Top Docs '10 Profiles: Vernon M. Neppe

Posted January 01, 1970

Vernon M. Neppe, M.D., Ph.D.

Specialties: Neuropsychiatry, behavioral neurology, psychopharmacology and neuropharmacology
Practice: Pacific Neuropsychiatric Institute
Hospital affiliations: Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center
Medical degree: University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Explain the difference between psychopharmacology, neuropharmacology, neuropsychiatry and behavioral neurology.
They are related yet different. Psychopharmacology involves the management of brain-influencing medications. Neuropharmacology is the actual workings of those drugs in the brain and nervous system. Neuropsychiatry involves the neurological aspects of psychiatry, and behavioral neurology includes the psychiatric and behavioral aspects of neurology. These have now been incorporated into one subspecialty by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties. This subspecialty incorporates cases of possible seizures and psychiatry (“psychiatric epileptology”), difficult-to-treat psychiatric problems with possible brain malfunctions, conditions with both neurological and psychiatric elements such as headache and…depression, narcolepsy-like conditions, movement disorders and atypical states of consciousness.

What’s the biggest challenge in treating someone with a psychiatric disorder?

The voyage of hope. I like to give them realistic expectations that they can likely achieve. It must be realistic so the patient can trust and understand how they will improve and get better.

Originally published in July 2010

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