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What is a Neuropsychologist and What Do They Do?

What is a Neuropsychologist? generally defined as a professional who specialize in the study of the behavioral link that exists between the brain and the way humans, as well as higher primates behave, this is something that they also theorize on.  On essence they are psychologists who specialize in understanding the relationship between the physical brain and the behavior of individuals.

As we know, the brain is quite complex and any disorder within the nervous system and of course the brain, can alter a person’s cognitive function as well as their daily behavior. A neuropsychologist will generally work in a clinic assisting patients suffering from neurological disorders, they also help patients who have suffered from brain injuries. The way that it is generally described is that a neuropsychologist’s role is to understand and thoroughly comprehend that what the brain’s systems and structures relate to the thinking and behavioral patterns of their patients.

Many times they will study the brain function as well as skill of a person in comparison to the function and skill that was typically displayed by the patient prior to the onset of the neurological symptoms they are now exhibiting or before the went through whatever traumatic experience caused the brian damage to begin with. This helps the neuropsychologist to assist in managing the treatment properly as well as determining the correct form of individual rehabilitation they need.

A neuropsychologist must have a doctorate in psychology as well as extensive training in neuropsychology. The may work in clinical settings, hospitals or in research facilities and they do so in very close succession with neurologists as well as neurosurgeons. There may be times in which a neuropsychologist will work in a rehab center, there they will work with patients who are suffering from neurological disorders, this help to ensure that the benefits of the brain-specific treatments which are being provided are maximized.

Another area in which neuropsychologists specialize is in the research and effects that surround the differences between symptoms which are neurologically based and those which are brought on by emotional problems or issues. This means that a neuropsychologist specialist is required to study, research and understand the most basic and common functions of the very specific areas in the complex brain as well as the effect that a disease or an injury can have on these specific areas.

There are many times in which neuropsychologist specialists are used in court for certain cases which have been built around head trauma or injury which was severe and therefore have played a role in behavioral changes. This particular field has been known to open doors for  neuropsychologist specialists  in positions of leadership, positions of management as well as certain aspects pertaining to product development.

To better understand what is a neuropsychologist, here is some more detailed information on certain specific areas where there skill is demanded. Keep in mind that a large variety of nervous system disorders are evaluated and treated by neuropsychologist as they work with other brain specialists.

It is very serious and concerning the way in which illness, diseases and injuries of the nervous system brain can affect the way in which an individual behaves, thinks and feels. Certain symptoms that would require the assistance of a neuropsychologist would be:

Disturbances in an individual’s mood
Dysfunctions in the nervous system
Difficulties retaining memory
Difficulties with learning

If other doctors are unable to identify exactly what is causing the symptom or symptoms, a neuropsychologist will be able to assist in determining the correct diagnosis. If a diagnosis has already been made, it is still helpful to have a neuropsychologist assess the patient. A neuropsychologist will be able to assist in determining the types of impairments a patient may have as well as the severity of the impairments. Here are a few examples of conditions a neuropsychologist will evaluate as well as treat:

Traumatic Brain Injuries: This can actually bring on a whole slew of symptoms. A neuropsychologist will be able to help determine how traumatic brain injuries will affect the patient’s functions such as their problem solving skills pr reasoning.
Determine What Learning Disability Is Being Portrayed: A neuropsychologist can also help to assess and determine which learning disability of the many types that exist has been developed by a patient, they can also develop the best treatment plan.
A Stroke: A stroke can have a big affect on an individual’s memory, thinking, behavior and many other functions of the brain. At times the symptoms are obvious and sometimes they are subtle. An evaluation which can help to determine the degree of an impairment due to a stroke can be performed and from their treatment planned.

Alzheimer’s Disease as Well as Other Forms of Dementia: Dementia can affect an individual’s personality, memory and cognitive abilities. By performing an exam, a neuropsychologist is able to identify this early one and start treatment on time.

Parkinson’s Diseases: This is a progressive disorder which is accompanied by quite a few neurological issues. The exam that a  neuropsychologist can perform will give them the baseline and help to determine the progression of the disease and well as any functions which have decreased.

So what is a neuropsychologist? It is a specialist who studies and researches the brain in a very specific manner. They are the ones who help to diagnose and treat one of the most delicate organs of the human body when injured or suffering from a disease or disorder.