Neuropsychiatry blends the fields of neurology, neuropsychology and psychiatry to understand the biological/neurological basis of aberrant mood, behavior and thinking, allowing for treatments targeted at not just symptoms, but biological causes.
Historically, health care has been divided between “medical” and “mental health” disorders (or “mental illness”). However, this is an artificial divide that has led to confusion, misunderstanding, stigmatization and mistreatment. In fact, it has been well established that psychiatric disorders have a neurological basis, and most neurological disorders have psychiatric manifestations. Thus, rather than talk about “mental health”, the conversation should be focused on “neurohealth”. At CNNH, we explore for underlying biological causes, contributors and triggers of behaviors or other concerns that are interfering with appropriate interactions with others, prohibiting school or job success, making or keeping friends of relationships, causing poor self-esteem or depression, presenting a danger to self or others, or delaying appropriate development or emotional growth. Thus, not only do we define and categorize the external behavioral manifestations (“outside”), but evaluate for physical and neurological mechanisms (“inside”).
Clinical neuropsychiatric/psychiatric evaluations are performed by our expert and board certified neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatric and medical advanced practice nurses, and behavior analysts. Our assessments are comprehensive, and include a discussion of the presenting problems and concerns; review of past medical, neurological, neuropsychiatric and educational difficulties and issues; abstraction of pertinent past medical and other records; complete physical, neurological and mental status examination; discussion concerning our clinical findings and diagnostic impressions; suggestions for further diagnostic testing; outline of treatment recommendations; and a comprehensive written report. Depending on our assessments and findings, our board certified behavior analysts can determine the function of an aberrant behavior through a “functional behavior analysis” (FBA: very useful for patients who communicate poorly, such as those with autism). The FBA can determine whether a behavior is occurring for a reason such as attention, getting access to a preferred item, wanting to avoid performing a task or demand; or whether the behavior is being biologically/automatically driven and not under the individual’s control. Our neuropsychologists can provide essential testing about how the brain functions and expresses itself (click here for detailed information about neuropsychlogical testing and services). In addition, CNNH offers an array of non-invasive ways to assess the function of the brain using advanced neurotechnology.
It is our philosophy of medical care to look for underlying biological triggers of neurological disorders and neurodevelopmental disabilities, and provide treatments targeted to underlying causes and mechanisms. In some cases, a definitive cause remains elusive, so that treatments are directed at reducing symptoms. In all cases, we take a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, and optimize non-pharmacological interventions prior to any medication trials. Non-drug treatments include cognitive behavioral therapies, creative arts therapies (music, art, movement/dance), cognitive rehabilitation therapies, applied behavior analysis and behavior management, dietary therapies, physical/occupational/speech therapies, and more. Medications can be important in select cases, and may also facilitate other therapies, but are usually provided adjunctively as part of a comprehensive and multimodal treatment package.
“I felt that my son was treated as a WHOLE person – all of his issues were listened to and a next course of action, a personalized plan, was put in place.”