Should you get a neuropsych workup?
©2003 Melissa Kaplan
Undergoing a neuropsychological battery can be highly beneficial for people with CFS, FM, MCS, chronic Lyme, and other diseases that affect brain function, including cognitive function. The wide range of tests used in the batteries (which may vary to some degree depending on the individual neuropsychologist administering the battery) challenge many aspects of brain function that can be altered by these diseases as well as by acute or late effects of brain injury.
The tests will, among other things, separate those who are "just" depressed, malingering, or hypochondriacal from those who are authentically impaired by any number of diseases, disorders and injuries. The tests examine executive function, memory making and retrieval, distractibility, and more. They also assess functional and verbal/overall IQ and global assessment of functioning (GAF), information looked at by long term disability and Social Security when evaluating disability claims.
While the results of the battery may initially be upsetting to the patient, I strongly recommend CND patients request a copy of the neuropsychologist's report. While it isn't thrilling to learn that you really have gotten stupid compared to your pre-onset self, knowing that your brain is damaged or alters in ways that affect your ability to think, reason, organize, prioritize, remember, and all the other things that we tend to now have problems with can make it a bit easier to live with in the long run. If nothing else, it can help stop patients from beating themselves up for not functioning at the same level they did before onset. The test results can also help identify areas of particular difficulty for the patient. In some instance, training, such as some of the training provided to traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors to help them function better in dealing with activities of daily living, can be recommended for the CND patient to help them better function.
For more information on neuropsychological testing, please see Neuropsychology Central's Neuropsychological Evaluation FAQ.
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