Neurology vs. psychiatry
Chapter 10 endnote 28, from Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:
To many scientists and physicians, depression remains a disease of the mind.
What’s the difference between a neurologist and a psychiatrist? You visit a neurologist when you know what’s wrong with you, and a psychiatrist when you don’t.
The longer answer is: neurologists diagnose and treat physical diseases of the brain (and other parts of the nervous system), while psychiatrists diagnose and treat illness of the mind, characterized as problems in thinking, feeling, or behavior. This historical division is yet another case of Cartesian dualism, as if thinking, feeling, and behaving had nothing to do with the nervous system. Even now, patients and physicians try to categorize symptoms as either physical or mental, causing considerable confusion. Depending how you describe your symptoms, what predictions your physician makes, and a host of other factors, you could end up seeing either a neurologist or a psychiatrist. This decision can determine what type of treatment you receive, and even if you receive treatment at all.
Which diseases are "neurological" and which are "psychiatric"? For a telling take on this question, see the Neuroskeptic blog (April 7, 2011) which tallied the number of papers published, by topic, in the journals Neurology and the American Journal of Psychiatry from 1990 to 2011.