Life would be easier if a simple test could diagnose any health issue. However, many conditions are far more nuanced and require a more comprehensive approach, especially when it comes to brain function and mood disorders. That’s where cognitive testing comes into play.
There isn’t a blood test or nasal swab that can screen for a mood disorder, such as depression or anxiety. However, cognitive testing can provide valuable scientific insight into your brain’s thinking processes. This, in turn, can help us identify what’s affecting your mental health and allow us to customize a treatment plan.
Bryon K. Evans, MD, and our team at Psychiatric Consultants of Atlanta use cognitive testing to help guide treatment options and personalize care plans. If you struggle with stress, concentration, life transitions, self-esteem, or mood disorders, cognitive testing can help.
What cognitive testing measures
As you might imagine, trying to measure how a brain works can be a little tricky. After all, we all have different backgrounds and brain chemistry. So, with cognitive testing, we give you a series of exercises that could involve writing, drawing, solving puzzles, or answering questions. Afterward, we compare your standardized results against a very large database.
This scientific approach allows us to compare your average scores with a broad range of people in areas that can include:
- Reading and reading comprehension
- Language usage
- Attention, concentration, and focus
- Mood and personality
We can even get a sense of your ability to multitask, make judgments, manage your time, and maintain self-control.
Why cognitive testing matters
Your brain function plays a crucial role in your ability to pay attention, communicate, perform, and reason on a daily basis. It also contributes to mood, behavior, and major functions.
By taking a closer look at the individual aspects of brain function, we can more accurately identify the specific areas that could be contributing to your symptoms or otherwise interfering with your ability to lead the fullest life possible.
Cognitive testing offers several benefits, including:
- Helping reach a diagnosis
- Determining cognitive strengths and weaknesses
- Establishing a baseline
- Outlining interventions and treatment plans
We can also use cognitive testing to monitor your progress so we can make adjustments to your therapy as needed.
What to expect from cognitive testing
With a name like “cognitive testing,” we know you may feel apprehensive about this type of evaluation. However, unlike traditional IQ tests, cognitive testing measures your overall abilities.
And don’t worry, no one will try to trick you. You may find some of the tests easy and others difficult, but just do your best. They don’t involve needle pricks, body scans, or physical exams. And, you don’t have to cram in advance, either. You just simply answer the questions, solve the puzzles, draw, or write as directed.
The length of cognitive testing can vary from person to person, but you should plan on it lasting at least a few hours. You can also take your test online if you prefer.
To prepare for cognitive testing, we recommend:
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Eating a nutritious breakfast
- Bringing glasses, contacts, or hearing aids to your appointment
- Taking your medications as directed (unless given other instructions)
If you’ve had testing like this done in the past, you can also bring those records to your appointment.
After we have your test results, we can work closely with you to create a treatment strategy designed specifically for your unique needs.
Are you curious to see how cognitive testing can help you? To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Psychiatric Consultants of Atlanta today. We have offices in Atlanta and Decatur, Georgia.