Why are Frontal Lobes Important in Psychiatry – Clinical and Examination Tips

Posted on:July 11, 2018
Last Updated: October 10, 2020
Time to read: 7 minutes

Take a look at the two pictures. The image on the left shows a normal frontal lobe while the image on the right shows frontal lobe atrophy. Both patients presented with depression, but the management was distinctly different.

The frontal lobe is one of the most important areas of the brain. Besides the presence of frontal eye fields and a number of other motor areas, the frontal lobe also maintains psychological homeostasis.It is responsible for maintaining optimal mood, behaviour and social judgement.

It controls the speed of thought and actions through its connections with the subcortical areas.

While a detailed description of its role is outside the scope of this article, I’ll try to list some important aspects that clinicians should keep in mind when dealing with psychiatric presentations.

After all, the majority of psychiatric disorders can be conceptualised as fronto-temporo-limbic in origin (except Alzheimer’s disease which affects the temporoparietal areas).