Benefits of Assessment
The most beneficial factor of neuropsychological assessment is that is provides an accurate diagnosis of the disorder for the patient when it is unclear to the psychologist what exactly he/she has. This allows for accurate treatment later on in the process because treatment is driven by the exact symptoms of the disorder and how a specific patient may react to different treatments. Dr. Burke is a psychologist at Brain Therapy Center in Westlake, California who uses neuropsychological assessments to diagnose his patients. His patients usually felt like they wanted to know what was wrong with them even if the prognosis was not good. The assessment allows the psychologist and patient to understand the severity of the deficit and to allow better decision-making by both parties. It is also helpful in understanding deteriorating diseases because the patient can be assessed multiple times to see how the disorder is progressing.
One area where neuropsychological assessments can be beneficial is in forensic cases where the criminal’s competency is being questioned due to possible brain injury or damage. A neuropsychological assessment may show brain damage when neuroimaging has failed. It can also determine whether the individual is faking a disorder (malingering) in order to attain a lesser sentence.
Neuropsychological assessments usually do not take much time, with most testing completed in 6 to 12 hours or less. This time, however, does not include the role of the psychologist interpreting the data, scoring the test, making formulations, and writing a formal report.
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