What is Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry?

Behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry is a specialty that seeks to understand and treat the behavioral and psychiatric symptoms that arise from neurological conditions. That is, behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry treats the problematic behaviors, feelings, and thoughts that come from brain disorders. It looks at the direct relationship between the brain and the way a person thinks and acts.

The health of our brain affects our daily function, including areas of emotion, memory, and behaviors. Patients with specific brain disorders may experience functional problems that are treated by a neuropsychiatrist. These brain disorders include:
  • Epilepsy
  • Dementia
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Stroke

Behavioral neurologists and neuropsychiatrists and may use several different methods to gather information about the illness affecting their patients. They may use imaging, such as CT scans and MRIs, as well as blood work and other lab tests. Physical tests such as EEGs, EMGs, or sleep studies are sometimes done. Finally, behavioral neurologists and neuropsychiatrists often do psychiatric exams to talk with their patients and understand their thoughts and feelings.

Although behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry has only relatively recently appeared as a board certified medical specialty, people have been trying to understand how the brain affects our thoughts and behavior for hundreds of years. This unique specialty, blending neurology and psychiatry together, helps patients manage the internal symptoms of a brain disorder.