The human brain is a complex organ that is constantly changing and evolving. Scientists and medical professionals continue to learn more about the brain and its impact on mental health at a rapid rate. One of the professionals that spends a large amount of time studying the brain is a neuropsychologist. Unlike a traditional psychologist, a neuropsychologist specializes in studying the connection between the brain and behavior.
Neuropsychologists work with patients that may have been diagnosed with a disorder or those that have been dealing with head injuries or strokes. They are specialized in helping patients understand the function of their brain and work to give them tools to support their mental health and overall wellbeing.
The role of a neuropsychologist in regards to mental health is to help the patient understand their cognitive function in relation to a specific disorder as well as provide tools and supports that work specifically to help their brain function at its maximum capacity.
Neuropsychologists Use Research to Guide Patient Care
Although the field of neuropsychology is relatively young, the research that has been completed by experts in the field has helped both patients and medical professionals understand unique disorders and the impact on mental health. Pioneers in the field have established research for decades and the role of a neuropsychologist can be imperative in improving a patient’s care.
When a patient receives a diagnosis such as a learning disability or a diagnosis of autism, it can be overwhelming to not only try and understand the disorder itself but what it means for the patient moving forward in regards to the wellbeing of their everyday life. Cognitive disabilities can be complicated to understand and working with a professional such as a neuropsychologist can help make a daunting diagnosis a little less scary.
Neuropsychologists use the research completed to help patients understand the way their brain is functioning. They also provide information for patients on coping mechanisms for improved mental health as well as therapies and opportunities for patients to learn about and gain a thorough understanding of their new diagnosis. Working with a professional such as a neuropsychologist can provide a lot of relief and support for a newly diagnosed patient.
Neuropsychologists Complete A Detailed Assessment of the Brain
When facing a new diagnosis, or searching for an understanding of why someone may be struggling with their mental health or other cognitive concerns, it can be frustrating to not have a full picture of what is happening in the brain. This is where working with a neuropsychologist can be extremely beneficial, as not only can they help with understanding a diagnosis but they can also help monitor progress as time continues.
Neuropsychologists use specific assessments to learn about an individual’s memory, intelligence index, processing speed, language skills and more. Using that baseline assessment, they can then help a patient understand what is happening with their brain which in turn is likely impacting their mental health and overall wellbeing.
Because neuropsychologists are not only focused on the medical and scientific aspect, but also the mental aspect of brain science they are an ideal professional to work with to help improve a patient’s mental health.
Neuropsychologists Help Identify Deficits and Set Goals for Patients
As uncomfortable and challenging as it can be to accept any deficits as an individual, especially when it comes to the function of your brain and a likely unwanted diagnosis, understanding the deficits is actually a step in the right direction for improvement when it comes to your overall well being. Using the data collected by neuropsychologists for both your individual case as well as research they have collected can help you process limitations as well as set realistic goals for the future.
If a patient has had a traumatic brain injury or a stroke, a neuropsychologist can help them learn about the impact the trauma has had on their brain and then provide exercises and tools they can use to help offset any deficits that may be occurring in their brain. Because neuropsychologists are focused on both the neuroscience and the psychology of the brain, they work with patients to set goals for improvement and not just simply provide a diagnosis.
A Neuropsychologist Works With Other Mental Health Professionals to Provide the Best Care Possible
Often after an evaluation from a neuropsychologist, you may be left with a lot of questions about what your everyday life will look like and how you will function. Working with a neuropsychologist means that they can help connect you with a therapist that can help support your mental health on a more consistent basis. Using the information gained from working with a neuropsychologist, a therapist can work with you on a treatment plan for cognitive behavioral therapy to help you process a diagnosis.
Neuropsychologists are important to have as part of your care team to understand both the medical and psychological impacts of a brain injury or diagnosis and they will work with other members of your care team to provide you with the best support possible.
Focusing on your mental health is one of the most important things you can do in life to improve both your physical health and your quality of life. One of the first steps to improve your quality of life is understanding how your individual brain is working and functioning. Working with a neuropsychologist helps you establish a baseline for understanding your brain and any limitations. They can also help guide you in the right direction for improving cognitive function which in turn will impact your mental health in a positive way.
Because neuropsychologists conduct such thorough evaluations, you will be given a detailed assessment of your brain and its functions. Then you can work together to improve your overall well being by using tools you learn about when working with your neuropsychologist and you will be well on your way to both a better quality of life and an improvement in your mental health.