Brain damage can be caused by a lot of things, could be an accident, a blow to the head, disease etc. but whatever the cause of the damage is one thing is for sure, brain damage will affect who you are and how you behave.
Neuropsychological assessment refers to assessments done to test cognitive functions such as self awareness, memory, emotional expression, attention and cognition.
The importance of these tests is to help psychologists find ways to treat, medicate or recommend therapy for the victim. Also it helps the victim realize his/her strengths and weakness and what can be done to keep those weaknesses or impairments in check.
How it works
The point of getting this done is to help you understand how a problem in your brain is affecting your reasoning, the process usually starts with the individual being asked to take a range of mental tests, it can be pen and pencil or on computer. The test aims to evaluate”:
- learning and memory
- Concentration and attention
- Problem solving abilities
- Abstract thinking and planning
- The individuals intelligence
- Language and academic skills
- Spatial and visual perception
- Sensory skills
- Motor skills
Why should you take neuropsychological tests?
These tests are for your own benefit, they will help you understand why you behave like you do and help the doctor understand how your brain works. The thing is, just by looking at pictures of your brain doctors can’t tell how it functions that’s why these test are important.
The idea is to look at your current abilities and find ways or make recommendations that will help you live a normal life after brain damage, therefore you will be able to understand your moods, and how to control them. Your family will get a picture of how you function and what you can and what you can’t do. For example, can you start driving again or how soon can you go back to work.
Who administers these tests?
These tests are usually administered by neuropsychologist, neuropsychologists are psychologists who have specialized training of how the human brain works. The time it takes will depend on how fast or slow you work, but it may take two to three hours or more.
Note that, this is not like a normal exam; you are not after a grade or anything. Therefore there is no need to study for these tests, but understand that these tests are aim to challenge you. Meaning that you will know some answers and some you won’t, but there is no need to feel frustrated or cheat, cheating here will do you no favors it will just mess with the results.
After the tests are done you and your doctor will set up a session to look at the results, could be on the same day or at a later one.
Generally the tests will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, the results will help the doctor come up with a treatment plan and make recommendations that will help you recover and be able to live independently.