Psychological Testing

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Psychological Testing - old
Psychological Testing - old
Psychological Testing - old

Psychological Testing in Addiction Treatment

Psychological testing is how mental health professionals learn more about a person’s mental state and personality. These tests can look at a variety of factors, and are used to diagnose and treat patients. They are also used for assisting in self-development and career growth.

The reasons that why a person is struggling are not always clear. Because many mental and neurological conditions cannot be identified through genetics or blood tests, psychological assessments are important tools.  Just like a doctor might order an x-ray to learn more about a patient’s condition, a psychiatrist may recommend a therapist test.

psych test for addiction

Psychological Testing at New Leaf

Most people seeking addiction treatment have co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or trauma.  These issues may be masked by substance abuse, but once a person becomes sober they should be addressed to give a person the best chance at long-term recovery. 

New Leaf Detox and Treatment offers our clients clinical assessments and psychological tests.  This testing allows our patients to receive the most accurate diagnosis possible.  An accurate diagnosis is crucial in creating an individualized treatment plan that will be effective in treating addiction.

Psychological testing allows our clinical team to understand the underlying causes of a patient’s substance use and their relationship with these substances. By assessing these issues in treatment our staff can address co-occurring disorders like trauma, mood disorders, personality disorders, and codependency.  Addressing these issues early helps patients avoid roadblocks and pitfalls in early recovery.

Why Is Psychological Testing Performed?

There are lots of reasons to have a psychological test performed. Most often, these tests are used to make a diagnosis or create a treatment plan. Many times it’s hard to tell exactly why someone is having trouble in life or at work.

For example, you may not know whether your child is struggling in school because of attention or cognitive issues.  In this way, psychological tests also give insight into how to treat someone. Different challenges call for different approaches, and not all treatment or therapy is right for everyone. Because of this, psychological tests are also performed to help doctors better know how to help their patients. 

General practitioners or therapists may also write their patients referrals for psychological testing. This often happens when a patient reports feelings of intense anxiety, dread, depression, or apathy towards work and life.

What Types of Tests Are There?

There are many different types of psychological testing out there, each with its own purpose. Some are more useful in education settings, while others are frequently used in the professional or medical field. Below are some of the most commons types of psychological exams.

Mental Health Assessments

This test looks for indications of mental illness. If you go to a psychiatrist, they will likely ask you a series of questions to better understand what psychological issues may be troubling you. For example, your answers could point towards a diagnosis of a personality or mood disorder. 

Cognitive Testing

Cognitive tests are also known as IQ tests. These examinations test for critical thinking, problem-solving, vocabulary, comprehension, and memory skills. IQ tests are useful for gaining insight into someone’s potential or measuring how well someone handles certain tasks.  Cognitive tests can help identify areas that an individual has trouble and where they may need extra assistance. 

Personality Assessment

This type of test looks for the traits that make up your personality. For example, it might ask you questions about if you are shy or outgoing. Personality tests are also used to predict how you might behave in certain situations, and what professions may be best suited for you. 

This is one of the most popular psychological tests out there. Personality tests are commonly taken for fun, or given by employers for team building. 

Neuropsychological Testing

When this sort of test is administered, it’s to see how a person’s brain is performing.

Patients recovering from head injuries are often given neuropsychological testing. Doctors will be searching for any damage to the brain and its ability to function. This type of test looks at things like memory, attention to detail, and reasoning.

Projective Tests

These tests look at how you make connections and the paths your mind takes. The most famous of these is the Rorschach test, which asks patients to describe images they see in inkblots.

Another common type of projective test is word association. Here, the patient will receive a word or phrase and asked to describe the first thought that comes to mind. 

Though these are not as universal as they once were, projective tests are still used by some providers.

The Psychological Testing Offered at New Leaf

Our psychological tests allow us to address a patient’s full range of treatment needs.   This information gives us insight into the ideal combination of psychotherapy and medication-assisted treatment for each individual that we treat. Our psychological testing also informs our recommendations for complementary treatments and continuing care plans.

The Millon® Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-IV (MCMI®IV)

The MCMI-IV is the latest version of the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory which was published in 2015. The Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventories are based on Theodore Millon’s evolutionary theory, which analyzes components of a person’s personality. The MCMI-IV consists of 15 personality scales and 10 clinical syndrome scales.  

The personality scales are linked to the personality patterns that Millon identified in his evolutionary theory along with the personality disorders outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5).  The personality scales include Schizoid, Avoidant, Melancholic, Dependent, Histrionic, Turbulent, Narcissistic, Antisocial, Sadistic, Compulsive, Negativistic, Masochistic, Schizotypal, Borderline, and Paranoid.  

The Clinical Syndrome Scales relate to clinical disorders in the DSM-5 and when interpreted by a clinical psychologist can help diagnose these disorders.  The clinical syndrome scales are Thought Disorder, Major Depression, Delusional Disorder, Generalized Anxiety, Somatic Symptom, Bipolar Disorder, Persistent, Depression, Alcohol Use, Drug Use, and Post-Traumatic Stress.

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a psychological test that assesses personality traits. It is primarily intended to test people who are suspected of having mental health or other clinical issues. 

The MMPI assesses ten categories of abnormal human behavior and four scales that assess if the person is answering the questions on the test truthfully.  The 10 clinical subscales are intended to test for Hypochondriasis, Depression, Hysteria, Psychopathic Deviate, Masculinity/Femininity, Paranoia, Psychasthenia, Schizophrenia, Hypomania, and Social Introversion

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)

The current version of the test, the WAIS-IV was released in 2008.  It is composed of 10 core subtests and five supplemental subtests, with the 10 core subtests designed to assess a Full-Scale IQ assessment.  It breaks a person’s intelligence into 4 main categories Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, Working Memory, and Processing Speed.

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What Do Psychological Tests Look Like?

Psychological exams come in many forms. They can appear as a series of questions on a computer or on paper. You may be asked to make a selection from a group of choices, agree or disagree with certain statements, or simply answer questions verbally. 

At your first session with a psychiatrist, you will often be asked a series of questions as a type of psychological test. Your provider will be looking for indications about what your diagnosis may be and what treatment would be best for you. 

Sometimes tests are more informal, particularly when used in the corporate world or for purposes besides mental health treatment. What a psychological test looks like will depend on who authored it, who administers it, and its purpose.

The Difference Between a Test and an Assessment

Though the terms test and assessment are often used interchangeably, they are actually distinct from each other in a few ways. A psychological assessment is a far larger form of examination. It may include interviews, medical records, psychiatric records, and personal history.

You can think of psychological assessment as a far broader term, a process during which psychological tests may be performed. Assessments incorporate much more than one test does and provides a more comprehensive analysis. 

Certain professions, like police officers, might require that someone go through an assessment before being considered fit for duty. An employer might also require that someone undergo a psychological assessment. This is usually done if the test taker experienced something traumatic while on the job.

Assessments are also used to diagnose patients and create treatment plans. 

psychological testing
psychological test

Should I Seek Out a Test?

Receiving a psychosocial test may be a good idea for you if you feel like you’re struggling in an area of your life but don’t know why. Or, you may have a set of symptoms that concern you, but that you do not have a diagnosis for. Most of these tests are highly technical and require a skilled mental health professional to interpret the results.  Because of this they are often not available online and must be supervised by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

There are many tests available online, but it’s unwise to use these as tools for diagnosis. Only a psychiatrist or certified professional can properly administer and interpret the result of a psychological test concerning mental health and safety.

Addiction Treatment You Can Rely On

Though they may sound daunting, psychological tests are helpful and frequently administered. Many assume that you need to be suffering from mental illness to receive a referral for one, but the truth is that many people benefit from psychological exams. These special tests can provide insight into many areas of your life, and are as helpful for self-growth as they are for diagnosing mental illness. 

If you or someone you care about is struggling, psychological testing may be a good step. Reach out to your doctor or mental health professional for more information regarding your situation, what tests you should take, and what their results could indicate. 

Have more questions about psychotherapy or addiction recovery? We’re here to help.

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