An Introduction

Welcome To A Jackals Voice. The intention of this blog is to be an outlet for myself and others on topics that are not generally discussed...

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A Debate on Psychology vs Neurology

Welcome back to A Jackals Voice.
Today I would like to talk about the difference between Psychology and Neurology in terms of Mental Health. Now I am no doctor, but I have been doing a lot of reading into this subject due to my current condition (muscular spasms, vocal tics etc). In the time since I became ill I have seen both Neurologists and Psychiatrists, and whilst I still don't have a confirmed diagnosis, my current symptoms are categorized as Neurological. In spite of this, my psychological conditions still aggravate my symptoms, so whats the connection? This is what I would like to explore today.


So first things first, what are the definitions of the two fields of medicine? A Psychological condition is defined as a mental condition in which the qualities of the state are relatively constant, even though the state may not be. (Click here for the official definition) To make this clearer, someone with anxiety may have a constant level of anxiousness, but at times it can get worse or get better. It's the whole 'Good Days/ Bad Days' thing.
What about a Neurological condition? This one is much more clear cut. It simply means it is a condition that is linked to a persons nervous system. (Click here for the quick definition). A well known condition would be Parkinson's disease.
Here we have two categories for an illness within the brain, but are categorized very differently. However, from what I've learnt, this might not be the best way to view conditions of the mind.

The human brain is very complicated, and I am certainly not an expert in any way, but I do suffer from conditions of the mind. Anxiety is something I've had for a long time, and over the course of my life it has only gotten worse. Then again, I did learn new ways to counter it so take what you will. When my current condition first manifested it was immediately following a panic attack. I'd had these before, not as severe but I had experienced similar scenarios.
Over the next few weeks my body started twitching and I began to stammer in my speech. Eventually it got bad enough that I was taken out of work because I simply couldn't do it. At this time, my condition is still degenerating. I'm struggling to walk most of the time, my entire body twists in random spasms and I'm exhausted. I have also started to shout things. These may be things I read, things I'm thinking about, or they can be totally random.
As all of this developed I was referred from my psychiatrist to a neurologist, who is currently looking into my condition. The issue here is, that after speaking with a qualified psychiatrist, a very specific condition was hinted towards. Of course, I'd been playing Google Doctor for a while at this point, so I had heard a little about similar conditions. (I'd also discovered that several other conditions were present. Don't use Google! See a Doctor!) The point is, these conditions are neurological, but are also aggravated my psychological conditions.
I already knew that my anxiety was part of the problem, given that my symptoms get significantly worse when people are around, but it got me thinking as to what the difference is between these two types of condition.

                                           

To be honest, the main difference I'm finding between the two, is simply the person that treats you. Of course there are conditions that are almost purely one or the other, but a lot of people are stuck somewhere in the middle. An interesting video that I'll link here shows brain scans of people with varying conditions. All of the conditions are to do with the mind, and they all show something on the scans. So how different are they?
The reason I'm bringing this up is due to stigma. I've been telling people I have a mental illness since I got ill (Which is true), but I have not distinguished between the two types of illness. I don't intend to start now either. I don't do this because, to me, Mental Illness is a condition of the mind, regardless of catagory. Either way, it's in your brain. Therefore, it shouldn't matter what it is, but for some reason it does. Go and tell someone you have a Neurological condition and suddenly you're taken quite seriously. Tell them you're mentally ill and, well the responses vary but unless they are friends, it tends to be shrugged off.
The reality is that these two categories overlap. One can affect the other, and in most cases it does. I say this as a person that recognizes his own condition as being both. I've read a few articles recently which have also identified this issue. Some people are calling for the two types to be abolished completely, although I think this is going too far. They are different, but it shouldn't affect they way someone is regarded by their peers.

To put this into context, in my first year of University I did not go out clubbing with my friends or do anything that social outside of campus. I didn't go because I was scared of having an attack. However, people kept asking and I eventually went and I did enjoy myself. I started going out more frequently, and even with the occasional anxiety spike, I tried to do it. My anxiety didn't go away, I just learnt how to work with it.
Fast forward to now and things are a bit different. People can see I'm unwell. They know that leaving my home is difficult. Less so because I'm scared, but because it's painful and exhausting. People look at me and smile sadly when I walk around town. I understand why this is, but in my head, going out has always been a bit of a struggle, but I learnt to hide it.
The point I'm trying to make is that just because people can't see it, shouldn't mean it doesn't matter. Furthermore, the type of condition should not change how you're treated by other people.

                                   

Anyway I shall leave this topic here for now. If you would like to look at a couple of the articles I read click here and here. I'd recommend typing Neurology versus Psychology into Google if you'd like to read more. There is quite a debate going on right now and it is very interesting.

Over to you now. What are your thoughts on this? Perhaps you have some experience with conditions that cross these lines?
Leave a comment below and be sure to share this with your friends.

Until next time this has been,
A Jackals Voice.