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Difference Between Mental Illness and Neurological Disorders

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

The human body is able to adapt to almost any changes in its environment. We can survive during extreme cold. Our bodies can adapt to the unbearable heat. Also, our bodies can live for some time without energy. But even despite such strong advantages, our organisms still have many disadvantages.

One of these disadvantages is a severe failure that can occur in the body. For example, we may be subject to mental or neurological illnesses. Such ailments can greatly affect a person’s daily routine. Also, a person’s life changes completely and can be more complex.

But some of the diseases can be cured. To do this, you need to seek help from a specialist. Unfortunately, neurological and psychiatric diseases are often confused. This is due to the similarity of symptoms and the close connection of diseases.

In our article, we will show you the common features of neurological and mental diseases. We will also present the difference between mental illness and neurological disorders. And we will provide you with some practical tips for your health.

 

What are Neurological Disorders

brain with neurological disorders

Neurological disorders are diseases associated with the functioning of the nervous system. The nervous system is a complex network of nerve cells and tissues that controls the entire body. It handles how we think, feel, move and react to the world around us.

Neurological disorders can occur due to problems with the nerves. It also can occur because of problems with the tissues that surround the nerves. A variety of factors can cause them, including:

 

  • Birth defects.
  • Injury.
  • Infection.
  • Nutritional deficiencies.
  • Disease.

 

Some examples of neurological disorders:

 

  • Myelopathy. It is a disease that occurs due to damage or lack of vitamin B12. This can lead to nerve and muscle problems.
  • Epilepsy. This is a serious neurological disorder. It’s characterized by: unpredictable attacks of epileptic activity in the brain. This can lead to cramps, aches and other symptoms.
  • Myelitis is a disease that occurs due to damage or destruction of nerve cells. This can lead to problems with movement, speech, and feelings.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurological disorder. It leads to the gradual deterioration of memory and other brain functions.

 

Neurological disorders can be difficult to diagnose and treat. But there are a variety of ways to help, including:

 

  • Medication.
  • Rehabilitation.
  • Psychological help.

 

It is important to receive regular medical supervision. Also, take recommended medications if you have a neurological disorder. It is also essential to eat right, exercise regularly, and take care of your physical and emotional health. If necessary, you should contact a specialist for help.

 

What are Mental (Psychiatric) Disorders

brain with mantal disorder

To differentiate mental disorders and neurological diseases, let’s consider mental problems. Mental disorders are illnesses that change how a person:

 

  • Feels.
  • Thinks.
  • Behaves.
  • Relates to the world around them.

 

They can occur due to a variety of reasons. They include genetic factors, stress, injury, illness, and certain medications.

Mental disorders include various illnesses, such as:

 

 

They can manifest in different ways. But common symptoms are changes in mood, feelings, thinking and behavior.

If someone has a mental disorder, they may:

 

  • Feel very ill.
  • Have problems with thinking and memory.
  • Have difficulty communicating and interacting with other people.
  • Have problems with sleep, appetite, and weight.
  • Experience physical symptoms such as headache or other pain.
  • Change their behavior.

 

Psychiatric disorders can be severe and need medical attention. But with the right treatment, people with mental disorders and neurological diseases can lead fulfilling lives. The therapy includes medication, psychotherapy, and other therapies. It is important to seek help if you or someone close to you has symptoms of a mental disorder.

 

The Common Thread

Psychiatric and neurological disorders are two distinct categories of medical conditions. But they share a common thread that binds them together.

Researchers have begun to unlock the mysteries of how they interact. Now they are providing new insight into how we can better diagnose and treat both mental illness and neurological disorders. Let’s take a look at this important connection.

There is a deep connection between them that only now people understand in greater detail. But these two groups of conditions may appear to be unrelated.

This connection is possible due to technological advancements such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. It allows us to “see” into the brain more clearly than ever before. Researchers have discovered that disturbances cause many mental illnesses. It happens in the neurological pathways within the nervous system.

Individuals with epilepsy have an increased risk of developing depression or anxiety disorders. It’s due to disruptions in their neuronal circuitry caused by seizures. And individuals with TBI or MS may also experience changes in their mood or behavior. It’s a result of changes in their neural networks.  

 

The Impact on Diagnosis & Treatment 

These findings have significant implications for the diagnosis and treatment of:

 

  • Mental illness.
  • Neurological disorders.

 

Treating underlying neurological issues can help improve symptoms of mental illnesses like:

 

  • Depression.
  • Anxiety disorder.

 

Doctors need to take into account any potential neurological issues. It’s important when diagnosing mental illnesses. This way, they can provide more tailored treatments accordingly. Finally, understanding this common thread helps physicians provide better care for patients.

 

Difference Between Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders

Psychiatric and neurological disorders are two types of mental health conditions. They can significantly impact a person’s thoughts, behaviors, and functioning. There is some overlap between these two types of disorders. But there are also important differences to understand.

 

Causes

One key difference between mental disorders and neurological diseases is their underlying causes.

Psychiatric disorders appear because of a combination of:

  • Genetic.
  • Environmental.
  • Social factors.

Neurological disorders are typically caused by structural or functional abnormalities. It all happens in the brain or nervous system.

For example, depression may appear by a combination of:

  • Genetics.
  • Stress.
  • Negative life experiences.

But sclerosis can occur because of damage to the myelin sheath.

Diagnose and treatment

Another difference between mental health and neurology is the way they illnesses are:

  • Diagnosed.
  • Treated.

Psychiatrists are typically responsible for diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders. 

They may use a variety of methods. It includes interviews, questionnaires, and physical exams. 

This way, they gather information about a person’s symptoms and make a diagnosis. 

Neurologists may use similar methods to diagnose neurological conditions. 

But they may also use imaging techniques. They are CT scans or MRIs. They help get a more detailed look at the brain and nervous system.

Prevalence and impact

There are some differences in the prevalence and impact of psychiatric and neurological disorders. 

Psychiatric disorders are more common than neurological disorders. The statistics show that approximately one in five adults in the United States experience a psychiatric disorder in any given year. 

Neurological disorders are less common. An estimated 5% of adults in the United States experience a neurological disorder. 

But neurological disorders can often have more severe and long-lasting effects. It’s because they can affect a person’s physical functioning and ability to do daily tasks.

 

There are some similarities between mental disorders and neurological diseases. But there are also vital differences to understand. Psychiatric disorders are mental health conditions characterized by abnormal thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. And they are typically treated with a combination of medications and therapy. 

Neurological disorders, on the other hand, are conditions that affect the functioning of the nervous system and are often treated with medications, surgeries, and other medical procedures. Understanding these differences can help to ensure that individuals receive the appropriate diagnosis and treatment for their specific condition.

 

When Should I Consult a Doctor?

You don’t have to wait for the strongest changes in your body to go to the doctor for a consultation. In fact, it only takes a few changes in your body and mindset to make a visit to a doctor relevant. If you notice any symptoms of neurological or mental illness, consult a doctor.

Getting help in time can improve your condition and influence your good outcome. Besides, if you treat your disease on time, you can save more money on medicines.

 

Bottom Line 

Psychiatric and neurological disorders are both complex conditions. They can affect a person’s quality of life. Mental illnesses result from chemical imbalances in the brain. But neurological disorders appear due to physical damage to the nervous system.

Treatment for both types of disorders varies depending on the individual case. But psychological therapies and medications may be used. They help manage symptoms of mental illness. And surgery or rehabilitation therapy is great for certain cases of neurological disorders.

It is important to seek professional medical advice. It helps determine an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. You can find the best course of action for your specific needs. But for this, understanding the difference between mental disorders and neurological diseases is critical.  

 

FAQs 

  • Is depression a neurological or psychiatric disorder?

Depression is a mental illness and only a psychiatrist can diagnose it. Neurologists may be able to diagnose depression in some cases. But they are not the primary healthcare providers for mental health issues.

  • Do neurologists treat depression?

No, neurologists specialize in treating disorders of the nervous system. They do not generally treat mental illnesses such as depression. Depression is usually treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

  • Can a neurologist detect mental illness?

No, a neurologist cannot detect mental illnesses. A neurologist specializes in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders such as:

  • Epilepsy.
  • Sclerosis.
  • Stroke.
  • Parkinson’s disease.

 

  • Can neurological disorders cause mental illness?

Yes, people with sclerosis often experience depression. Certain types of dementia can cause confusion, mood swings. And other neurological disorders can cause symptoms of mental illnesses.

  • Why is it important to treat neurological disorders?

It’s vital because they can have a significant impact on a person’s functioning and life. Neurological disorders can cause a range of symptoms. They include muscle weakness, tremors, difficulty speaking or swallowing. And also changes in sensation or perception. They can significantly impair a person’s ability to perform daily activities.

  • Why is it important to cure mental disorders?

Effective treatment for neurological disorders can help to reduce or cut symptoms. It also improves functioning and quality of life. This may include medications to control symptoms, physical therapy and surgical procedures.

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Lone Star Neurology
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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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