Neuropsychiatric DisordersAuthor(s): Nehaansi K
Neuropsychiatry or Organic Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with psychiatry as it relates to neurology, in an effort to understand and attribute behavior to the interaction of neurobiology and social psychology factors. Within neuropsychiatry, the mind is considered “as an emergent property of the brain”, whereas other behavioral and neurological specialties might consider the two as separate entities. Neuropsychiatry preceded the current disciplines of psychiatry and neurology, which previously had common training, however, those disciplines have subsequently diverged and are typically practiced separately. Currently, neuropsychiatry has become a growing subspecialty of psychiatry as it closely relates the fields of neuropsychology and behavioral neurology, and attempts to utilize this understanding to better treat illnesses that fall under both neurological and mental disorder classifications (e.g., autism, ADHD, Tourette’s syndrome). Neurologists have focused objectively on organic nervous system pathology, especially of the brain, whereas psychiatrists have laid claim to illnesses of the mind. This antipodal distinction between brain and mind as two different entities has characterized many of the differences between the two specialties. However, it has been argued that this division is fictional; evidence from the last century of research has shown that our mental life has its roots in the brain. Brain and mind have been argued not to be discrete entities but just different ways of looking at the same system (Marr, 1982). It has been argued that embracing this mind/brain monism may be useful for several reasons. First, rejecting dualism implies that all mentation is biological, which provides a common research framework in which understanding and treatment of mental disorders can be advanced. Second, it mitigates widespread confusion about the legitimacy of mental illness by suggesting that all disorders should have a footprint in the brain. In sum, a reason for the division between psychiatry and neurology was the distinction between mind or first-person experience and the brain. That this difference is taken to be artificial by proponents of mind/brain monism supports a merge between these specialties.