There are no well-defined criteria to say when a disorder is ‘Neuropsychiatric’, as opposed to being simply psychiatric.The essence of neuropsychiatry, however, is the assessment, diagnosis and management of any condition, usually involving brain, which may present unusually with physical symptoms and/or mental health problems.
When presentations are not obviously due to the effects of actual brain or nervous system disease, or any other physical illness e.g. viral infection, the task of a neuropsychiatrist is to explore psychiatric factors, to end relentless over-investigation, which is costly to the NHS and often of little help in management. More information about this can be found in the Section on ‘Functional Neurological Disorders’.
In this Section we are concerned with diseases which are complicated by additional neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Neuropsychiatric Disorders Diagnoses
This is sometimes called ‘acute confusional state’.
Many autoimmune diseases have potential to affect mental state and cause psychiatric symptoms such as depression or agitation, apathy, fatigue, psychosis and cognitive dysfunction.
Meningitis, Encephalitis and Other Brain Infections
Brain infections such as meningitis and encephalitis are fortunately not very common, but they need rapid diagnosis and treatment in hospital to minimise the harm that can be done.
Neuropsychiatric Conditions Arising From Nutritional Deficiencies
There are a number of essential water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins that are required for good health and if there is deficiency this can lead to illnesses.
As well as ‘functional seizures’, about which more can be found on this website under the section ‘Functional Neurological Disorders’, many patients suffer with epileptic seizures, with a lifelong need to take anti-epileptic medication.
The Complications of General Psychiatric Disorders
Many general psychiatric disorders can be perfectly stable and well managed by colleagues in general adult psychiatry, until something unusual happens. For example, a patient well managed for years with depot anti-psychotic medication for schizophrenia, develops a movement disorder, seizures, a memory problem, or new psychotic symptoms.