Neuropsychology is the study of the relationship between psychological actions and the physical structures of the brain. Although the mental health community has long been interested in this field, neuropsychology began to pick up steam when new imaging technologies in the 1950s and 1960s opened new avenues of research.
Behavioral health professionals in this field specifically look at how external triggers create psychological events that impact the neurons in the brain. While researchers have discovered a lot about these interactions, it is a rapidly evolving field.
The field comprises of two main types of neuropsychology: cognitive and clinical. Cognitive neuropsychologists conduct research that helps further the field. Clinical professionals in the area use the conclusions of their cognitive colleagues to help patients.
In clinical neuropsychology, professionals use image testing to diagnose brain disorders or assess the damage that a known issue caused. Patients should only see neuropsychologists who have the right credentials. The American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN) and the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) both certify these professionals.
Neuropsychology can help patients with several disorders, including:
- Tourette Syndrome
- Developmental delays and disorders
- Substance addiction
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Recurring concussions
- Learning disabilities
- Bipolar disorder
Neuropsychologists may run different types of tests depending on which issues the patients experience.
What is Neuropsychological Testing?
Neuropsychological testing is a series of computerized, written, and object-based tests that can offer diagnostic and treatment insights for a range of mental health disorders. The evaluation process may involve several different types of tests, depending on what the care team needs to know about the patient’s cognitive abilities.
Some people are concerned about neuropsychological testing. While it can be frustrating, it’s not physically painful. These exams are design to test cognitive or emotional abilities. It’s important to ask your clinician to explain your specific testing battery so you can understand the process and its results and how they can lead to healing.
What diagnoses does a Neuropsychological Assessment test for?
- Brain Injury, dementia, or stroke
- Sensory Processing Disorders
- Learning Disorders (language based, non-verbal, math based, intellectual disorders)
- Tourette’s Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Memory Loss and Function
- Mood Disorders (depression, anxiety, bipolar)
A neuropsychological evaluation can either assess the extent of a known issue or lead to new diagnoses. Practitioners can use them to determine the effects of a brain injury, dementia, or stroke. These exams can also uncover mental health disorders, like depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. If damage is already known or expected, a neuropsychological exam can help determine the extent of the problem and where it may be located in the brain. This can help explain and treat TBI’s, memory loss, damage to due stroke, and other medical issues. Neuropsychological testing can also reveal learning difficulties if a child is not meeting developmental milestones. If your care team is struggling to determine the exact mood disorder you may have, testing can help find the most appropriate diagnosis to guide you and your care team towards proper treatment.
Summer Counseling offers Neuropsychological testing beginning in September 2020. Please inquire below for more information and scheduling.