What is a Neuropsychologist?

A Neuropsychologist is a psychologist who specializes in understanding the relationship between the physical brain and behavior. Injuries and disorders within the brain and nervous system can alter behavior and cognitive function.

A Neuropsychologist understands how brain structures and systems relate to behavior and thinking. Evaluation of patients with brain injuries or disorders are conducted. Results provide indicators of the types of treatment that will likely help the patient. A nurse practitioner then connects the patient and his or her family to the proper provider for treatment.

Neuropsychologists have a doctorate in psychology and training in neuropsychology. They often work in research or clinical settings.

What does a Neuropsychologist do?

Neuropsychologists evaluate and treat people with various types of nervous system disorders. Illnesses, injuries, and disease of the brain and nervous system can affect the way a person feels, thinks, and behaves. Symptoms that may call for a neuropsychologist include:

  • memory difficulties
  • mood disturbances
  • learning difficulties
  • nervous system dysfunction

If other doctors can't identify the cause of a symptom, a neuropscyholgist can help determine a diagnosis. If a diagnosis is already known, an assessment can still be helpful.

A neuropscyhologist can help determine what impairments a patient might have and the severity. The following are examples of conditions evaluated and treated:

  • A stroke can affect behavior, thinking, memory, and other brain functions in obvious or subtle ways. An evaluation can help determine the degree of stroke impairment.
  • Parkinson's disease, a progressive disorder, can cause several neurological problems. A neuropsychologist's exam can provide a baseline to help them determine disease progression and decreased function.
  • Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia can interfere with memory, personality, and cognitive abilities. A neuropsychologist can perform an exam to help them identify it in its early stage.
  • Traumatic brain injuries can cause a wide variety of symptoms. A neuropsychologist can help determine how an injury affects functions like reasoning or problem-solving skills.
  • A neurospychologist can help determine which of the many types of learning disabilities someone has and develop a treatment plan.
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