How do you assess your mental status?

How do you assess your mental status?

Examination of Mental Condition The mental status examination evaluates overall appearance, conduct, any aberrant or abnormal beliefs and perceptions (e.g., delusions, hallucinations), mood, and all areas of cognition to determine present mental capability (e.g., attention, orientation, memory). A complete history of the patient's mental health problems and treatment is important in determining the presence of cognitive impairment.

The mental status examination should include at least two tests: one test of higher cortical function such as judgment, reasoning, understanding, and memory; the other test of lower cortical function such as attention, perception, language, and visual perception. If possible, both types of functions should be tested.

For example, a patient who has had a stroke may have difficulty with attention and concentration, so it would be useful to also evaluate his or her memory ability before making a diagnosis. Similarly, if a patient is experiencing anxiety about being admitted to the hospital, this would affect his or her ability to respond to questions during the mental status examination and would need to be taken into account when interpreting results from that portion of the exam.

Higher cortical functions can be evaluated using standardized psychological tests. These tests are sensitive to changes in brain function that may not be apparent from just looking at a patient.

What does mental status mean in an interview?

The mental status examination summarizes the examiner's findings and perceptions of the psychiatric patient during the interview. Whereas the patient's history is consistent, the patient's mental state might fluctuate from day to day or hour to hour. Therefore, the mental status examination should be conducted regularly throughout the hospital stay.

Mental status refers to a patient's current cognitive and emotional status. The four main areas of assessment are thought content, mood, behavior, and function. Thought content describes how well a patient thinks at a specific moment. Mood refers to a patient's emotional tone or feeling. Behavior describes what a patient does or doesn't do. Function refers to a patient's ability to carry out daily tasks such as eating by herself or himself or getting dressed. All of these areas are considered part of the mental status exam.

Thought content: A good understanding of one-word sentences and some two-word sentences is necessary to assess thought content. If a patient cannot follow your instructions or answer questions, this may indicate a problem with thinking. Patients who suffer from dementia or another brain disease often have difficulty understanding complex instructions or answering questions. They may also have problems recognizing friends or family members. Such patients need help taking care of personal hygiene, getting dressed, and preparing meals.

Mood: A patient's mood can be observed directly by looking at his or her facial expression and body language.

How does the mental status of a patient change?

The major categories of information included in the mental status examination are discussed below.

Changes in Mental Status Associated with Psychiatric Disorders

Many psychiatric disorders can cause changes in a person's mental status. Patients with these disorders may have symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations, lose contact with reality, or be otherwise impaired. Changes in mental status can also occur if a patient suffers from drug intoxication or withdrawal. Symptoms of intoxication include increased excitement, anxiety, agitation, hostility, sleep problems, and an increased need for food or water. Withdrawal symptoms include depression, appetite loss, diarrhea, vomiting, sensitivity to noise or light, and physical pain symptoms. Some patients, especially those who suffer from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, will show several different signs of psychosis simultaneously. In this case, it is not possible to identify which symptom is causing what happens to the patient - they are all contributing factors.

It is important to recognize that many medical conditions can cause changes in mental status. If you ask most people what symptoms mean for someone with diabetes, for example, they will probably mention confusion, memory problems, or difficulty concentrating.

About Article Author

Kenneth Rushing

Kenneth Rushing is an expert on psychology, self-help, and personal development. He has many years of experience in these fields, and he knows all there is to know about how the mind works, how to use it to our advantage, and how to maintain mental health when the time comes to do either of the first two things. Kenneth enjoys writing about these topics because they are of great importance to people's lives, and he feels it is his responsibility to provide them with help when they need it most.

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