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Neurological vs Psychological – What’s the Difference?

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Neurology and psychology are various branches of medicine. They bargain with different sorts of human well-being issues. Neurology centers on the conclusion and treatment of maladies influencing the nerves. And psychology deals with understanding and treating psychological problems and behavioral disorders. In general, the difference between neurological and psychological is:

  • Neurology deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and research of nervous diseases. It includes epilepsy, stroke, migraine, and dementia. And such doctors study the nervous system’s structure, functioning, and dysfunction. These include the brain, spinal cord, and nerve ganglia.
  • Psychology, on the other hand, deals with the study of human behavior and mental processes. It can be perception, attention, memory, thinking, emotions, and motivation. Psychologists study how people interact with others, develop, and adapt to the world. They also diagnose and treat mental conditions. Common ones include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and others.

So, the main difference between neurological vs psychological is that neurologists specialize in the physical aspects of brain and nervous system functioning, while psychiatrists study mental processes.


What Is a Psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a doctor with a higher medical education. They deal with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disturbances. These include depression, phobias, suicidal attempts, and obsessive thoughts. 

That is, a psychiatrist works with mental illnesses and can prescribe medications. The purpose of their work is to make the symptoms less obvious. It is what psychiatry neurology means. With the help of appropriate drugs, the doctor tries to correct the patient’s health.

Most often, people come to a psychiatrist with the following problems:

  • emotional disorders and neurotic states;
  • mood disorders (apathy, depressive disorders, etc.);
  • prolonged anxiety;
  • panic attacks, phobias;
  • long-term sleep disorders;
  • obsessive thoughts;
  • eating disorders;
  • auditory or visual hallucinations;
  • behavioral disorders;
  • violation of communication with the environment.

A psychiatrist can also check the effect of medication on the patient. There may be cases when the medicine does not work in neurology and mental illness. Then the doctor looks for another treatment solution. At the same time, they can use psychotherapeutic methods. For example, it is rational or cognitive-behavioral therapy. But the appointment of such treatment depends on the type of disease and its progression.


What Is a Neurologist?

Has the nervous system failed? In this situation, you need to consult a neurologist.

It is a specialist with a higher medical education. Their competence includes diagnosis of psychiatric and neurological disorders. And they also detect pathologies of the musculoskeletal system. During the appointment, doctors check the patient’s reflexes, muscle strength, and sensitivity. With the help of special tools and exercises, the neurologist determines the state of the peripheral and autonomic systems. Most often, people turn to this doctor with the next symptoms:

  • Occurrence of a sudden and sharp headache;
  • Frequent dizziness, fainting;
  • Ringing and tinnitus;
  • Violation of coordination of movements;
  • Sleep problems, insomnia;
  • Facial pain;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Numbness, tingling sensation in the limbs;
  • Pain in the back, lower back, and neck; 
  • Deterioration of memory.

The most frequent complaint with which people turn to a neurologist is a pain in the back or neck. These symptoms are associated with a failure of the nervous system. For this reason, neurologists take treatment in neurology and mental illnesses. Their main task is to detect damage to the nervous system and relieve it. So, it’s important to plan a timely visit to the doctor so that the treatment is easier.

difference between neurological and psychological

What’s the Difference Between Neurological and Psychological?

Have you ever wondered about the dissimilarities in neurological vs psychological? While both fields are concerned with the workings of the human mind, they approach this from diverse angles.

  • Neurology often refers to as the “hardware” of the brain. It focuses on the physical structures and processes of the nervous system. Neurologists use advanced imaging techniques to study the brain and nerves. Then, they diagnose and treat conditions that affect their systems.
  • On the other hand, psychology refers to the “software” of the brain. It focuses on the subjective experiences and mental processes of individuals. Psychologists use various research methods to study human behavior, emotions, and thought processes.

So, neurology and mental illness have their unique perspectives and approaches. They both play important roles in understanding the complexities of the human mind. For this reason, they are often confused and considered the same. But there is great differences between neurological and psychological, and common ones include:

1. Focus of Study

Things that neurology vs psychology study is entirely different. After all, they focus on various disorders:

  • Psychiatrists deal with the spiritual and mental processes of a person. They study the human brain to understand how their thinking works. That is, everything related to mental health is the task of a psychiatrist. They study people’s emotions, behavior and thinking. Thus, when problems arise with anxiety or fears, people turn to a psychiatrist.
  • Neurologists study the physical structures and functions of the nervous system. They focus their attention on the design of the spinal cord and brain. Their task is to know how nerves work and how to prevent problems with them. It is what psychiatry neurology is. Also, these doctors study electrical signals in the nervous system. Thus, when there are pains, spasms and tingling in the body, a neurologist takes care of it.

2. Treatment

Neurological vs psychological treatment has its specifics and approaches:

  • Neurologists can treat conditions such as migraines, epilepsy, back pain, and dementia. And among the most common methods of treatment are:
  • Medicine

Doctors often prescribe it to reduce manifestations and improve the nervous system.

  • Physiotherapy

This method restores movement coordination and balance.

  • Surgical intervention

When the disease pinches the spinal cord or nerves, doctors perform surgery.

  • Psychiatry has notable dissimilarities in treatment. And the most common options are:
  • Antidepressants

Doctors prescribe them to patients with mental issues to enhance their minds.

  • Psychotherapy

It helps to solve human emotional problems and mental disturbances.

  • Electroshock therapy

It is a treatment method for depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses.

3. Methods of investigation

Each medical field has its unique method of researching certain diseases. And psychiatric and neurological disorders have their approaches to these methods:

  • The primary research method in neurology is examining the patient’s nervous system. Neurologists do this using a variety of ways:
  1. reflectometry;
  2. electromyography;
  3. electroencephalography.

Such methods make it possible to assess the functional state of the nerves and establish a diagnosis.

  • What is the primary research method in psychiatry neurology? It is a conversation with the patient. It helps to test their behavior, emotions, and cognitive processes. To study mental conditions, doctors use: 
  1. various tests;
  2. questionnaires.

It allows you to assess depression, anxiety, suicide risk, and other issues.

4. Diagnostics

The next difference between neurological and psychological is diagnostics. In these two areas, approaches and strategies are various:

  • Neurological diagnosis often includes a physical examination:
  1. Medical examination and history. The specialist collects data around the patient’s complaints and therapeutic history.
  2. Neurological examination. The specialist assesses reflexes and muscle quality.
  3. Extra studies. The doctor can prescribe computer topography or MRT if the disease is hard to detect.
  • In psychiatry, diagnosis is usually based on observations of the patient’s manners:
  1. Clinical interview. A psychiatrist can learn about signs that state the illness.
  2. Standardized tests and questionnaires. These tools are for objectively assessing the patient’s mental status and signs.
  3. Psychiatric examination. It is a physical examination, including blood pressure, pulse rate, and skin condition. Also, doctors detect if there is a bond between psychiatric and neurological disorders.

A Word From Lone Star

Both neurological and psychological infections can significantly impact a person’s life. But the approach to diagnosis and treatment is entirely diverse. Because the difference between neurological and psychological is huge. The only thing in common is the nervous system, which causes physical and psychological problems. To prevent this from developing certain conditions, contact Lone Star Neurologists. We will help analyze your symptoms, diagnose the disease and cure it.


  • Is anxiety a neurological disorder or psychological?

It is both a neurological and psychological disorder. But the interplay between neurological and psychological factors can differ for each person. And there are different anxiety conditions, each with its unique causes and symptoms.

  • What are the top 5 neurological disorders?

There are the top 5 neurological illnesses:

  1. Epilepsy;
  2. Alzheimer’s;
  3. Multiple sclerosis;
  4. Stroke;
  5. Migraine.
  • Is ADHD considered a neurological disorder?

Yes. It is a neurological disorder because it involves abnormal activity in certain areas of the brain. This can result in symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.

  • What’s the general difference between mental illnesses and neurological diseases?

Mental illnesses are generally a reason for a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. They manifest in mood changes, behavior, and thought patterns. And neurological diseases are a reason for structural or functional abnormalities in the brain or nervous system. They cause tremors, muscle weakness, and bad coordination.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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  1. 07/01/2024

    Great article that clearly outlines the difference between the two different medical conditions

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