In general, tests in psychiatry can be either screening one or the ones which helps in diagnosis. These are as follows-
1. Screening tests are in the form of questionnaire (set of questions) and are administered to an individual from ‘at risk population’. This helps in screening out the persons with high likelihood of having a psychiatric disease. The one with the positive findings can then be reassessed by psychiatrist in detail to confirm the disease if any.
2. General tests like routine blood investigations, CT scan/MRI brain/sonography and EEG (electroencephalogram) are needed on case to case basis. These helps in many ways, like
Ø to find out causative factors (exa. Dementia, seizures etc),
Ø to rule out any organic/physical cause for psychological disturbances (exa. Acute confusion, pseudo-seizures etc),
Ø to assess the damage already caused ( exa. Alcohol use disorders),
Ø to monitor medication levels in blood ( exa. Lithium, valproate etc)
3. Psychological tests are the ones which helps doctor in the diagnosis, not required to be done in most of the cases. These tests are administered by clinical psychologists. These are in form of set of questions or set of pictures to interpret.
4. IQ test are used to detect and quantify intellectual disability, administered by a clinical psychologist. There are also set of tests to be done to help diagnose ‘learning disability’. Better to be done at ‘LD Clinics’ situated at tertiary level centres like Nair and Sion hospital, Mumbai.
5. Personality assessment tests are used to assess personality factors which form an integral part in some of the psychiatric diagnosis.
6. Rating scales are tests useful to assess the baseline score and improvement (over the period of time) in case of any specific disease.
Above mentioned are few of the tests relevant to clinical psychiatry. There are other tests (like aptitude tests) used by clinical psychologists in their practice.