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Are you wondering if you or someone close to you has a neuropsychiatric diagnosis such as ADHD or autism? Then a neuropsychiatric assessment may be appropriate.

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Undergoing a neuropsychiatric assessment can feel scary and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. We make the difficult easier, and in this article you will gain a better understanding of what neuropsychiatric assessment is and how it works. This is particularly relevant if you or someone close to you suspects a neuropsychiatric diagnosis such as ADHD or autism.

What is a neuropsychiatric assessment?

An assessment is a basic neuropsychiatric assessment of difficulties and strengths that identifies a person’s need for support and assistance. It involves interviews that identify neuropsychiatric symptoms of ADHD and autism in both childhood and adulthood, and how these affect different areas of life such as study, work and relationships. An ADHD assessment also includes interviews with family members to see what the symptoms were like in childhood and cognitive tests to get more information about current functioning.

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The assessment is carried out by both a licensed psychologist and a doctor who is a specialist in psychiatry who collaborate in the diagnosis. You will meet both of them during the assessment. An assessment can be an important part of the journey towards deeper self-knowledge and better psychological health. At Lavendla, we want you to get the right help and support.

Why carry out an assessment?

Often you have thought about it for a long time before doing a neuropsychiatric assessment. If you are an adult, you may have noticed that you function in a slightly different way and have certain difficulties at school, at work or in relationships. For children, the issue may be raised by the school or a parent who has noticed that something is not working. A neuropsychiatric assessment can provide several benefits and help you gain:

  • Understanding: To clarify your situation and understand why some things may be more challenging.
  • Treatment plan: With a diagnosis, you and your healthcare team can create an effective treatment plan. You can get help with concentration, planning and organization but also problems such as confidence and self-esteem.
  • Support: A diagnosis can give you access to resources and support that would otherwise not be available. For example, you are entitled to extra support for studies even as an adult.

A neuropsychiatric assessment can tell you if you have both ADHD and autism, conditions that often co-exist. While ADHD involves difficulties with attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, autism manifests itself as difficulties in social situations, you often have special interests and may have difficulty with change. Both of these diagnoses have different levels of severity, with more or less impact on everyday life. The assessment will tell you what level you have and provide you with measures adapted to your specific situation.

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How does a neuropsychiatric assessment work?

  • First meeting: It usually starts with an assessment visit where we map how your symptoms affect your life in different areas.
  • Testing and interviews: This is followed by tests and interviews with both you and your family.
  • Follow-up: After all the tests and interviews, there will be a debriefing where you will be informed of the results and recommendations for further treatment.

First step in an investigation

Taking the step to have a neuropsychiatric assessment is an important part of taking care of your health. It can seem overwhelming at first, but usually leads to a sense of relief and clarity when it’s done. A private assessment is also quick, as we often have a shorter waiting time than public healthcare. If you have more questions or want to know more about how to get the help you need, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to make the difficult things easier for you.

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Second step: Assessment for investigation

Before the actual assessment process, we start with an assessment interview with a licensed psychologist where we go through your background, your symptoms and other factors that may explain your problems. You will also fill in forms and self-assessment tests related to your behavior and difficulties. If you have symptoms that may warrant an investigation, we will proceed with it.

Third step: the neuropsychiatric assessment

An assessment usually involves meeting with a licensed psychologist, who conducts interviews and testing, and a psychiatrist, who makes an assessment and orders tests. The different parts of a neuropsychiatric assessment for adults in private practice usually include:

  • Interviews: We conduct a diagnostic interview to see how your symptoms have affected you in childhood and adulthood in areas such as work, leisure and relationships. To make sure that your symptoms have been present since childhood, we usually also have an interview with a family member. If a child is being assessed, the school is also involved in the assessment.
  • Psychological tests: Which measure attention, concentration and other cognitive functions.
  • Doctor’s visit: As part of the assessment, you will see a doctor for a neurological assessment and blood tests.

Step 4: Evaluation and diagnosis

After the assessment, the doctor and psychologist will summarize the results and make a diagnosis together. You will then receive a thorough review of the results and a psychological report with recommendations for further action. These are adapted to your situation and functional impact.

Fifth step: After the assessment

If we make a diagnosis, we will discuss different treatment options with you. This may include:

  • Medication if necessary
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) adapted to your problems
  • Support and adaptations in working life or studies

It’s also worth noting that a neuropsychiatric diagnosis also comes with certain rights, such as a study mentor and more time for exams. You may also be able to get help from the habilitation service if necessary.

How long does a neuropsychiatric assessment take?

An assessment takes about 10-20 hours in total and lasts about 6-8 weeks depending on the extent of the assessment. Assessments of children tend to be more extensive and take a little longer. Waiting times in the HSE, CAMHS or CAMH can be long, so it is possible to carry out a private investigation. These can often be done faster and give you more flexibility in planning, which is why many people choose this route. At Lavendla, we have short waiting times and we work in the same way as in public care. Here you can get support and an improved quality of life.

12 common questions and answers about neuropsychiatric assessments

What is a neuropsychiatric assessment?

A neuropsychiatric assessment is a medical evaluation used to detect neuropsychiatric conditions such as ADHD and autism. It is usually done through psychological tests, interviews and observations.

How long does a neuropsychiatric assessment take?

The timeframe can vary but takes between 10-20 hours over a period of two to three months. However, it is important to be patient as a thorough assessment is essential for a correct diagnosis.

What symptoms can lead to the need for a neuropsychiatric assessment?

Common symptoms include difficulty concentrating, impulsivity and social challenges. If you experience these symptoms, it may be an indication that an assessment may be helpful.

Do I need a referral for a neuropsychiatric assessment?

To start a neuropsychiatric assessment in public health care, you need a referral, but if you are doing an assessment privately, this is not necessary.

How much does a private neuropsychiatric assessment cost?

The cost can vary depending on where you do the assessment and whether it is in the public or private sector. Read more about our assessment costs here.

Are the results of a neuropsychiatric assessment confidential?

Yes, all information gathered during the assessment is confidential and covered by the Data Protection Act and clinician-patient confidentiality.

What treatment options are available after a neuropsychiatric assessment?

Treatment can range from medication and therapy to specialized educational methods. Thus, an individual care plan is important.

How does a diagnosis affect my life?

A diagnosis can help you understand yourself better and give you access to support and treatment. It can offer an explanation and guidance for the future.

Is it different to be a woman with a neuropsychiatric diagnosis?

Girls and women are often underdiagnosed and hide their symptoms in different ways. Hormones and self-esteem can also be affected in other ways and it is important to get the right help.

I have experienced trauma, can I have a neuropsychiatric diagnosis?

It is important that you receive a thorough assessment that takes into account all your difficulties. There is also an increased risk of being exposed to trauma if you have a neuropsychiatric diagnosis, so sometimes this can be a cause.

Can neuropsychiatric problems be cured?

It is not possible to cure a neuropsychiatric problem but it is possible to get help and support to make it easier to live with. It is important to have a good follow-up after the investigation and you may also be entitled to support through, for example, habilitation.

I have a lot of anxiety and feel depressed, can you help me with that too?

We make an assessment of the different symptoms with recommendations for treatment if you suffer from co-morbidity with other conditions.

Written by Ellen Lindgren

Licensed psychologist

Ellen is a licensed psychologist and has experience mainly in clinical psychology where she has worked with various conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, crises and trauma in primary care and psychiatry. She has also worked with research while studying in the US and with affective disorders and insomnia at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.