Neuropsychology and mental illness

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When I started to study psychology, I was immediately interested in neuropsychology. For six months I worked at a rehabilitation unit in Bergen. I met people with different types of brain injuries, and learnt different tests used to map cognitive functions. I thought about becoming a neuropsychologist, but decided to work with trauma victims instead. But my interest in biology and neuroscience is still there, and I try to use the knowledge I have gathered when I work with trauma victims. My preferred method is EMDR (eye movement and desensitization). EMDR is based on solid evidence, and I love that we also use neuroscience to explain how EMDR works.

Neuropsychology studies the structure and function of the brain as they relate to specific psychological processes and behaviors. It is an experimental field of psychology that aims to understand how behavior and cognition are influenced by brain functioning and is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral and cognitive effects of neurological disorders.

At work yesterday, we had a lecture about the treatment of AD/HD and bipolar disorder. The lecturer works in Bergen where she does research on AD/HD. Her name is Anne Halmøy, and she was a truly inspiring person.  It was really interesting to hear her talk, especially since she explained how neuropsychology helps us to understand AD/HD better.  One of the problems people with AD/HD and bipolar disorder have, is regulation their behavior and emotions. She told us that we are beginning to understand that some brain areas are under-regulated in those patiens. It is not clear which areas contributes the most to what, but the prefrontal cortex and the limbic areas are two likely candidates.

What Goes On in the Brain

Studies show that brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, don’t work the same in children and adults with ADHD. There also tend to be differences in the way nerve pathways work.

Certain parts of the brain may be less active or smaller in children with ADHD than those without the disorder.

The brain chemical dopamine may also play a role. It carries signals between nerves in the brain and is linked to movement, sleep, mood, attention, and learning.

Science has already come a long way in explaining AD/HD and bipolar disorder, but there is still so much to learn. The coming years will probably see a surge of new research that explains why genetic and mental disorders develops.

The different lobes of the brain

Neuropsychology – Science Daily

What Causes ADHD/ADD

Anne Halmøy | University ini Bergen

Brain Differences in ADHD – About Kids Health