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Dr Bonnie-Kate Dewar > What is neuropsychology?

What is Neuropsychology?

Neuropsychology is the relationship between brain and behaviour.   A clinical neuropsychologist is a specialised clinical psychologist skilled in the assessment, diagnosis and management of changes in thinking, mood and behaviour following brain injury or illness.

Changes in thinking, memory and behaviour may occur following brain injury or illness including:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Neuroinfective illness- such as encephalitis or meningitis
  • Hypoxia
  • Epilepsy
  • Tumours
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Drug and Alcohol misuse

Changes in thinking, memory and behaviour also occur in dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, semantic dementia or frontal temporal dementia. Neuropsychological assessment is useful in the diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment, which may herald the early stages of dementia.

Many people experience changes in their thinking, memory or concentration during periods of stress or low mood. Neuropsychological assessment can help to disentangle the effects of psychological distress and provide reassurance about cognitive performance.

Why do I need a Clinical Neuropsychology appointment?

  • To gain a better picture of your cognitive functioning following brain injury.
  • To assist with the diagnosis of brain illness, including dementia.
  • To overcome or manage memory problems or thinking changes following brain injury.
  • To learn practical skills to improve your everyday functioning following brain injury.
  • To return to work or study after brain injury or illness
  • To have support for emotional changes, such as low mood or anxiety. 
  • To be reassured that my memory problems are only due to stress.
  • To document changes as part of a medicolegal case or to determine capacity.