THE FIELD OF NEUROPSYCHOLOGY IN MEDICAL SCIENCE
The medical science has been subdivided into many division which separately deals with the various organ systems. For example, Neuropsychology is the sub-specialty study of medicine which deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders pertaining to psychological and nervous systems.
The human body is full of complex networking of nerves, muscles, organs and bones. The function of one is linked to and affected by the function of one or more other systems in the body. For example, the pancreas’ ability or disability to enable the absorption of glucose from the blood into the different cells is directly going to affect the functionality of the kidneys. It is the function of the kidneys to filter the waste (including excessive glucose) from the blood and flush it out of the body.
This is the reason why all medical specialists have to undergo basic medical training in MED school before they start their residency in the field of their specialisation. Neuropsychology is one such sub-speciality field of clinical psychology. This study deals with how the brain works and its relation to the subsequent behaviour.
A neuropsychologist is also an expert on analysing the role played by the nervous system in carrying out those tasks. Any disorder resulting in the brain is directly going to affect the quality and the type of signals that are sent out from the brain through the nerves thereby affecting the gross motor skills of that person.
So a medical practitioner who specialises in Neuropsychology is like a psychologist who not only diagnoses and deals with a person’s disturbed thought but one who analyses and treats its medical effects on the nerves and the resulting motor skills in the entire body. A neuropsychologist is trained enough to treat disorders of the cognitive skills, behavioural problems and psychological problems.
For the purpose of properly diagnosing and thereby treating the disorders, a neuropsychologist will generally require a neuropsychological evaluation of the patient. This evaluation will be based on a series of tests which could take from a few hours to a whole day. This evaluation aims to assess any psychological impairment which affects the cognitive behaviour of the patient. Based on this evaluation, the neuropsychologist will devise a treatment plan. The neuropsychological assessment does not involve tests like MRI, EEG or CT scan as these are primarily focused on the nervous system alone.
So how is it assessed that a person requires the help of a neuropsychologist and not a psychologist or a neurologist for that matter? It is true that it is quite difficult to understand the difference between the need for neuropsychologist and a plain clinical psychologist; undoubtedly it is also the factor of cost-effectiveness, most people aren’t properly aware of the capabilities of a neuropsychologist.
A clinical psychologist has not had enough training to understand why and how the altered brain’s reasoning is affecting the functionality of the rest of the body. This is where the science of Neuropsychology and the role of neuropsychologist steps in.
Author Alexi Gibbs ©