What is Neuropsychology?
The term Neuropsychology is simply a study of the interrelationship between the brain and cognition, behavior and other neuropsychological processes. The word neuropsychology is a union of three Greek words, namely: neuron (which means nerves), psyche (which mean mind) and logos (which mean "the study of"). Putting these concepts together gives you thus: A study of the relationship between the brain and corresponding behaviors and also the application of this knowledge.In simple terms, this is a study specializing in diseases associated with the brain and nervous system. This is sometimes confused with the term psychiatry because they obviously involve the same organ, which is the brain.
One way you can tell the difference is that while psychiatry deals with cognitive and emotional disorders (e.g depression, schizophrenia, panic disorders and so on.), neuropsychology deals with abnormalities associated with the nervous system. This has to do with the spinal cord, nerves, nerve roots, muscles and the brain.
History of Neuropsychology
This is a relatively new branch of knowledge within the subject of psychology. The history of study of this discipline has been traced back to about the Third Dynasty in Ancient Egypt or there about. Prior to this, the brain was thought to be useless and has often being disregarded during autopsies. However, over time the field of medicine has developed and there's been an increased understanding on physiology and the human anatomy.
This has led to the developments of theories, suggesting/explaining the behavior of the body and causes. This ended the idea of approaching certain abnormalities from a religious point of view only - putting all the blame on gods and bad spirits. Various scholars and physicians have contributed immensely to the understanding of how the brain works, and its connection with the behaviors of the body. Their discoveries, some of which were not completely true went a long way in opening doors which has now led to this present day understanding of the brain and how it affects the body functions.
People began to explore the functioning of the body, seeking for explanations as to why behaviors are the way they are - normal and abnormal. One major contribution was traced to Hipprocrates who proposed that the brain was the organ of intellect. Other contributions of importance were from people like Franz Josef Gall, Paul Broca, Carl Wernicke and Hughlings Jackson, suggesting that the brain has different parts and which may be responsible for certain abilities and disabilities of the body.
Branches of Neuropsychology
The study of neuropsychology can be basicall divided into three, they are:
This is the area of psychology that has to do with the applied science of the relationship between various cognitions, behavior and emotions, and the brain. This specialty is involved with the application of the intervention and assessment principle relying on the scientific study of the brain-behavior. It employs a variety of techniques for the study of brain-behavior relationship.
This branch of neuropsychology employs methods from experimental psychology to reveal the relationship between cognitive function and the nervous system. A good number of the methods it employs involve the study of animals (non-human) - they observe their behaviors following certain electrical stimulation and electrical damages. The brain activities of the nerves of these animals are recorded and connected to their display.
This is another specialty in neuropsychology that involves evaluating the function of the brain as it relates with behavior and cognition. It requires conducting a comprehensive evaluation, interpreting test outcomes and making test based recommendations.
Neuropsychology and its Related Diseases
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): This is one of the most commonly diagnosed neuropsychological conditions. This is where a person has difficulty in focusing and paying attention to something. He or she tends to have trouble with staying still and prone to act without thinking. This is sometimes observed to begin as early as during childhood. Despite being most widely researched, its exact cause has not yet been discovered.
People with this disorder are easily distracted; they are often found restless without the ability to engage in quiet activities. The best time for this condition to be diagnosed is between the ages of 6 - 12. Also because no cause has yet been discovered, there is also no cure. Nevertheless, treatments exists that can help to control ADHD symptoms. These medicines may include medicines and behavior therapy - where changes in environment can be made to improve the condition.
This condition ranges from being mild to being very severe; you also have the temporary cases of sadness. This article refers to the highly severe form of depression otherwise known as clinical or major depression. Symptoms of this form of depression include:
Reduced interest in a lot of activities
Increased desire to sleep
A form of restlessness
Loss of energy or fatigue
Having trouble with decision making or concentrating
Having recurrent thoughts of suicide
Intense feelings of worthlessness or guilt inappropriately
This is a condition where the way a person thinks, feel or acts is affected. People in such condition usually find it difficult to tell the difference between what is imaginary and real. This people have the tendency of being withdrawn and not able to express their emotions effectively in social gatherings.The cause(s) for these disorders is yet still unclear, but some scientists have suggested possible causes, which are genetics and chemistry. Symptoms for this condition varies with individuals and may develop slowly in some and abrupt in others.
This is a comprehensive assessment of behavioral and cognitive functions through standardized tests and procedures. This way, the data about a subject's behavioral, cognitive linguistic, motor and executive functioning can be acquired. This evaluation helps in evaluating cognitive conditions that can be subtle. It also determines the brain parts that have affected by disease or injury; explaining the impact the results will have on the individual's life. It benefits includes revealing ones giftedness and his or her giftedness. This information can be very useful in helping one improve on his or her relations and becoming effective at work.