The Importance of Neuropsychology in Mental Health

The Importance of Neuropsychology in Mental HealthWhen it comes to understanding mental health, using the science of neuropsychology is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Neuropsychology combines the disciplines of neurology, psychology and psychiatry to help understand how the brain functions when it comes to cognitive function and mental health. 

Combining those disciplines helps ensure that scientists, medical professionals and researchers have an understanding of how the brain works as a whole, and not just as separate parts. Researchers have now learned how trauma impacts the brain and they use that data to inform potential treatment plans for patients. 

Mental health can be tricky to understand at times and neuropsychologists are crucial in helping to understand the brain better in order to support clients and patients in need of mental health services. Using the research gained from neuropsychologists, psychologists are better equipped to support clients and patients to help them get the treatment they need for their mental health. 

Neuropsychology Helps Improve Somatic Therapy 

Doctors and scientists have long believed that the mind and body are connected and impact one another on a daily basis. Research completed by neuropsychologists now shows this to be true thanks to brain imaging and data collected.  When a person has been impacted by trauma, their brain scans look different than the average brain. Scans have actually shown brains to be rewired after experiencing trauma.

This in turn can have a negative impact of stress on the body as well, and a tool like somatic therapy is a great resource to use to help lessen some of the negative impacts of trauma and mental health struggles. The good news is that using somatic trauma therapy can help rewire the brain again and build new neural pathways from where the previous trauma-impacted someone’s brain chemistry. 

As neuropsychology research continues researchers are learning that using strategies such as meditation and deep breathing which are techniques used during somatic therapy, can alter the brain chemistry of a patient in a positive way. This is why using the data collected from neuropsychologists is an incredibly useful tool for therapists and other mental health professionals. 

Using Neuropsychology Helps Rule Out Different Disorders

Labeling a diagnosis for mental health can be tricky when there are numerous factors that are impacting a patient. A mental health disorder can often appear as a physical disorder and vice versa as both impact one another.  Working with a neuropsychologist will help to ensure that the patient has received the correct diagnosis and treatment plan. 

A neuropsychologist uses a variety of assessments to look at anything from Attention Deficit Disorder to ALS and a variety of things in between. Different neurological disorders can cause different symptoms, including anxiety and depression so it is imperative to complete a thorough assessment before continuing treatment. 

These experts can also help students that are struggling either academically or socially. Neuropsychologists can help identify learning disorders that can have a major impact on a child’s mental health and self-esteem, so the earlier a diagnosis is given the better to help support the child. 

Neuropsychology Helps Mental Health Professionals Understand the Brain Better

Those that have studied the brain have known for decades that the health of the brain impacts every aspect of the human condition. Now, thanks to research done by neuropsychologists there is data to prove that tools such as focusing on mindfulness and deep breathing can actually alter your brain’s activity and chemistry. Using brain imaging, research has shown that the mind/body connection is real and that using tools along the way to help with mental health can have a positive impact over time. 

Understanding the impact of mood on the brain and vice versa helps both psychologists and medical professionals target specific behaviors and tools to help support their patients. Neuropsychologists use a variety of evaluation tools and assessments to evaluate everything from intelligence to emotional regulation, processing speed, communication skills and more. Thanks to these assessments, neuropsychologists can then work with therapists and other members of the mental health field to plan and implement the best practices to support patients with their mental health needs. 

Cognitive Capabilities are Assessed Using Neuropsychology

It has been known that mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression have an impact on cognitive function. If you have ever been anxious or stressed, you know that it can feel as if your brain has truly stopped functioning. It can be hard to think of anything else and can impact your day-to-day responsibilities. Well, scientists and clinicians now know there is some truth to the feeling that your brain truly has been put on pause. 

When struggling with mental health, your body often goes into flight or fight mode and brain scans done by neuropsychologists have shown that your cognitive ability is impaired when you are struggling with anxiety or depression. 

Using this data and research helps provide patients with more specialized treatment options as well as an understanding of what is happening to their brains during a panic attack or depressive episode. Understanding the impact on cognitive ability can help change the way individuals function and respond when struggling with a mental health crisis. Knowledge is power and when a patient is able to understand what is happening and what they can do about it, their mental health will automatically improve. 

Neuropsychology has changed the field of mental health for the better. With cutting-edge research and new data emerging often, the brain and its functions are now understood more than ever. Mental health professionals know now there is a science that supports the use of tools such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation used during somatic therapy for excellent options in helping to heal the brain. 

Using this important information gained from neuropsychologists helps clinicians and researchers better serve and support their patients, which in turn makes for healthier individuals who understand their own mental health and have strong coping skills to use when faced with problems. 

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