Neuropsychological Assessment Of Adults

Neuropsychological Assessments involve the relationship between our organic brain functions and our behavior. Much more than the brief neurological exam that you might get at a neurologist’s office, Neuropsychs are often 8-10 hours long and are typically very, very detailed, although some Neuropsychs may take less time, depending upon the specific referral questions.

Neuropsychological Assessments are investigations into cognitive behavior and are best used to answers questions about an individual’s Attention, Concentration, Memory and Cognition (thinking skills). They are especially useful for investigating brain-behavior functions in suspected cases of Alzheimer’s, dementia, medication or medical side-effects, Traumatic Brain Injury, concussion, learning disabilities and failure to improve after medical or therapeutic intervention.

But not every referral condition requires a Neuropsychological Assessment. They are very long and very detailed and very expensive and many insurance companies don’t want to pay for them. Fortunately, most referral questions simply can be answered by a standard Psychological Assessment, Academic Assessment, Personality Assessment or Clinical Assessment, although many insuance companies don’t want to pay for those, either.

Neuropsychs are the “gold standard” of Psychological Assessments and are typically indicted when a standard Psychological Assessment won’t be enough to answer a referral question. Your Clinical Psychologist can advise you on which type of Psychological Assessment is best for you, based upon what the issue is.

Conditions Benefiting From Neuropsychological Assessment

Neuropsychological Assessment really started in the Veterans Hospitals after World War II. With all the closed and open head injuries that soldiers, sailors and civilians experienced, psychologists needed a way to understand the changes that occurred after an individual experienced a head injury.
So hospitals soon adopted the Neuropsychological Assessment model when trying to understand other kinds of neurological injuries, such as strokes, aneurism, anoxia, epilepsy and brain surgery. As Neuropsychological Assessments became more sophisticated, it was realized that they can also indicate brain damage even if attempts at using neuroimaging techniques have not indicated any damage.
Some conditions where Neuropsychological Assessment can be helpful include:
In Forensic (legal) Matters:

• Questions of competency can be addressed when there are issues of aging,  brain injury or psychological damage.
• Questions of malingering (“faking bad”) can also be addressed if it is suspected that an individual might be trying to obtain a lesser sentence.

In Cognitive Matters:

• Intelligence testing is one way to determine if there is a problem with brain-behavior relationships. Assessing the many individual test scores that were achieved can indicate the existence of a verbal learning disability (LD)or non-verbal learning disability (NVLD) or brain dysfunction or damage.
• Individual Sensory Perception or Sensory Integration issues can also be assessed
• Motor functions (both gross motor and fine motor)
• Matters of Attention, Memory and Concentration can be evaluated
• Auditory and Visual information processing can be evaluated
• Expressive and Receptive language problems can be identified
• An individual’s problem solving ability and the ability to plan and organize can be measured
• Speed of cognitive processing can also be measured and compared with baseline functioning

In Medical Matters:

• Detection of dementia, Alzheimer’s or cognitive deterioration
• Differential diagnosis of depression vs organic conditions
• Measurement of any recovery of functioning
• Measurement of response to treatment
• Measurement of efficacy of pharmaceutical intervention or experimentation


Grand Rounds: What is a “Psych Eval?” – and why would I want one? Part 1

Grand Rounds: What is a “Psych Eval?” - and why would I want one? Part 1 By Michael Abruzzese, Ph.D. © Copyright 2021 Vista Health…