BY: Dr. Sagnik Mukherjee (MBBS; MD; MIPS; MIAPP)
All of us have heard of psychiatry as a branch of medicine that deals with mental disorders. We also know that neurology is the study of the nervous system. What is neuropsychiatry, then? Is it a combination of both the above clinical disciplines? Or is there more to it? Let us do some exploration to learn more.
Neuropsychiatry is a subset of psychiatry that deals with behavioural neurology. It is a speciality of psychiatry that analyses the complex workings of the cerebral cortex to know the implications of a mental illness on the behaviour of the patient.
To put it simply, in neuropsychiatry, we analyse the behaviour of a patient affected by a neurological condition or brain disorder like epilepsy, stroke, brain tumours, nerve tumours, traumatic brain injury, etc. This is the reason why neuropsychiatry is also called behavioural neurology.
The effects of neurological disorders on behavioural health
About 30% of the patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorder develop depression after the illness. This depression can not only affect brain function but also cause feelings of self-destruction or death.
Most of us fail to realize that such suicidal thoughts can arise probably due to neurodegenerative conditions. Neuropsychiatry patients need immediate intervention from a professional psychiatrist to prevent such negative thoughts and avoid suicide attempts
Understanding the process of neuropsychiatry
To understand how neuropsychiatry works, let us learn more about its procedure step-by-step. It all starts with a thorough or complete physical examination of the patient. Then, comes the neurological consultation.
Then, the patient has to undergo a series of neurocognitive tests and psychological evaluations. These tests aim to assess the personality, thought and behaviour patterns, and the feelings or emotions of the affected individual. The tests also measure the patient’s cognitive ability, memory and attention span, and response time.
Typically, a neurologist or a psychiatrist recommends consultation with a neuropsychiatrist. This consultation may even last up to 2 days depending on the nature of the condition.
After conducting a series of tests or examinations and tests, the neuropsychiatrist makes a list of the neurological symptoms. He then grades and gives a rating based on the severity of the symptoms. Based on this rating, he chalks out a treatment plan
Types of Mentally-challenged individuals for whom Neuropsychiatry is a must
Persons with the following neurocognitive disorders or neurodegenerative disorders compulsorily need neuropsychiatry.
- Behavioural or mood swing problems like bipolar disorder, mania, depression, and rage.
- Neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Neurocognitive issues like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Adult Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Psychosis due to neurological problems like epilepsy, brain tumours, lupus, and traumatic brain injury.
- Seizures due to stroke, epilepsy, etc.
- Sleeping disorders like insomnia, sleep apnea, somnambulism, and narcolepsy.
- Eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia, etc.
Reasons why neuropsychiatric consultation is necessary
Neuropsychiatric services are the dire need of the hour for many due to the following reasons to.
Identify psychiatric comorbidities due to neurological issues
Findings of studies reveal that 18% of the victims of traumatic brain injury suffer from some subsequent psychiatric issue. Similarly, neurological patients suffering from epilepsy, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease have been known to suffer from psychiatric comorbidities. Most of these psychiatric conditions go undiagnosed until a neuropsychiatric consultation is done.
Individuals with neuropsychiatric conditions find it difficult to adjust to society. They need support from mental health services to help them integrate themselves into society
Rehabilitation of addiction patients
Patients with cannabis use disorder have adverse outcomes that cause neuropsychiatric disorders. To treat and rehabilitate these patients, commissioning neuropsychiatry services is a must as they begin to exhibit depressive symptoms as soon as they abstain from drug or alcohol use.
Treating patients with dementia and acute stroke patients
Clinical diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia does not just end with Structural Imaging, Amyloid PET Imaging, or prescription medication. It requires neuropsychiatric services as follow-up care to prevent them from developing suicidal tendencies. Acute stroke patients tend to develop psychiatric disorders like depression or anxiety. To treat them efficiently, neuropsychiatric consultation is a must. The medical benefits of neuropsychiatric disorders are immense as they reduce disease burden and its adverse outcomes. Consulting a neuropsychiatrist is the immediate need of the hour when a patient has a neurological problem. Look for a qualified and experienced neuropsychiatric clinic like Mental Health Research Centre and consult their psychiatrists to get modest but assured benefits.
Mental Health Research Centre (MHRC) is a psychiatric clinic in Kolkata that has a qualified psychiatrist and psychologist. We do psycho-diagnostic tests for most types of mental conditions, including anxiety or depression. Dr. Sagnik Mukherjee is a Consultant Psychiatrist and de-addiction specialist, practicing in MHRC with over a decade of experience in the field of mental health. He has attended multiple national and international conferences on psychiatry & related topics besides delivering lectures & appearing on TV. His area of interests are schizophrenia, depression, suicidal patients, geriatric mental problems, and de-addiction. To book an appointment visit 164/A2 Prince Anwar Shah Road Lake Gardens City 700045 or call 9831 313 020.