Neurology is the science of studying the function and structure of the brain. Psychology is the study of the mind and illnesses that happen to the mind. There is a field of study which combines the two called neuropsychology.
Neuropsychology studies how the brain's structures and functions relate to psychological behaviors and processes. A neuropsychologist will do things like study how the mind and the brain work together. For example, a neuropsychologist will look at how a neurological illness can affect how a person behaves or their mental illness. Neuropsychologists tend to work in research and may work in clinical settings as diagnosticians. A neuropsychiatrist would be able to prescribe and treat a person.
A neuropsych exam is generally an in-depth exam that a person goes through that includes questionnaires, observation, and interviews. In some cases, it may also include diagnostic imaging like MRIs. There are a lot of reasons for people to have a neuropsychological exam. For example, it can be used to help diagnose autism. A person who is suspected to have autism would go to see the neuropsychologist. Before the appointment, the doctor would generally send out questionnaires to the parents and teachers of the person as well as one to the person who is having the exam, depending on the age. The questionnaires will ask about how the person acts, things they can do, how much assistance they need to do daily tasks, and a whole lot of other things. If the person is a child, the doctor may observe them playing or doing something similar so that the doctor gets a good idea of how the child acts. The doctor will also talk to the person and find out how they feel about certain things. The exam generally takes at least two days and several hours on each day. After all the interviews, observations, questionnaires, and anything else the doctor requires, they will take some time to evaluate all the information they have gotten and then come up with a diagnosis. It may take a few days or weeks for the doctor to come up with a full diagnosis so that they have the time to really consider everything and make sure that they are making the right diagnosis.
Neuropsychology is an important part of diagnosing and treating people who have neurological illnesses as well as mental illnesses. The doctors can help come up with the best ways to help those people feel better.
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