Assessment of current problems, past problems, symptom inventory, past and current stressors, all possible contributing factors, interpersonal stress/conflicts, family history, medical history, assessment of psychological and cognitive domains, assessment for any specific psychiatric diagnosis, assessment for any possible chemical imbalance, psychological and cognitive testing as indicated, laboratory tests as needed, assessment for whether counseling, medication, or both would be most appropriate.

Dr. Neal Ranen makes psychiatric evaluation a significant part of his practice. Psychiatric evaluation helps clarify the exact nature of the situation and specifically how to proceed with treatment. Dr. Ranen will be listening to how you are feeling and concerns you have about problems you are having in your life.

Because as a psychiatrist Dr. Ranen is a medical doctor (M.D.), the evaluation will look at not only psychological and stress-related factors, but also consider medical factors and medication-responsive conditions. He will review past and present symptoms, stressors, and other life circumstances. A medication history, medical history, family history, habit history, and a detailed review of possible past conditions will also be reviewed. Symptom rating scales, labs such as checking your thyroid and B12 levels, may be part of the evaluation; genetic testing (discussed in more detail in its own section) can also be obtained. Dr. Ranen can also work closely with your other medical care providers, as indicated and with your permission, to provide comprehensive answers to any questions you may have.

The effect of what is going on in your life on how you are feeling and doing will also be explored. He will listen to how past situations may also be playing a role in how you are feeling now. He will also be focusing on your strengths, including those that you may not even be aware of, and building on those. He will explore with you any patterns of difficulty dealing with particular situations or types of people, and finding ways to change patterns or avoid such situations in the first place.

Dr. Ranen will review with you whether the information is, for example, consistent with a situational depression and/or anxiety, or with particular conditions, like Major Depression (which despite its formal name can range from mild to severe), Generalized Anxiety, OCD, ADHD, partial or full forms of Bipolar Disorder, or a number of other possible conditions. Often, people are telling the patient they just aren’t trying hard enough, and the patient themselves may start to believe this too when in actuality they just have a condition that hasn’t been treated. Others may think, incorrectly, that because they have been sad or worried at times in their lives, that they know what it’s like to have depression or anxiety, or that the patient just needs to do this or that to feel better because it helped them. This would be like someone thinking they know what it’s like to have asthma just because they’ve been winded. It is not someone’s fault that they are depressed, even though people may tell them they just need to try harder (note that this is very different from incorporating specific evidenced-based strategies to help reduce symptoms and make life easier for the patient). This again is similar to someone with asthma being told they just aren’t in good enough shape, when they simply need appropriate treatment for their condition. The same can be true for other conditions, like people with ADHD who are often criticized for being lazy or irresponsible, when they have just been fighting an uphill battle with their ADHD.

Dr. Ranen may have enough information to put all the pieces together at the first visit, or it may be appropriate to extend the evaluation to a follow-up visit to obtain more information and design a treatment plan just for you. Dr. Ranen‘s  knowledge and expertise allow him to evaluate your needs and develop an approach both for right now and to maintain long-term wellness.