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- What is Neuropsychological Testing?
- Types, Examples & Uses of Neuropsychological Tests
- Signs You May Need a Neuropsychological Test
- Neuropsychological Testing Process: What to Expect
- Goals of Neuropsychological Testing
- Cost & Insurance Coverage for Neuropsychological Evaluations
What is Neuropsychological Testing?
Neuropsychology studies the connections between the brain and behavior. It is a specialized area of medicine that combines psychiatry, neurology, and psychology.1 Neuropsychological testing measures how your brain works and infers information about its structural and functional integrity and its strengths and weaknesses.
Neuropsychological testing assesses cognitive functions in several areas, including intellectual functioning, executive functions, attention, memory, language, perception, sensorimotor functions, motivation, mood and personality, and quality of life.
Types, Examples & Uses of Neuropsychological Tests
Neuropsychological assessments identify behavioral and cognitive abnormalities brought on by diseases or injuries to the central nervous system. Some neuropsychologists concentrate on treating or adjusting to these behavioral, mental, and other problems.2 Neuropsychological testing can provide insights into diagnosis and treatment.
A neuropsych evaluation is typically required when there is an apparent change in your memory or reasoning. They aid medical professionals in determining which of the following may be the cause of your issues:3
- Diseases such as dementia, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s
- Traumatic brain injury
- Emotional illnesses like anxiety or sadness
- Normal aging-related alterations to the brain
Typically, neuropsychological testing is conducted in a doctor’s office using a pencil and paper.
However, they might also be carried out using a computer, or you might be asked a series of questions by a neuropsychologist, to which you would then respond orally.
Your doctors can examine your focus and attention span with these tests. Below are examples of the different types of neuropsych tests:
- Memory: Repeat a series of phrases, words, or numbers.
- Cognition: Explain what two things have in common. For example, if you see a picture of a lake and a pool, you could respond that they both contain water or that you can swim in either.
- Verbal Communication: Name items as the test administer references them or list words that begin with a particular letter of the alphabet.
- Motor: These might entail actions like using one hand first, then the other, to insert pegs into a pegboard.
Most mental health assessment services are standardized, implying that everyone receives them the same way. The tests are also norm-referenced. This means that a patient’s performance on them will be contrasted with that of other people roughly their age with a similar educational background.
Signs You May Need a Neuropsychological Test
Signs you may need a neuropsychological test may include:
- Changes in short-term memory, for example, repeatedly asking the same question
- Regularly misplaces things or gets lost easily
- Poor concentration and attention, doesn’t seem to be listening, and appears confused during a conversation
- Language challenges – trouble communicating, coming up with words, or understanding what others are saying
- Unable to recognize objects
- Visual processing issues, such as having trouble sketching or utilizing a map
- Poor decision-making and judgment.
- Unexpected personality changes, elevated anxiety or despair, or the emergence of delusions or hallucinations
- New challenges in comprehending or controlling expenses or finances
- Can’t recognize familiar faces
Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of assessments or evaluations. Find out if your insurance provider can help with the costs by filling in our confidential insurance verification form below.
Neuropsychological Testing Process: What to Expect
The neuropsychologist will speak with you to understand any worries you and your family members may have about how well you can think. Additionally, they will look through your academic background and psychological and medical history. If a member of your family attends the evaluation with you, the neuropsychologist could request your consent to interview that person as well.
Your neuropsychologist will decide on the tests you take. It takes at least 10 to 15 years of schooling and training to become a neuropsychologist. In addition, professionals must have at least two years of internship experience and a Ph.D. or PsyD to be licensed by the board.4
Under the direction of a licensed neuropsychologist or psychologist, a qualified technician known as a psychometrist administers and scores the examinations. A psychometrist needs one of the following qualifications for employment:5
- a Bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related health science field, as well as specific education and work experience in psychometrics and evaluation techniques
- a Master’s degree in psychology or a related discipline of health science
- a bachelor’s degree and a psychometrist certification
The majority of people find some of the exams to be relatively simple and others to be challenging. For the tests to yield the most insightful findings, it is crucial to put forth your best effort. Additionally, you may be given questionnaires about your mood and psychiatric symptoms. Children submitted for neuropsychological evaluations frequently have their parents fill out questions concerning their conduct.
Afterward, the neuropsychologist will examine the test results and produce a report. A diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and possible referrals to additional specialists will be included. In addition, a brain CT or MRI scan may be required as part of further medical tests and the treatment plan.
How Long Does a Neuropsychological Evaluation Take?
Depending on the nature of the purpose of the examination, the testing duration varies greatly. Testing can last anywhere from one to eight hours, but it usually lasts between two and four hours. On occasion, the evaluation must be finished over two or more sessions.
The duration of the testing depends on the tests that must be taken and how quickly you can complete each one without feeling rushed. Depending on how you are feeling and how long the exam is, you may be able to take some breaks, as well. Generally speaking, the clinician seeks to elicit the patient’s optimum performance under ideal circumstances.
Goals of Neuropsychological Testing
Some of the common goals of neuropsychological testing include:6
- Describe behavior and brain functions
- For example, evaluate the effect of medical or mental health conditions on a person’s ability to think, behave, or feel
- Prioritize alternative diagnoses
- For example, identify any psychological influences on symptom presentations (i.e., depression)
- Create and oversee a treatment plan
- For example, aid in deciding eligibility for neurosurgical treatments (i.e., deep brain stimulation, epilepsy surgery)
- Address any legal, practical, or other issues
- For example, identify any cognitive impairments that may affect a person’s ability to drive, work, or live independently
Cost & Insurance Coverage for Neuropsychological Evaluations
Depending on specific insurance plans and other variables, insurance coverage for mental health testing varies substantially. Typically, some portion of a neuropsych evaluation is covered.
Filling out our free and confidential online insurance verification form is the best method to determine the specifics of your neuropsych evaluation coverage. One of our highly skilled care coordinators will review your insurance for you and thoroughly explain your options.
Neuropsychological testing for children, adults, or pediatric patients can cost anywhere from $700 to more than $3,000 on average. This cost will vary depending on your insurance plan or lack thereof, the tests performed, how complicated the case is, how much time is needed, where you live, and other variables. In addition, a private consultation can run between $200 and $300 per hour.7
- “Neuropsychological Testing and Assessment.” Cleveland Clinic, 15 Oct. 2020, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/4893-neuropsychological-testing-and-assessment.
- UNC Department of Neurology. “Neuropsychological Evaluation FAQ.” Department of Neurology, 1 Feb. 2021, www.med.unc.edu/neurology/divisions/movement-disorders/npsycheval.
- “What Are Neuropsychological Tests?” WebMD, 20 Dec. 2016, www.webmd.com/brain/neuropsychological-test.
- “Neuropsychologist – Career, Salary, Education and Licensing.” Healthcare Degree, 31 May 2022, www.healthcaredegree.com/mental/neuropsychologist.
- ExploreHealthCareers.org. “Psychometrist | explorehealthcareers.org.” ExploreHealthCareers.org, 14 July 2017, explorehealthcareers.org/career/mental-health/psychometrist.
- Schroeder, Ryan. “Neuropsychological Evaluations in Adults.” AAFP, 15 Jan. 2019, www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2019/0115/p101.html.
- Howmuchisit.org Staff. “How Much Does Neuropsychological Testing Cost?” Howmuchisit.org, 15 Aug. 2018, www.howmuchisit.org/neuropsychological-test-cost.
If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.
One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control.