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What is Neuropsychiatry?

MVSAT 2024

Neuropsychiatry is the branch of science that deals with the study of the behavioural disorders associated with neural disorders. The neuropsychiatrist meaning can be described as healthcare professionals that deal with such complications in humans. They are commonly called neuropsychiatric doctors. Neuropsychiatry is often considered a broad subject that uses the concept of both neural biology and psychology. Behavioural neurology is also closely related expertise in this field, behavioral neurology rather deals with the neurological basis of behaviour, neurodegenerative diseases, and neurobehavioral syndromes. Pyschatrity on its own is an independent branch of the science that deals with the study of psychology or behaviour and disorders of behaviour. It generally does not cover an extensive study of neural conditions and complications. This article covers the origin and basis of neuropsychiatry, neuropsychiatric doctors, disorders associated with neuropsychiatry, and the institute for neuropsychiatry.

History of Neuropsychiatry

Neuropsychiatry is the branch of medicine that treats mental disorders attributable to diseases of the nervous system. In a broader sense, it can be defined as the science that studies and treats disorders of the brain including attentional, motivational, cognitive, emotional, behavioural, and social dysfunctions. 

Neuropsychiatry as the name suggests is made up of two branches neurology and psychology. The term neurology was first coined by Thomas Willis in 1664 in his book called Cerebri anatome. Thomas Willis was a neuroanatomist and physician. The term psychology was first described by Johann Christian Reil in 1808. He was a German physician, physiologist, and neuroanatomist. It was Thomas Willis who proposed that psychiatry was a separate branch of science in medicine that could be studied as specialization. He was among the first to hypothesize the behavioural disorders to be a result of neural complications. But it was several years later that neuropsychiatry was systematized. 

Emil Kraepelin (1856–1926) was among the prominent health care professionals to systemize neuropsychiatry. He documented the onset, course, and prognosis of manic-depressive. This is currently known as bipolar disorder. He also documented illness and dementia praecox, which is currently known as schizophrenia. Freud, a neurologist performed a comprehensive study of mental life and illness. It was based on the psychic structures of id, ego, and superego. He thus leads the foundation of the new field of psychoanalysis and the psychodynamic approach towards mental disorders.

It was in the 20th century neuropsychiatrist meaning was clearly defined. Neuropsychiatry gained huge pace in research and treatment of the disorders as a result of the rapid development of psychopharmacology, genetics, functional brain imaging and, cognitive neuropsychiatry. A rapid increase in research and published books are seen, Lishman organic psychiatry is a well-known example of a neuropsychiatry book. Several neuropsychiatric care centres were built to help treat such conditions.

Tools used in Neuropsychiatry

A clinical neuropsychiatrist or commonly known as neuropsychiatric doctors uses various tools to diagnose the symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorder. The common tools used in a neuropsychiatric care centre include the following, neuropsychopharmacology, electroencephalography, clinical neurogenetics, and neural imagining technique.

Neuropsychopharmacology is the study of the effects of the drugs used to treat mental illness. It comprises the study of drugs on the central nervous system. 

Electroencephalography is the method of measuring brain waves. These brain waves are associated with the activity of the brain, any change in the waves is associated with the change in the activity of the brain. It is thus a useful tool to measure the activity pattern of the brain suffering from any kind of mental illness. 

Clinical neurogenetics is the branch of science that studies the heritable disorders of the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. It is used to study the correlation between psychological illness, cognitive neuropsychiatry, and genetic history. It is a rather new approach to develop a connection between the genetic pattern with a psychological illness.

Neural imaging techniques used in neuropsychiatry centre use the technique such as single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetic resonance angiography, diffusion tensor imaging, and positron emission tomography (PET) for obtaining the image of different sections on the brain.

Neuropsychiatric Disorders

There are the following neuropsychiatric disorders that are studied and treated in a neuropsychiatry centre, these include

  1. Anxiety and hyperactivity disorder

  2. Dementia 

  3. Delirium 

  4. Chronic fatigue syndrome

  5. cognitive impairments 

  6. Schizophrenia 

  7. Tourette syndrome

  8. Obsessive-compulsive disorder 

  9. BPD (borderline personality disorders)

  10.  Parkinsons disease

  11.  Huntington syndrome

  12.  Progeria. 

Causes of Neuropsychiatric Disorder

According to clinical neuropsychiatrists, there is the following reason that can attribute to the neuropsychiatric disorder, but it is important to note that every disorder has a specific reason and the example included here covers broad and generic causes that might lead to such disorders. They are as follows,

  1. The defective dopamine transporter is usually the cause of anxiety and hyperactivity disorder.

  2. Childhood trauma or adverse early experiences can cause borderline personality disorder

  3. The damaged myelin sheath is also a cause of disorders. 

  4. Toxin oxidation in the body can also lead to the development of Parkinson’s disease.

  5. Genetic mutation like point mutation is responsible for causing progeria. 

  6. Alzheimer’s a common disorder is caused by the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain.

Institute for Neuropsychiatry

There are various reputed neuropsychiatry centre institutes that focus on the research and development of the treatment of neuropsychiatry. Some of the examples of such institutes include the American centre for neuropsychiatry, which under the guidelines of the American Neuropsychiatric Association (ANPA). Another example of such association includes International Neuropsychiatric Association which was founded in 1996. List of the centre for neuropsychiatry study in India includes AIIMS, JNU, The Center for Neural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Hyderabad and, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore.

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FAQs on Neuropsychiatry

Q.1. Define Neuropsychiatrist Meaning.

Ans: Neuropsychiatrist meaning refers to the person who diagnoses and treats neuropsychiatric disorders. neuropsychiatric doctors specialize in the treatment of disorders whose causative agent can be some kind of neural disorder. 

Q.2. What is the  American Neuropsychiatric Association?

Ans: American Neuropsychiatric Association commonly known as ANPA, is an association that organizes annual meeting discussions in the United States to develop the research methodology and create awareness among people about neuropsychiatry.

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