder of mood, anxiety, or thought; "ADHD"; trauma; drug abuse; learning disabilities; or relational problems. By adding neuro-psychological and psychological testing to the standard clinical assessment, clinicians may rapidly distinguish psychological contributions from neurological, pharmacological, or other medical etiologies.

CASE II: The Confused Senior Patient

An older patient who presents with memory loss and confusion could be suffering from a variety of illnesses, including Alzheimer's or multi-infarct dementia, Pick's disease, alcohol dependence, depression (the "pseudo-dementia"), delirium or emotional trauma. Psychological testing, when combined with suitable medical tests, not only provides a precise diagnosis, but also indicates the severity of the patient's deficits and the disease trajectory. Clinicians who use psychological testing can serve this growing population well by offering effective treatment to a difficult group.

CASE III: The "Stressed-Out" Adult

This adult patient complains of work difficulties, problems in relationships, insomnia, and many vague physical symptoms, and may want to take sick or disability leave from employment. A work-up that includes psychological testing enables the clinician to distinguish between depression, stress, malingering, and drug or alcohol abuse. Alcoholic patients are difficult to diagnose because they often minimize their drinking and may resist treatment until their illness progresses to later stages. Substance abuse assessments are a standard feature of psychological testing.

CASE IV: The Psychosomatic Patient

Patients who request endless medical work-ups to the frustration of their physicians, are often seen as "untreatable" and referred to clinicians. Psychological testing can reveal an underlying disorder of mood, anxiety, or personality, thereby helping the clinician to make appropriate pharmacological or psychotherapeutic recommendations.

When used judiciously, psychological tests have high levels of diagnostic accuracy. For example, the reliability of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, used to measure cognitive strengths and weaknesses, ranges from an impressive .93 to .97. In addition, the Halstead Reitan Neuropsychological Battery can identify brain damaged from non-brain-damaged controls beyond the .001 level of significance. Moreover, tests such as the Bender Gestalt and the Trail Making Test can accurately predict the extent to which patients with head trauma may function independently. Accuracy is enhanced when the psychologist develops the appropriate battery of tests to answer specific diagnostic and personality questions.

As a specialty clinic, BAPTA restricts its work to psychometric assessments and sets itself apart from the generalist psychologist by limiting its work to testing conducted by specialist examiners. This focus ensures that the highest levels of predictive accuracy are made available. BAPTA's hallmarks are state-of-the-art neuropsychological and psychological diagnostics, individualized treatment recommendations, and expert testimony.

Bay Area Psychological Testing Associates
1057 MacArthur Blvd. #206
San Leandro, CA 94577
Telephone (415) 296-8081

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Copyright 2002, Bay Area Psychological Testing Associates