What Are the Different Types of Psychiatric Consultations?

Angela Farrer

The different types of psychiatric consultations include age-tailored consultations, inpatient evaluations, and outpatient consults. Some other evaluations are done in emergency cases where patients may present a risk to themselves or to other people. Trained mental health professionals also tailor these evaluations to the types and severity of various conditions such as depression, psychosis, and substance addiction. Many initial evaluations consist of verbal, written, or practical tests designed to measure patients' current cognitive processes, perceptions, and the noticeable effects of their diagnosed mental disorders. Psychiatric consultations are instrumental in determining the best possible courses of psychiatric treatment.

Outpatient psychiatric consultations are often used for people with anxiety or depression.
Outpatient psychiatric consultations are often used for people with anxiety or depression.

One of the first considerations for psychiatric consultations is the age of a given patient. A consultation for a child or teenager is often quite different from one for an adult because people go through different stages of brain development at various ages. One of these evaluations for younger patients usually consists of questions and exercises with vocabulary that they are able to fully understand. Capacities for abstract thought and logical reasoning become more pronounced with increased maturity. This kind of cognitive development can have an impact on how mental disorders and emotional problems manifest in people of different ages.

Psychiatric consultations must consider the age of a patient.
Psychiatric consultations must consider the age of a patient.

Outpatient psychiatric consultations are among the most common types of evaluations for people suffering from problems such as excessive anxiety or major depression. These consults are most often done in psychiatrists' offices rather than in hospitals. Psychiatrists who perform these evaluations usually have extensive training in how to recognize symptoms and causes of different conditions. They frequently administer a number of tests designed to evaluate patients' personality types, regular behavior patterns, and existing abilities to cope with day-to-day challenges.

Inpatient consultations are tailored for more profound patient conditions such as schizophrenia or other dissociative disorders. These evaluations frequently require a brief hospital stay for these patients for their psychiatrists to monitor them closely. An inpatient evaluation also usually includes more comprehensive tests to determine possible underlying neurological causes. Patients who need these kinds of consultations are often monitored for behaviors such as suicide attempts or aggressive outbursts towards others.

Emergency psychiatric consultations are administered when patients' behavior warrants mandatory hospitalization for a certain time period. Depending on the laws of different regions, these kinds of patients may be required to stay in the hospital for a few days so that psychiatrists can make accurate records of their mental health states. An emergency evaluation also usually determines if a mental health patient needs longer-term hospitalization for more intensive treatment.

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