Neuropsychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with mental disorders attributable to diseases of the nervous system. It preceded the current disciplines of psychiatry and neurology, which had common training; however, psychiatry and neurology have subsequently split apart and are typically practiced separately. Nevertheless, neuropsychiatry has become a growing subspecialty of psychiatry and it is also closely related to the fields of neuropsychology and behavioral neurology.
Neurologists have focused objectively on organic nervous system pathology, especially of the brain, whereas psychiatrists have laid claim to illnesses of the mind. This antipodal distinction between brain and mind as two different entities has characterized many of the differences between the two specialties. However, it has been argued that this division is fictional; evidence from the last century of research has shown that our mental life has its roots in the brain. Brain and mind have been argued not to be discrete entities but just different ways of looking at the same system.
It has been argued that embracing this mind/brain monism may be useful for several reasons. First, rejecting dualism implies that all mentation is biological, which provides a common research framework in which understanding and treatment of mental disorders can be advanced. Second, it mitigates widespread confusion about the legitimacy of mental illness by suggesting that all disorders should have a footprint in the brain.