A psychiatric evaluation is a mental health evaluation by a psychiatrist designed to determine whether a patient is presenting with a mental illness and if so, to establish a diagnosis and the best course of treatment. A full evaluation typically requires multiple sessions to obtain enough information on the patient.
The doctor will gather information on the present symptoms and concerns as well as about the health, illness and medical and psychiatric treatment of the patient. Any medications being taken and family health and psychiatric histories will be detailed. Interviews with the patient, and sometimes family members, are essential. Questions are asked about the patient's relationships with family and friends. In some cases, a physical exam, blood tests and other forms of assessment may provide important insight, especially into inherited concerns.
An involuntary psychiatric evaluation can take place when a treating physician demonstrates that a person may be a danger to themselves or others. The person will be taken to a psychiatric emergency room for examination by a team of mental health workers.