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What is the difference between neurologist, neuropsychologist and psychiatrist?

The neurologist, the neuropsychologist and the psychiatrist deal with diseases related to the brain. However, they are different professionals who treat different diseases . Knowing them will make us know which professional we should go depending on the symptoms we suffer.

First, let’s go deeper into what a neurologist is. This professional treats all conditions related to the nervous system and muscles , among which would be all types of dementia, movement disorders, epilepsies, cerebrovascular diseases, headaches or neuromuscular diseases.

Some of these diseases are Parkinson’s , Alzheimer’s , strokes or neuropathies. All of them have in common that they are related to the connections between the muscles and the nervous system.

Therefore, if we perceive that some of these symptoms occur, it will be convenient to visit this specialist so that he can give us a more precise diagnosis, as well as the keys to treat the disease in question.

Second, we talk about the neuropsychologist. Neuropsychology is a neuroscience that studies the relationship that exists between brain structures and human behavior. This can apply to both healthy people and people who have suffered some type of brain damage.

The functions of this professional are, for example, to assess whether a brain injury has occurred in a patient. For this purpose, it uses tests that analyze the level of intelligence, memory or attention of the person.

This is applicable to many situations. One is in the case of people who have had a drug addiction, since these may have affected important functions of their brain. Determine the degree of affectation after the consumption of the same would be one of the tasks of this professional.

They are also those who carry out the rehabilitation tasks of patients who have suffered damage to cognitive functions. In this sense, the professional will assess this issue taking into account aspects such as age, profession or personality type of the patient.

Functions of the psychiatrist

Finally, in the case of the psychiatrist is a professional whose work focuses on the mental health of the person. It differs from the psychologist in that he studies medicine and then specializes in this area to treat mental illness.

These specialists are diagnosing diseases and mental and emotional disorders , for which they proceed to the prescription of drugs. However, they are not usually specialized in psychological therapies.


Not all brain diseases are the same

Given this, although all these professionals devote their work and study to diseases related to the brain, there are multiple conditions and syndromes related to it that, depending on their origin, should be treated by one or the other.

The differences, therefore, are that they treat all diseases related to the brain, but not all brain diseases are the same. They can be of mental, biological, physical origin or as a consequence of an accident or the consumption of toxic substances .

For example, if we notice that there are movement disorders and, in addition, factors such as age, it is likely that what we suffer is some type of neuronal disease. In that case, the neurologist would be the most appropriate professional to assess whether it is a neuronal disease.

In the event that we have suffered an accident or an illness that could leave sequels in the brain, a neuropsychologist can help us determine the degree to which the brain has been affected.

Some of the diseases treated by this specialist are emotional behavioral disorders , or pediatric developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder , Asperger’s , or maturational delays such as ADHD .

The psychiatrist would therefore be able to treat diseases and mental disorders that require medication and that affect the person’s behavior. These can be more or less serious, such as phobias , obsessive-compulsive disorders, anorexia or bulimia.

They are also in charge of assessing and diagnosing people who may have had problems with the law to determine the degree of criminal responsibility that the subject has, depending on their mental state and their cognitive abilities.

And in the brain there is a world of connections and there are hundreds of diseases and disorders associated with it. Depending on its origin and on what capacities it affects, we must go to one or another professional, as this will be fundamental to solve the problem and treat it in the most appropriate way.

In summary, the areas in which a neurologist, a neuropsychologist and a psychiatrist work are different and, therefore, are not the same as one another. We hope that after reading these lines you will have a little more clarity about what each of the terms refers to.

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