Reasons for Psychiatric Evaluation

Mental health disorders can present a wide spectrum of symptoms. It is often difficult to distinguish mental health symptoms from other illnesses, aging, stress or grief. One of the biggest steps in overcoming mental and emotional illness is making the decision to seek treatment. When mental illness is not treated, it may worsen and eventually interfere with your work, school, family life and everyday tasks.

If you can receive effective treatment now and significantly improve the quality of your life, why wait?

We have compiled a list of the most obvious signs that now is the time to seek professional psychiatric help.

The most important sign that you need psychiatric help is suicidal thoughts and feelings, as well as homicidal thoughts or plans to kill someone. If you are experiencing those thoughts or feelings, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. A list of emergency resources is listed on this site in the bar to the right as well as here.

Another important indication that you might benefit from psychiatric treatment is being referred to a psychiatrist by another doctor, or encouraged by your friends and family to see a psychiatrist. Even if this hasn’t occurred, the presence of even one of the following symptoms can be a reason for mental health evaluation:

  • Life seems overwhelming for more than couple of days
  • Feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness
  • Feeling of being watched or followed
  • Unable to sleep, racing thoughts
  • Lost interest in life; “whatever happens, it doesn’t matter”
  • Extreme depression, seeing everything in a negative light
  • Confusion; ordinary things and events no longer make sense
  • Prolonged extremely sad thoughts about a loved one, friend or pet that passed away
  • Phobias and fears
  • Panic attacks, anxiety
  • New or worsening relationship problems with family members/loved ones
  • New or worsening relationship problems at work/school
  • Drug, alcohol or gambling addiction
  • Your recollection of past event differs significantly from others’ memories
  • You lose or forget things more often recently
  • Increased short-term energy with inability to concentrate
  • No enjoyment in activities that were enjoyable before
  • Changes in appetite leading to changes in weight
  • Harming yourself (cutting, scarring, pulling hair)
  • Persistent anger and hostility towards others
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations
  • You can’t pinpoint what is wrong but you just don’t feel like yourself
  • You are a victim of sexual, physical or psychological abuse

If you are a victim of sexual, physical or psychological abuse and are too embarrassed or frightened to contact law enforcement, then a doctor’s office may be a good place to start your path to recovery. Doctor Umugbe will be able to help you understand the process and will contact appropriate parties in social services and law enforcement on your behalf. (Note that medical health practitioners are required to notify law enforcement of abuse if the victim is a child or if his or her life is in immediate danger; otherwise the doctor will contact authorities only at your request.)

A full psychiatric evaluation will reveal whether the problem is psychiatric or related to a non-psychiatric medical condition. Upon completing the evaluation, Dr. Umugbe will provide you with his professional opinion in the form of diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis of treatment outcome. Referrals to other therapists, specialists or treatment facilities will also be offered if needed.