Neuropsychiatry is an interdisciplinary field of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, evaluation, and management of mental disorders resulting from neurological conditions. It combines the expertise of both psychiatrists and neurologists to understand the complex relationship between the brain and behavior.

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about neuropsychiatry, including its history, scope, and how it is used to treat a range of mental health conditions.

Neuropsychiatry: The Middle Path Between Psychiatry and Neurology

Neurology and psychiatry are fields that detect and treat very specific symptoms. Neuropsychiatrists treat physical and mental indicators that fall into that “middle zone”. 

Neurology focuses on motor and sensory functions, while psychiatry is all about behavior, mood, thought and affect. Moving through the center, neuropsychiatry deals with perception, memory, alertness and attention, language and speech, intelligence, cognition, and motivation (apathy). It focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders that are associated with disturbances in the nervous system.

Neuropsychiatrists use their expertise to evaluate patients who present with both psychiatric and neurological symptoms, providing a comprehensive assessment of their condition. The middle path between psychiatry and neurology and neuropsychiatry has helped expand the understanding of the complex relationship between the brain and behavior and has opened up new avenues for the treatment of mental illness.

What Does a Neuropsychiatrist Do

If you’re training to be a psychiatrist and are interested in branching out into organic psychiatry, then an MSc in neuropsychiatry is the way to go. Not only will you be fully trained as a psychiatrist, but you will be part of a field that has witnessed resurgence in the last decade or so.

A neuropsychiatrist does all that a psychiatrist can do from patient assessments to diagnosis, treatment, prescription, and referrals. Additionally, as mentioned in the previous section, a neuropsychiatrist goes above and beyond trying to identify and treat symptoms that may not fall into regular categories of neurology and psychiatry. 

To put it simply, a psychiatrist or mental health therapist will look at how the external world is affecting your behavior and personality. Additionally, a neuropsychiatrist will look “within”, often examining your neurological networks and the brain’s chemical makeup.  

Which Conditions Does Neuropsychiatry Treat?

A neurological disorder that takes its toll on your behavior, mood, thought and personality falls under the ever-expanding field of neuropsychiatry. 

The term can be applied to common neurology-related mental health disorders in children. ADHD, conduct disorder and anger issues, for instance, will sometimes be referred to as neuropsychiatric disorders.

An acquired brain injury or ABI, both traumatic and non-traumatic, can bring about a host of mental issues. A neuropsychiatrist can treat a patient suffering from the after-effects, both short-term and long-term, of an ABI. 

For instance, a patient with epilepsy could suffer from psychosis or a patient with dementia could end up with depression. Neuropsychiatry can help make medical correlations that will provide patients with specific treatment for their ailment.

Besides the disorders mentioned above, neuropsychiatry is an umbrella term for a number of conditions that fall into the proverbial “middle zone”. They are as follows:

  • Any illness diagnosed without known cause, a Functional Neurological Disorder, can be treated by a neuropsychiatrist. In the past, these conditions were all grouped under hysteria.
  • Depression and states of manic euphoria can really take their toll on a person and neuropsychiatry can help when counselling and psychotherapy have not brought desired results.
  • Paranoia resulting from a lack of sleep can wreak havoc on a person, both physically and mentally. A neuropsychiatrist can help train you to inculcate better sleeping habits, even prescribing medication that can aid sleep.
  • Therapy counselling is all well and good when the condition is common and easily treated. Organic psychiatry aims to go beyond neurology and psychiatry, dealing with conditions that arise from brain damage, or any other neuropsychiatric ailments.
  • Certain patients with a history of receiving counselling and psychotherapy will naturally want to try new ways to get better. Organic psychiatry could be the answer to their woes.

The Future of Neuropsychiatry 

It all comes down to cementing a holistic training manifesto for neuropsychiatry. The organic psychiatric community is working towards greater integration between clinical neurosciences and traditional psychiatry. This will be crucial to the future role of neuropsychiatry in treating medical conditions that veer towards the unknown.

For instance, in 2010, the International Neuropsychiatric Association put forward a core curriculum for wider application in the field. This needs to be built upon and together with further research in the field can drive neuropsychiatry to new heights.

Organic psychiatry’s pace of progress will always depend on the integrative approach between psychiatry, neuroscience and present neuropsychiatry standards. The community should take hope from how positive research and treatment of Alzheimer’s over the last 15 years owes a lot to psychogeriatrics and neuropsychiatry, an intersection that goes well beyond just neurology-based solutions.

The Bottom Line

Neuropsychiatry is a medical branch that diagnoses and treats mental disorders caused by brain dysfunction. It involves collaboration between psychiatry and neurology, using imaging studies, neuropsychological testing, and pharmacological interventions. With significant advancements in recent years, ongoing research and technology, neuropsychiatry is set to play a vital role in mental health disorder diagnosis and management.

If you’re interested in learning more about neuropsychiatry, AUAMED’s Clinical Sciences curriculum , as part of the MD Program, includes a comprehensive grounding in neuropsychiatry. This helps our medical students keep an open mind and deal with symptoms and ailments that are not easily definable. Their basic knowledge of neurology and psychiatry will enhance their understanding of organic psychiatry and turn them into invaluable, open-minded doctors. Visit our website today!


How would you define neuropsychiatry?

Neuropsychiatry is the medical field that focuses on the intersection of psychiatry and neurology, specifically how disorders of the nervous system can affect mental health and behavior.

What does a neuropsychiatrist treat?

A neuropsychiatrist is a medical professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions that are related to the brain, nervous system, and behavior.

What’s the difference between a psychiatrist and a neuropsychiatrist?

While both psychiatrists and neuropsychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the treatment of mental illness, neuropsychiatrists have additional training and expertise in the relationship between neurological and psychiatric disorders. This means that neuropsychiatrists are better equipped to diagnose and treat conditions that affect both the brain and the mind.

What is the definition of neuropsychiatric disorder?

A neuropsychiatric disorder is a condition that affects both the nervous system and mental health. It can involve a range of symptoms, including cognitive impairment, behavioral changes, and emotional disturbances.