Epilepsy & Psychiatric Evaluation
To help you better understand epilepsy and the available treatment options, our Epilepsy Center team has developed a series of epilepsy educational webcasts. The topics range from depression, anxiety, ADHD and neuropsychological evaluation for adults and children with epilepsy.
Below, find frequently asked questions about neuropsychological testing and evaluation.
What is a neuropsychological evaluation?
Research has shown that many people with epilepsy have cognitive difficulties as a result of their seizures.
The type of cognitive difficulties people experience depends on the area of the brain the seizures are coming from. Many people with epilepsy also experience depression and anxiety that can affect their thinking skills. Up to 55 percent of people with epilepsy might be depressed and 10-32 percent can have significant anxiety.
A neuropsychological evaluation is conducted by a neuropsychologist as a formal assessment of cognitive abilities (e.g., memory, concentration, and problem solving), mood and personality.
What does a neuropsychological evaluation do?
This type of evaluation determines if a person's cognitive abilities have been affected by epilepsy or other illnesses. It also does the following:
- Establishes a baseline so that changes in cognitive abilities, mood, and personality can be monitored over time to provide better treatment
- Helps the person with epilepsy make decisions about work and/or school
- Educates family members about how epilepsy has affected a person's cognitive abilities and personality so they can better help and understand
- Provides information for doctors to help with medication selection to reduce side effects or improve cognition
Who should have a neuropsychological evaluation?
All patients who are considering surgery for treatment of their epilepsy are required to complete a neuropsychological evaluation to help determine their candidacy for surgery.
Evaluation of a person's cognitive functioning can provide information to help the epilepsy treatment team determine where the seizures may be coming from. The neuropsychological evaluation is also used to help determine whether there is any risk for cognitive changes following epilepsy surgery. Patients who undergo surgery at the Cleveland Clinic undergo a second neuropsychological evaluation approximately 6 months following surgery.
What is involved in the neuropsychological evaluation?
There are two parts of the evaluation:
- Interview (30 minutes to 1 hour)
A neuropsychologist interviews the patient and a family member to obtain information about the patient's medical history and cognitive functioning to better understand how epilepsy may be affecting the patient's life.
- Neuropsychological testing (typically 3-5 hours)
A neuropsychology technician administers tests covering concentration, memory,
and a range of verbal and visual abilities. The testing is usually completed in one
How do I prepare for a neuropsychological evaluation?
- Bring eyeglasses and any other required assistive devices (such as hearing aids)
- Take medication as prescribed
- Bring an accurate list of all medications you are taking, along with the dosages
- If you have had prior neuropsychological testing, bring a copy of the report
- Parents of pediatric patients who have an IEP or receive special help in school should bring all of their child's relevant school records
- Get a good night's sleep
Does insurance cover a neuropsychological evaluation?
Insurance coverage varies greatly depending on individual insurance plans. Some portion of the evaluation is usually covered. If you have any concerns, please check with your insurance company.
You also can contact a Patient Financial Advocate at 216.444.2319 for help solving problems related to insurance coverage.
To make an appointment call us locally at 216.445.0601 or toll-free at 866.588.2264.
Need appointment or locations information for services in Cleveland and nearby suburbs?
Interested in epilepsy services in Florida?
Cleveland Clinic Florida’s adult epilepsy program is offered at the Weston campus, located just south of Fort Lauderdale.
- Epilepsy, Depression and You – George Tesar, MD
- Pediatric Epilepsy: Depression, Anxiety and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – Tatiana Falcone, MD
- Epilepsy, Depression, Anxiety and services available to adults living with epilepsy – Teresa Fitch, LISW
- Epilepsy surgery and Neuropsychological evaluation – Jessica Chapin, PhD
- Pediatric Neuropsychological Evaluation – Jennifer Haut, PhD