Neuropsychiatry as practised in a highly specialised department of a psychiatric teaching hospital: a successful interdisciplinary approach
background Psychiatric disorders can be interpreted as a general dysregulation of the interplay between brain and behaviour. This is why, since the late 1990’s, the terms biological psychiatry and behavioural neurology have been gradually replaced by the term neuropsychiatry. Neuropsychiatry, when practiced in combination with clinical neuropsychology, have given rise to a paradigm that is not based solely on the usual classification models but is directed primarily towards diagnosis and treatment that are based on a functional-dimensional approach.
aim To discuss the daily practice and organisation in a specialised department for neuro-psychiatry located in a psychiatric teaching hospital.
method The interdisciplinary approach is explained and analysed on the basis of 10 case studies.
results Most of the patients referred to the specialised department already had a long history of visits to the health care facilities where they had been treated by a variety of specialists in single disciplines. Often, however, this trajectory did not involve periodical re-evaluation and updating of the original diagnosis. If this strategy had been adopted, then a clear diagnosis with simplified treatment programme might have been devised which could have resulted in a patient’s successful reintegration into society.
conclusion It is essential that the interdisciplinary approach is adopted in specialised centres for neuropsychiatry because it can make an important contribution to individual patient care and to the spread of specialised knowledge that can benefit the entire field of psychiatry.