Brain disorders and psychopathology

Isobel Heyman*, David Skuse, Robert Goodman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Epidemiological and clinical studies over the past 50 years have found that brain illnesses are important risk factors for many child psychiatric disorders. Here we critically discuss the evidence, and its implications for management. Whilst acknowledging that neural substrates underlie all aspects of emotional and behavioural functioning, even where there are strong environmental influences, our aim here is to discuss conditions where the link between brain and behaviour is especially strong and direct, as in epilepsy. We focus on neurological conditions that have specific associations with neurodevelopmental risk, such as the high rate of autism spectrum conditions observed in children with tuberose sclerosis. A key message from our review is the importance of recognizing that, in children with brain disorders, the rates of many common child mental health disorders are greatly increased. By being aware of the risk, clinicians will become better at detecting and treating psychiatric problems in children with brain disorders, thus improving their everyday functioning and their quality of life. Effective interventions for common mental health problems associated with neural dysfunction are available, and should be implemented. Finally, we stress the importance of ensuring there is close collaboration between paediatricians, neurologists and child mental health professionals in delivering those interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRutter's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: Sixth Edition
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons Ltd
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781118381953, 9781118381960
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jul 2015


  • Brain
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Child
  • Epilepsy
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry


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