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Psychiatric assessment tools

Psychiatric assessment tools

Assessment tools used in the care and treatment of patients with schizophrenia and other major psychiatric disorders

'In practice' evaluation

In today's psychiatric clinical practice, rating scales have come to play an ever-increasing role both in determining specific symptoms, diagnosing individual conditions, assessing improvements/deterioration of condition, and highlighting potential side effects of treatment.

Due to the increased role the psychiatric rating scales now play, an ever-increasing number of scales are being introduced to the clinician, and the dilemma begins to appear as to which rating scale(s) to use in which individual clinical situation. With this in mind, the European Think Tank, a group of leading psychiatrists, has collectively reviewed the most commonly used psychiatric rating scales, in an attempt to aid clinicians identify the best tool to use at a given time.

Psyschiatric rating scales provide a number of key benefits. Specifically, they:

  • can serve as checklists, allowing clinicians to be certain that all items addressed by the scale have been covered in the clinical interaction;
  • (where semi-structured interviews are provided), their use allows some certainty that items will be addressed in a consistent way in successive interviews;
  • and when utilised in a repeated manner, scales may provide information about the longitudinal course of a patient's illness.

More often than not, ratings scales in psychiatry will feature:

  • rating scale items with directions on how to score each item, combined with anchor points to give a rater the ability to differentiate between different severity scores;
  • basic information what the score(s) returned by a completed scale means to the clinical environment with an individual patient;
  • provide a clinical tool which facilitates the addressing of individual subjects which are necessary to be covered during the clinical relationship.

Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS)
ASC - Approaches to Schizophrenia Communication
Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale (BAS, BARS)
Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)
Behaviour and symptom identification scale (BASIS-32)
Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS)
Calgary Depression Scale for Schizophrenia (CDSS)
Clinical Global Impression (CGI)
Drug Attitude Inventory (DAI-10)
Extrapyramidal side effect rating scale (ESRS)
Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS)
Global Assessment Scale (GAS)
Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD, HAM-D)
Heinrichs Quality of Life scale
Hillside Akathisia Scale - HAS
Mania Rating Scale
Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)
Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI)
Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS)
Scale for Targeting Abnormal Kinetic Movements (TAKE)
Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS)
Schedule for the Deficit Syndrome (SDS)
Simpson-Angus Scale (SAS)
St Hans Scale
Subjective Well-being on Neuroleptics Scale (SWN)
Subjective Well-being on Neuroleptics Scale (SWN)
The Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF)
Tool to facilitate patient-psychiatrist communication (2-com)
Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS)


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