Glossary of Terms &
(Adult Attention Deficit Disorder) Up to
50% of those diagnosed with ADHD as young children continue to demonstrate notable ADD (attention deficit
disorder) symptoms into adolescence and young adulthood. The conditions present in adulthood follow the same
diagnostic criteria as ADHD in children. ‘Adult ADD or AADD’ are alternate terms commonly used to describe ADHD
when it occurs in adults. The ramifications and consequences of ADD symptoms in adulthood pose significant
social issues, occupationally, socially, physically etc. and can result in antisocial, criminal activities,
aggression & violence, relationship difficulties etc. There is also a strong link and professional
conjecture regarding the differentiation between antisocial personality disorder and AADD.
(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) ADHD is a condition or behavioural inhibition disorder characterized by
behavioural and learning anomalies. The sufferer may exhibit short attention span or inattentiveness,
impulsiveness and hyperactivity or combinations of these. For these problems to be diagnosed as ADHD, they must
be out of the ‘normal’ range for the child’s age and development. Generally the child with ADHD has difficulty
in exhibiting control over outward behaviours, typically displaying actions that appear louder, faster, and more
powerful than the behaviours of their peers.
‘exceptional; deviating from type’. In
psychology it refers to that which is ‘not normal’, though the concept of ‘normal’ is questionable and open for
some debate. From a broader perspective, ‘abnormal’ might be considered as that which is out of character,
differing from, not consistent with, that which is accepted as believed to be exhibited, observed, known,
expected by the majority of individuals. This may also apply to the physiological/biological & social
arenas. It does not infer or imply anything pathological, detrimental, negative, or disease related, though it
can be a sign that there is a potentiality for disease or disorder.
1. Harm or maltreatment inflicted on a
person through physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual means. 2. Subjected to ‘cruel’ treatment. 3. refers to the
use or treatment of something (a person, item, substance, concept, or vocabulary) that is harmful. 4. to
mistreat: treat badly 5. Improper treatment or usage; application to a wrong or bad purpose; misuse; perversion;
physical maltreatment; injury; sexual assault; violation; rape; an unjust, corrupt or wrongful practice or
custom; offense; crime; fault; coarse, insulting speech; abusive language; to put to wrong
Acetylcholine:- The chemical compound acetylcholine (Ach) is a neurotransmitter in both the ‘peripheral
nervous system’ and the ‘central nervous system’ in many organisms including human beings. In the central
nervous system, Ach has a variety of effects as a ‘neuromodulator, eg., for plasticity and excitability. Other
effects are arousal and reward. Damage to the cholinergic system in the brain has been suggested to play a role
in the memory deficits associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Ach is involved with synaptic plasticity,
specifically in learning and short-term memory.
Acting out:- Reaction in which a person lowers anxiety, hostility or other unpleasant emotions by allowing the
expression in overt behaviour; The process of expressing unconscious emotional conflicts or feelings via
actions rather than words. The person is not consciously aware of the meaning or etiology of such acts.
Acting out may be harmful or, in controlled situations, therapeutic.
Acute:- A term used to describe a disorder of sudden onset with relatively short duration, usually with
Acquired Brain Injury
(ABI):- Acquired brain injury is
not a mental illness. Mental illness is an observable abnormality in the functioning of the brain. Brain injury,
although it does alter the functioning of the brain, is an observable abnormality in the ‘structure’ of the
brain – a physical condition that causes a change in function. ABI is injury to the brain which results in
deterioration of cognitive, physical, emotional or independent functioning. It can occur as a result of trauma,
hypoxia, infection, tumour, substance abuse, degenerative neurological disease or stroke. These impairments to
cognitive abilities or physical functioning may be either temporary or permanent and cause partial or total
disability or psychosocial adjustment. Repeated bouts of concussion or concussion not recognized or noted may
result in physical damage and changes to the brain’s structure. Similarly, excessive, prolonged consumption of
alcohol and the use and abuse of illicit drugs can cause permanent physiological damage to the brain. As a
result, one can ‘acquire’ a permanent brain injury that may affect their capacity to function in society –
occupationally, socially, emotionally etc.
Narcissism (ACN):- Acquired
Situational Narcissism (ACN) is a form of narcissism that develops in late adolescence or adulthood, brought on
by wealth, fame and the other trappings of celebrity. ASN differs from conventional narcissism in that it
develops after childhood and is triggered and supported by the celebrity-obsessed society; fans, assistants and
tabloid/visual media all play into the idea that the person really is vastly more important than other people,
triggering a narcissistic problem that might have only been a tendency, or latent, and helping it to become a
‘full-blown’ personality disorder.
A chronic relapsing condition characterized
by compulsive drug-seeking and abuse and by long lasting chemical changes in the brain. Addiction is the same
irrespective of whether the drug is alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana or nicotine. Every
addictive substance induces pleasant states or relieves distress. Continued use of the addictive substance
induces adaptive changes in the brain that lead to tolerance, physical dependence, uncontrollable craving and,
all too often, relapse. Dependence is at such a point that stopping is very difficult and causes severe physical
and mental reactions from withdrawal. The risk of addiction is in part inherited. Genetic factors, for example,
account for about 40 % of the risk of alcoholism. The genetic factors predisposing to addiction are not yet
Disorder:- Development of emotional
or behavioural symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor occurring within 3 months of the onset of the
stressor; state of mixed emotions such as depression & anxiety which occurs as a reaction to major life
events or when having to face major life changes such as illness or relationship
Glands:- Glands that release
hormones and are located in the kidney region.
Reaction:- In pharmacology, any
unexpected or dangerous reaction to a drug. An unwanted effect caused by the administration of a drug. The onset
of the adverse reaction may be sudden or develop over time. Also called an adverse drug event (ADE), meaning any
unexpected or dangerous reaction to a drug or adverse drug reaction (ADR), meaning a harmful or abnormal result.
An adverse effect may be caused by the administration of a medication or by exposure to a chemical and be
indicated by an untoward result such as illness or death.
Affect refers to the experience of feeling
or emotion. It is a key part of the process of an organism’s interaction with stimuli. The word also refers
sometimes to affect display, which is a “facial, vocal, or gestural behaviour that serves as an indicator of
affect”. The affective domain represents one of the three division described in modern psychology; the
‘cognitive’, the ‘conative’, and the ‘affective’. Classically, these divisions have also been referred to as the
“ABC of psychology”; being affect, behaviour & cognition. Affect has been found across cultures to comprise
both positive and negative dimensions. The most commonly used measure of these in research is the Positive &
Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). Mood, like emotion, is an affective state. However, an emotion tends to have a
clear focus, while mood tends to be more unfocused and diffused. From a clinician’s perspective and in its basic
‘working’ form, affect is that which the clinician ‘sees’, as opposed to mood, which is that expressed by or
subjectively interpreted by the clinician through observation.
Disorders:- Psychiatric disorders
marked by a disturbance of mood or emotions. Examples would include Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia,
Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder.
Alcohol:-An organic chemical in which one or more hydroxyl (OH) groups are attached to carbon atoms in
place of hydrogen (H) atoms. Common alcohols include ethyl alcohol or ethanol (found in alcoholic beverages),
methyl alcohol or methanol (can cause blindness) and propyl alcohol or propanol (used as a solvent and
antiseptic). Rubbing alcohol is a mixture of acetone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and ethyl alcohol. In everyday
talk, alcohol usually refers to ethanol as, for example, in wine, beer and liquor. It can cause changes in
behaviour and can be addictive.
hallucinations reported to occur after heavy drinking by alcohol-dependant clients.
Dependence on alcohol to the extent that it
seriously interferes with daily functioning.
Health…consists of Psychologists,
Social Workers, and Occupational Therapists. Less directly involved, though part of the Allied Health area are:
Speech Therapists, Physiotherapists, Dieticians etc.
(1) The co-existence of opposing attitudes
or feelings (such as love & hate) towards a person, object or idea; A state of uncertainty or
indecisiveness, mixed feelings or emotions. (2) The holding, at the
same time, of 2 opposing emotions, attitudes, ideas or wishes toward the same person, situation, or object. The
coexistence of contradictory emotions, attitudes, ideas or desires with respect to a particular person, object,
or situation. Ordinarily, the ambivalence is not fully conscious and suggests psychopathology only when present
in an extreme form.
Loss of memory. Types include: Anterograde: loss of memory of events that occur after the onset of the
etiological condition or agent. Retrograde: loss of memory of events
that occurred before the onset of the etiological condition or agent.
Lack of energy,
Anhedonia is a symptom of dysthymia
characterized by a decreased or absent ability to enjoy a sense of pleasure. This may also be a symptom of
schizophrenia and/or clinical depression. In addition, this disorder can be caused by excessive use of
A medical term that signifies a loss of
appetite. A person with anorexia nervosa, however, may not have any loss of appetite and often is preoccupied
with food and eating in order to control his or her eating.
Depressants:- A term used to
describe a group of drugs that treat depression. All antidepressant medication chemically targets the
neurotransmitters within the brain, and more specifically the synapse between neurons. The primary function is
to increase the quantity of neurotrasmitters within the synaptic cleft (the gap between the neurons), thus
making more available for the transmission of signals from one neuron to the next. In depression, there is a
significant decrease in quantity &/or activity of neurotransmitters. Examples of antidepressant medications
(by type) include Selective Seretonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Tricyclic Antidepressants and Monoamine
Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs).
Psychotics:- (also known as
neuroleptics) A group of psychoactive drugs commonly, but not exclusively used to treat psychosis, such as that
which is present in schizophrenia. Since the 1950’s there has been a wide range of antipsychotics developed; the
first generation of these, referred to as ‘typical antipsychotics’. More recently there has been a second
generation of antipsychotic medication referred to as ‘atypical antipsychotics’. Both classes of drugs tend to
block receptors in the brain’s dopamine pathways, however they encompass a wide range of receptor targets which
has the result of producing other effects or side effects not necessarily desired; for example, weight gain,
hypotension, tachycardia, impotence, lethargy, intense dreams or nightmares, acute dystonias, akathesia,
pseudo-parkinsonism, agranulocytosis, tardive dyskinesia, tardive psychoses and tardive dysphrenia.
‘Typical Antipsychotics’ are classified according to their
chemical structure while ‘atypical antipsychotics’ are classified according to their pharmacological
properties. Commonly used antipsychotics are as follows:
First Generation Antipsychotics
- Butyrophenones -
Haloperidol (Haldol, Serenace); Droperidol (Droleptan)
- Phenothiazines– Chorpromazine (Largactil, Thorazine);
Fluphenazine; Perphenazine; Prochlorperazine; Thioridazine (Melleril); Trifluoperazine (Stelazine);
Periciazine; Promazine; Triflupromazine; Promethazine (Phenergan); Pimozide (Orap)
- Thioxanthenes– Chorprothixene; Flupenthixol (Fluanxol);
Thiothixene (Havane); Zuclopenthixol (Clopixol, Acuphase)
Second Generation Antipsychotics
- Clozapine (Clozaril)
- Risperidone (Risperdal)
- Quetiapine (Seroquel)
- Ziprasidone (Geodon)
- Amisulpride (Solian)
Aripiprazole (Abilify) is considered a “3rd Generation
Antipsychotic” whose mechanism of action is thought to reduce susceptibility to metabolic symptoms seen in other
Behaviour:- A pervasive pattern of
behaviour that displays disregard for the violation of rights of others, societal mores, or law (such as
irritability, consistent irresponsibility, lack of remorse, failure to conform to social norms, etc.) It is that
which is verbally or physically harmful to other people, animals, or property, including behaviour that severely
violates social values and standards.
A feeling of apprehension and fear
characterized by physical symptoms such as palpitations, sweating and feelings of stress. Anxiety disorders are
serious medical illnesses that affect millions of people worldwide. These disorders fill people’s lives with
overwhelming anxiety and fear. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as a
business presentation or a first date, anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless and can grow progressively
worse if not treated.
Anxiolytics:- Anxiolytics are medications that treat & reduce
the severity of anxiety. They provide temporary relief of the symptoms and do not permanently ‘take away’ the
anxiety or ‘solve’ the root cause. Though not anxiolytics, bet-receptor blockers such as propanalol and
oxrenolol can be used to combat the somatic symptoms of anxiety. Anxiolytics are also known as “minor
tranquilisers”, though this usage is less common in modern texts. Benzodiazepines are prescribed for short-term
relief of severe and disabling anxiety. Benzodiazepines may also be indicated to cover the latent periods
associated with the medications prescribed to treat an underlying anxiety disorder. They are used to treat a
wide variety of conditions and symptoms and are usually a first choice when short-term CNS sedation is needed.
Longer-term uses include treatment for severe anxiety. There is a risk of a benzodiazepine withdrawal and
rebound syndrome after continuous usage for longer than two (2) weeks. There is also the added problem of the
accumulation of drug metabolites and adverse effects. Benzodiazepines include: Alprazolam (Xanax);
Chordiazepoxide (Librium); Clonazepam (Rivotril); Clorazepate (Tranxene); Diazepam (Valium); Lorazepam (Ativan).
Benzodiazepines exert anxiolytic properties at moderate dosage. At higher dosage hypnotic properties
A state of indifference; lack of feeling,
emotion, interest, or concern.
Assertiveness:- Asking for what one wants or acting to get what one wants in a way that respects the rights
and feelings of other people.
The ability to focus selectively on a
selected stimulus, sustaining that focus and shifting it at will. The ability to
Atypical:-Not conforming to the normal type; unusual or irregular; not usual in a normal condition;
opposite of typical. Sometimes referred to as ‘abnormal’, though this is somewhat technically incorrect in a
Depression:- A type of depression
in which the person reacts to the environment, is sensitive to rejection, and may gain weight and sleep more
than usual; this condition is the opposite of typical depression, which is characterized by weight loss and
System:- That portion of the
nervous system that controls internal organs and glands. Not under voluntary
Self-reliance; the sense of being and
individual in one’s own right.
Lack of motivation; An inability to
initiate and persist in goal-directed activities. When severe enough to be considered pathological, avolition is
pervasive and prevents the person from completing many different types of activities (eg. work, intellectual
pursuits, and self-care). A “negative” symptom of schizophrenia.
Part of a nerve cell that conveys
A class of drugs that slow down your
central nervous system (brain & nerve impulses) causing relaxation. They reduce activity in the brain; are
habit forming and are possibly fatal when taken with alcohol. Barbiturates have been used as sedatives &
anaesthetics, and they have been used to treat the convulsions associated with epilepsy. They are the largest
and most common group of synthetic sedative/hypnotics. In small doses, they are effective tranquilisers used in
sedation and in relieving tension & anxiety. In larger doses, they are used as hypnotics (sleep inducers).
They include ‘Seconal’, Nembutal’, ‘Luminal’, ‘Amytal’, ‘Brevital’, Pentothal’, ‘Butalbital’. Some of the street
terms for these Barbiturates are, ‘downs’, ‘downers’, ‘barbs’, ‘goofballs’, ‘candy’,
“The observable reaction, response or
demonstrative outworking of that which originates in the psyche (mind), both conscious & unconscious; being
a confluence of genetic and developmental factors & sources”.
Modification:- The use of
techniques to enhance awareness or consciousness about a behaviour and then to alter the behaviour; by the
manipulation of cues and environmental factors that trigger them. The process works to directly alter an
individual’s behaviour patterns in order to minimize defeating trends and heighten productivity and
self-satisfaction. It changes a person’s response either by removing or reducing undesirable responses or by
producing desirable ones; responses to be studied are carefully defined, observed on a regular schedule,
recorded according to a planned system, and analysed in terms of their environment.
Benzodiazepines:- The benzodiazepines are a class of drugs with
hypnotic (sleep inducing), anxiolytic (reducing anxiety), anticonvulsant (reducing seizure activity and
muscle relaxant properties.)They can be short or long acting and are potentially addictive. They may increase
depression at the same time they are reducing anxiety. Due to the physiological dependence that can arise
from their prolonged usage, serious side effects can ensue from sudden withdrawal. The group includes such
medications as ‘diazepam’ (valium), clonazepam (rivitrol), nitrazepem (mogadon), lorazepem (xanax), temazepam
(temaze), Bromazepam etc…
An agent that inhibits the action of
beta-adrenergic receptors, which modulate cardiac functions, respiratory functions, and the dilation of blood
vessels. Beta-blockers are of value in the treatment of hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, and migraine. In
psychiatry, they have been used in the treatment of aggression and violence, anxiety-related tremors and
lithium-induced tremors, neuroleptic-induced akathisia, social phobias, panic states, and alcohol
Drinking:- Binge Drinking is the
modern definition of drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy
consumption of alcohol over a short period of time. It is a kind of purposeful drinking style hat is popular in
several countries worldwide, and overlaps somewhat with social drinking since it is often done in groups. It is,
however, also done alone as a method of self medication. The exact degree of intoxication and varies between and
within various cultures and sub-cultures that engage in this practice. There is currently no consensus on how
many drinks constitute a “binge”, but the term is often taken as to mean consuming 5 or more standard drinks
(male), or 4 or more (female), in about two (2) hours for a typical adult. A culture of binge drinking is
prevalent among many communities. In a minority of social circles, binge drinking may begin at as young as
12-16, and may be very widely practiced and accepted by age 12 – 16, despite the fact the legal age is 18. Binge
drinking is an ever increasing problem that appears to correlate with industrialized western society and the
increase in concomitant psychological and social impairment. Self esteem, self harming, socio-economic
pressures, marital and relationship difficulties, depression, anxiety et al all contribute to a ‘self
medicating’ mentality that is more easily and seemingly more socially acceptably dealt with by the consumption
and over-consumption of alcohol. Binge drinking has also been identified as an area of concern for high profile
individuals; sportspeople, music identities, media/film icons, celebrities etc. whose image and role modeling
has subjectively encouraged the replication of behaviour in those within the general populace. It is indeed a
sad indictment that Australia, per capita, has one of the highest rates of binge
drinking in the world.
Biochemical refers to the field of
‘biochemistry’ – the study of the chemical processes in living organisms. It deals with the structure and
function of cellular components such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and other biomolecules.
Human/medical/medicinal biochemistry focuses on the biochemistry of humans and medical illnesses.
Bio-Psycho-Social:- The biopsychosocial model is a general model or
approach that states biological, psychological (which entails thoughts, emotions, and behaviours), and social
factors, all play a significant role in human functioning in the context of disease or illness; and further,
that health is best understood in terms of a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors
rather than purely in biological terms. The biological component
of the model seeks to understand how the cause of the illness stems from the functioning of the individual’s
physiology (their body). The psychological component of the model
looks for potential psychological causes for a health problem such as lack of self-control, emotional
turmoil, and negative thinking. The Social aspect investigates
how different social factors such as socioeconomic status, culture, poverty, technology, and religion can
influence health. The basic premise under which the model postulates its relevance and accuracy is the
interdependence between all three (3) domains and the assertion that each can affect the other resulting in
illness or altered functioning.
Disorder:- Also referred to as
‘Bipolar Affective Disorder’ or ‘Manic Depression’ is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood
disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated mood, clinically referred to as
mania and a history of an episode of major depression. It is a serious illness that causes shifts in a person’s
mood, energy and ability to function. Dramatic mood swings can move from “high” feelings of extreme euphoria or
irritability to depression, sometimes with periods of ‘normal’ moods in between. The mania stage can involve the
presence of psychotic symptoms and the depression phase can result in life threatening suicidal ideation.
Bipolar Disorder is considered a ‘life-long’ illness with various methods of treatment, primarily medication,
required to maintain stability in an individual sufferer’s life.
disorder:- A type of bipolar
disorder characterized by one or manic or mixed episodes, often with a history of one or more major depressive
Bipolar I disorder ,
mixed:- A type of bipolar disorder
characterized by the simultaneous occurrence of mania & depression.
disorder:- A type of bipolar
disorder characterized by one or more major depressive episodes accompanied by at least one hypomanic episode
but without any manic or mixed episodes.
That part of the Central Nervous System
that is located within the cranium (skull). The brain functions as the primary receiver, organizer and
distributor of information for the body. It has two (2) sides (halves) called
Management:- This can be seen in ‘inpatient’ settings or
outpatient’/’community’ settings. With reference to the latter, case management is largely confined to the
public sector of health, though other facilities or organizations have a similar service. It is generally
contingent upon the level of funding and the organisation’s financial ability to provide such a service in the
community. Case management involves the provision of consistent ‘case managers’ who oversee and monitor your
mental health care (and overall health) and provide a ‘point of contact’. Duties involved in case management
include assuming responsibility for a client ranging from assessments of need, formulating comprehensive plan of
care, arranging for delivery of services to address individual client needs, and assessing and monitoring the
Managers:- These people are not restricted to any one profession or discipline. They are generally found
in larger health organizations, particularly government health services, and largely community based. They
oversee the client’s health care, providing personal contact and liaising with others of the multidisciplinary
team. They communicate information to & from the client and team. They are the person you would normally
contact should the need arise. They should be adept at explaining treatment, providing all the necessary
information for your care and offering support & personal contact.
(1) A discharge of emotional tension
associated with repressed emotional material, usually of a traumatic nature. (2) The healthful (therapeutic)
release of ideas through “talking out” conscious material accompanied by an appropriate emotional reaction.
Also, the release into awareness of repressed (‘forgotten’) material from the
Central Nervous System
(CNS) :- The Central Nervous System
(CNS) is the part of the nervous system that functions to coordinate the activity of all parts of the bodies of
multicellular organisms. In vertebrates, the CNS is enclosed in the meninges. It contains the majority of the
nervous system and consists of the brain & spinal cord. Together with the peripheral nervous system it has a
fundamental role in the control of behaviour. The CNS is contained with the dorsal cavity, with the brain in the
cranial cavity and the spinal cord in the spinal cavity. The brain is protected by the skull, while the spinal
cord is protected by the vertebrae.
The part of the brain responsible for motor
coordination and equilibrium.
Cortex:- The surface layers of the
This is the largest part of the brain,
composed of the left and right hemisphere. It has frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital
“A rod-like or thread-like structure in the
nucleus of cells, carrying genetic material”. Each chromosome is made up of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) tightly
coiled many times around proteins called histones that support its structure. Chromosomes are not visible in the
cell’s nucleus-not even under a microscope-when the cell is not dividing. However, the DNA that makes up the
chromosomes becomes more tightly packed during cell division and is then microscopically visible. Each
chromosome has a constriction point called the centromere, which divides the chromosome into two sections, or
“arms”. The short arm is labeled the “p arm”. The long arm of the chromosome is labeled the “q arm”. The
location of the centromere on each chromosome gives the chromosome its characteristic shape, and can be used to
help describe the location of specific genes. It is well known that DNA is the ‘blueprint of life’. The number
of chromosomes varies in different species. In humans there are 46 chromosomes, or 23 pairs of chromosomes
(diploid), in every cell except the mature egg & sperm which have a set of 23 chromosomes (haploid). If the
chromosomes in a single cell were stretched out and laid end to end, the DNA would be two metres
Originates from the Greek word ‘chronos’
meaning time. In this instance it refers to ’lasting a long time’.
Illness:- An illness that persists
for a long period of time.
Having to do with the examination and
treatment of patients or something applicable to
Clinicians:- This term is used to generically to describe a wide
range of medical professionals. Most people who work in the area of mental health and engage with clients would
be considered ‘clinicians’. They are utilizing their skills and professional expertise in a ‘clinical’ setting,
be it in patient or outpatient, community or hospital, private or public.
Coping behaviours that prevent individuals
from taking care of their own needs and have as their core preoccupation with the thoughts and feelings of
another. It usually refers to the dependence of one person on another who is addicted in one form or
The process of knowing; the consciously
& sub-consciously comprehended senses; a comprehension of subjectivity. Cognition is the process or
processes by which an organism gains knowledge or becomes aware of events or objects in its environment and uses
that knowledge for comprehension and problem-solving. It includes high level functions carried out by the human
brain, including the use of speech, visual perceptions and construction, calculation ability, attention
(information processing), memory, and executive functions such as planning problem-solving and self
Therapy (CBT):- In simple terms CBT
entails two (2) basic elements:- Cognition or the way an individual thinks & Behavioural – the
way someone reacts, responds or behaves. The two (2) are intrinsically linked and co-exist in everyday life,
though become problematic in conditions such as Depression & Anxiety Disorders. The therapist attempts to
alter both components in a manner that allows for a re-establishment of healthy, appropriate & rational
thinking & corresponding behaviour.
Simply put as a ‘bruise or contusion to the
brain’. (comprehensive definition for concussion can be found in chapter ‘Concussion & Depression’)
Conation:-Conationis a term of relatively recent origin that is synonymous with motivation/will/drive, the preferred
terms in psychological discourse. The power or act that directs or impels to effort of any kind, whether muscular or
The term’ condition’ has a number of
biomedical meanings including the following:
- An unhealthy state, such as in “this progressive
- A state of fitness, such as “getting into condition”.
- Something that is essential to the occurrence of something else; essentially a
- As a verb: to cause a change in something so that a response that was previously
associated with a certain stimulus becomes associated with another stimulus; to condition a person, as
in behavioural conditioning.
Disorder:- Conduct Disorder is
somewhat of a controversial psychiatric category to describe a pattern of repetitive behaviour in children under
the age of 18 where the rights of others or the social norms are violated. Possible symptoms are over-aggressive
behaviour, bullying, physical aggression, cruel behaviour toward people & animals (pets), destructive
behaviour, lying, truancy, vandalism, and stealing. After age 18, a conduct disorder may develop into, or be
classified as,” antisocial personality disorder”.
The diagnostic criteria for ‘Conduct Disorder’ as listed in the DSM IV-TR is as
- A repetitive & persistent pattern of behaviour in which the basic rights of others or
major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated as manifested by the presence of three (or more)
of the following criteria in the past 12 months, with at least one criterion present in the past 6
1. Aggression to people and
- Often initiates physical fights
- Has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others (eg. a bat, brick,
broken bottle, knife, gun)
- Has been physically cruel to people
- Has been physically cruel to animals
- Has stolen while confronting a victim (eg. mugging, purse
snatching, extortion, armed robbery)
- Has forced someone into sexual
2. Destruction of property
- Has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of
causing serious damage.
- Has deliberately destroyed others’ property (other than by
3. Deceitfulness or theft
- Has broken into someone else’s house, building, or car
- Often lies to obtain goods or favours or to avoid obligations (ie.
- Has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim
(eg. shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery)
4. Serious violations of rules
- Often stays out at night despite parental prohibitions, beginning
before age 13 years
- Has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in
parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy
- Is often truant from school, beginning before age 13
The disturbance in behaviour causes clinically significant impairment
in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
Coping Mechanisms:- Way of adjusting to environmental stress without altering one’s goals or purposes (can be conscious
Cortex:- The outer layer of the brain, densely packed with nerve cells.
Cortisol:- A steroid secreted by the adrenal cortex, important for maintaining blood sugar levels, maintenance
of body fluids and electrolytes, and protecting the body from stress.
A counsellor is a professional who counsels
people, especially on personal problems or issues of concern. They can be a licensed and professionally trained
counsellor; a school counsellor; often in a specialty such as career, education, or health. They provide
guidance: something that gives direction or advice as to a decision or course of action. They help clients and
families evaluate their patterns of problem solving and develop more effective ones.
Counter-transference:- The tendency of a professional to displace onto the
client feelings that are a response to people in the professional’s own past.
Stress situation that approaches or exceeds
adaptive capacities of individual or group.
The set of shared attitudes, values, goals,
and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group, and, an integrated pattern of human
knowledge, belief, and behaviour that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social
A chronic mood disturbance of at least 2
years’ duration involving both hypomanic and dysthymic mood swings. These fluctuations do not require
hospitalization and do not impair a person’s functioning in a major way.
DSM IV –TR
(Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 4th
The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides criteria for mental
disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, including Australia, by
clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical
companies and policy makers. Many mental health professionals use this book to determine and help communicate a
patient’s diagnosis after evaluation; hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies also generally require a ‘five
axis’ DSM diagnosis of all patients treated. The DSM can be used to establish a diagnosis or categorize patients
using diagnostic criteria. The DSM may also be used in mental health research. Studies done on specific diseases
often recruit patients whose symptoms match the criteria listed in the DSM for that disease. An international
survey of psychiatrists in 66 countries comparing use of the ICD-10 and the DSM-IV found the former was more
often used for clinical diagnosis while the latter was more valued for research. The DSM, including DSM-IV, is a
registered trademark belonging to the American Psychiatric Association. The ‘Multi-axial’ system utilized by the
DSM relating to different aspects of disorder or disability is as follows:
Axis 1: clinical
disorders, including major mental disorders, as well as developmental and learning
underlying pervasive or personality conditions, as well as mental retardation
Axis III: acute
medical conditions and physical disorders
psychosocial and environmental factors contributing to the disorder
Axis V: Global
Assessment of Functioning or Children’s Global Assessment Scale for children and teens under the age of
Common Axis I disorders
Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, Autism, Phobias and Schizophrenia.
Common Axis II disorders
Disorders (paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, borderline, antisocial, narcissistic, histrioinic, avoidant,
dependant, obsessive-compulsive disorders) and mental retardation.
Common Axis III disorders
include:-brain injuries and
other medical/physical disorders which may aggravate existing diseases or present symptoms similar to other
mechanisms:- Unconscious, automatic
processes to ward off anxiety by preventing conscious awareness of threatening feelings. Defence mechanisms
mediate the individual’s reaction to emotional conflicts and to external stressors. Some defence mechanisms (eg.
projection, splitting, and acting out) are almost invariably maladaptive. Others, such as suppression and
denial, may be either maladaptive or adaptive, depending on the severity, their inflexibility, and the context
in which they occur.
A sudden state of severe confusion and
rapid changes in brain function, sometimes associated with hallucinations and hyperactivity, in which the
individual is inaccessible to ‘normal’ contact. Symptoms may include inability to concentrate and disorganized
thinking evidenced by rambling, irrelevant, or incoherent speech. There may be reduced level of consciousness,
sensory misperceptions and illusions, disturbances of sleep, drowsiness, disorientation to time, place, or
person, and problems with memory.
(DT’s) :- Acute delirium associated
with prolonged alcoholism; the term is now replace by alcohol withdrawal delirium.
A Delusion is a fixed false belief that is
firmly held even when direct evidence that the belief is false is presented to the individual. It is much more
than just a strong or unreasonable belief; it is a false belief that is held so firmly that it reflects a person
being out of touch with reality. Examples of common delusions include:- Grandiose – delusions about inflated worth, power, or status (eg. someone
believing that they are actually a religious figure); Persecutory –
delusions in which the central theme is that the person is being watched, attacked, or harassed (eg. someone
believing that he is being followed by government agents). These are also referred to as Paranoid delusions at times. Thought
Broadcasting – delusions that a person’s thoughts are somehow being broadcast so that other people can see
or hear them.
Significant loss of intellectual abilities
such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with social or occupational
Depression is a common mental disorder that
presents with depressed or low mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth,
disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy and poor concentration. These problems can become chronic or recurrent
and lead to substantial impairments in an individual’s ability to take care of his or her everyday
responsibilities. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, a tragic fatality associated with the loss of
about 850,000 lives every year. Depression occurs in persons of both gender, all ages and backgrounds. The
principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia and bipolar disorder. Major depression causes a
combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat & enjoy once pleasurable
activities. Such a disabling episode of depression may occur only once but more commonly occurs several times in
a lifetime. Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression with long-term symptoms that do not disable, but keep
one from functioning well or from feeling good. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive
episodes at some time in their lives. Bipolar Disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes: severe highs
and lows. Sometimes the mood changes are dramatic & rapid, but more often they are gradual. When in the
depressed phase of the cycle, one can have any or all of the symptoms of a depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder
is not nearly as common as other forms of depressive disorders.
Medication:- This is medication of
a ‘slow release’ nature, administered via intramuscular injection. Older ‘depot’ medication was oil based,
though advances in pharmacology have seen the advent of alternative presentations with less possible side
effects, tissue damage and greater efficacy. It generally applies to ‘antipsychotic’ medication, and can also
apply to hormonal treatments. This type of medication is designed to eliminate the need for regular oral
medication and is used for many in the community setting whose capacity to reliably take prescribed medication
is dubious or for those who have issues with compliance with treatment. The term decoanate is used in
conjunction with the drug’s name indicating its intramuscular, slow release nature. For example: Flupenthixol
decoanate (fluanxol) or Zuclopenthixol decoanate (Clopixol).
Detoxification:- Treatment directed toward ridding the body of
alcohol or other drugs.
1. The nature of a disease; the
identification of an illness. 2. A conclusion or decision reached by diagnosis. “The diagnosis is diabetes. 3.
The identification of any problem.
Diagnosis:- A ‘differential
diagnosis’ means there is more than one possibility for what the ultimate diagnosis might be and they must
‘differentiate’ between them. An example of this might be bipolar disorder and schizo-affective
Distractibility:- Inability to maintain attention; shifting from
one area or topic to another with minimal provocation or attention being drawn too frequently to unimportant
or irrelevant external stimuli.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (or chemical
in the brain) that either increases or reduces the activity of neurons (nerve cells). Dopamine has a variety of
influences on brain function, including playing a role in regulating attention, cognition, movement, pleasure,
behaviour and hormonal responses. Parkinson’s disease, attention deficit disorder, and schizophrenia all involve
abnormalities in the dopamine system. In nature, we learn to repeat behaviours that lead to maximize rewards.
Dopamine is therefore believed to provide a teaching signal to parts of the brain responsible for acquiring new
behaviour. Dopamine is commonly associated with the pleasure system
of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment and reinforcement to motivate a person proactively to perform
certain activities. It is released by naturally rewarding experiences such as food, sex, drugs, and neutral
stimuli that become associated with them. Recent studies indicate that aggression may also stimulate the release
of dopamine in this way. This theory is often discussed in terms of drugs such as cocaine, nicotine and
amphetamines, which directly or indirectly lead to an increase of dopamine and in relation to neurobiological
theories of chemical addiction, arguing that this dopamine pathway is pathologically altered in addicted
persons. Dopamine’s role in experiencing pleasure is argued to be more associated with anticipatory desire and
motivation (commonly referred to as “wanting”) as opposed to actual consummatory pleasure (commonly referred to
Thoughts, visions and other sensations that
occur or occupy the mind during sleep.
Use of a drug to the extent that it
interferes with health and/or occupational or social adjustment.
dependence:- Impaired control of
drug use despite adverse consequences, the development of a tolerance to the drug, and the occurrence of
withdrawal symptoms when drug intake is reduced or stopped.
Psychosis:- Also known as or
referred to as ‘Substance induced psychosis’. Prominent psychotic symptoms determined to be caused by the
effects of a psychoactive substance is the primary feature of a substance-induced psychotic disorder. A
substance may induce psychotic symptoms during intoxication (while the individual is under the influence of the
drug) or during withdrawal (after an individual stops using the drug). A substance induced psychotic disorder is
subtyped or categorized on whether the prominent feature is delusions or hallucinations. In addition, the
disorder is subtyped based on whether it began during intoxication on a substance or during withdrawal from a
substance. One that begins during use can last as long as the drug is used. One that begins during withdrawal
may first manifest up to four (4) weeks after the individual stops using. By definition, a substance induced
psychotic disorder is directly caused by the effects of drugs including alcohol, medications, and toxins.
Psychotic symptoms can result from intoxication on alcohol, amphetamines (and related substances), cannibis
(marijuana), cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, phencyclidine (PCP) and related substances, sedatives,
hypnotics, anxiolytics and other known substances. Psychotic symptoms can also result from withdrawal from
alcohol, sedatives, hypnotics, anxiolytics and other known or unknown substances. The speed of onset of
psychotic symptoms varies depending on the type of substance. For example, using a lot of cocaine can produce
psychotic symptoms within minutes. On the other hand, psychotic symptoms may result from alcohol use only after
days or weeks of intensive use. The type of psychotic symptoms also tends to vary according to the type of
substance. For instance, auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations and tactile hallucinations are most
common in an alcohol-induced psychotic disorder, whereas persecutory delusions and tactile hallucinations
(especially fornication) are commonly seen in a cocaine of amphetamine-induced psychotic disorder. The following
are criteria necessary for diagnosis of a substance-induced psychotic disorder as listed in the
- Presence of prominent hallucinations or delusions.
- Hallucinations and/or delusions develop during, or within one month of, intoxication or
withdrawal from a substance or medication known to cause psychotic symptoms.
- Psychotic symptoms are not actually part of another psychotic disorder (such as
schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, schizo-affective disorder) that is not substance induced. For
instance, if psychotic symptoms began prior to substance or medication use, then another psychotic disorder
- Psychotic symptoms do not only occur during delirium.
interaction:- The effects of two or
more drugs taken simultaneously, producing a change in the usual effects of either drug taken alone. Serious
side effects may result.
Mood:- An unpleasant mood, such as
sadness, anxiety , or irritability.
Difficult or abnormal
A type of depression involving long term,
chronic symptoms that are not disabling, but keep a person from functioning at ‘full steam’ or to their full
capacity or from ‘feeling good’. Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression than what is accorded the
‘diagnosis of major depression’. However, people with dysthymia may also sometimes experience major depressive
episodes, suggesting that there is a continuum between dysthymia and major depression. To be diagnosed with
dysthymia an adult must experience two (2) or more of the following symptoms for most of the day, more days than
not, for at least two (2) years. *feelings of hopelessness; *insomnia or hypersomnia; *poor concentration or
difficulty making decisions; *low energy or fatigue; *low self esteem; *poor appetite or overeating. In contrast
to major depression, medication should only be the last resort. Instead, treatment should be primarily based on
psychotherapy involving the individual learning to cope with dysthymia by understanding its nature. If
medication is chosen, sometimes two (2) different anti-depressant medications are prescribed together, or a
doctor may prescribe a mood stabilizer or anti-anxiety medication in combination with an
awakening:- Awaken early in the
morning and unable to go back to sleep again.
Feelings of intense
Electroconvulsive Therapy (commonly
referred to as ‘shock treatment’). More widely used than most would expect, it is extremely useful in the
treatment of severe depression, illnesses producing ‘psychomotor retardation’ and sometimes persistent,
medication resistant psychotic symptoms. Despite the poor image it generally has, it is now quite safe &
very well monitored. It is not generally used unless absolutely necessary and after other treatments have
failed. It also, in most circumstances, requires the consent of the individual concerned. It is conducted by
trained professionals, under a general anaesthetic and in the appropriately safe setting, often a hospital
measure of electrical activity produced by the brain, obtained with electrodes placed on the
(Freudian in origin) The ‘ego’, which is
conscious and serves to integrate the drives of the id with the prohibitions of the super-ego. Freud believed
this conflict to be at the heart of neurosis. According to Freud, the Ego acts in relation to the reality
principle; ie. it seeks to please the id’s drive in realistic ways that will benefit in the long term rather
than bringing grief. The Ego comprises the organized part of the personality structure which includes defensive,
perceptual, intellectual-cognitive, and executive funtions. Conscious awareness resides in the ego, although not
all of the operations of the ego are conscious. The ego separates what is real. It helps us organize our
thoughts and make sense of them and the world around us. In Freud’s theory, the ego mediates between the id, the
super-ego and the external world. Its task is to find a balance between primitive drives and reality while
satisfying the id and super-ego. Its main concern is with the individual’s safety and allows some of the id’s
desires to be expressed, but only when consequences of these actions are marginal. Ego defence mechanisms are
often used by the ego when id behaviour conflicts with reality and either society’s morals, norms, and taboos or
the individual’s expectations as a result of the internalization of these morals, norms and their
Mood:- An exaggerated feeling of
well-being, or euphoria or elation. A person with elevated mood may describe feeling ‘high’, ‘ecstatic’, ‘on top
of the world’, or ‘up in the clouds’.
Ability to understand and to some extent
share the state of mind of another person; getting into the other person’s world and see things from that
person’s perspective; communicating that understanding to the other person.
Inside. That which occurs, develops, is
made or constructed within the body as differentiated from similar things produced or developed outside of the
body. Endogenous depression is that which seemingly has no external causative factor such as ‘marital
Endorphins are endogenous opioid
polypeptide compounds. They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in individuals during
strenuous exercise, excitement, pain, death, and orgasm, and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to
produce analgaesia and a sense of well-being. Endorphins work as “natural pain relievers”, whose effects may be
enhanced by other medications. The term endorphin rush has been
adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger, or other forms of
stress, supposedly due to the influence of endorphins. When a nerve impulse reaches the spinal cord, endorphins
are released which prevent nerve cells from releasing more pain signals. Immediately after injury, endorphins
allow humans to feel a sense of power & control over themselves that allows them to persist with activity
for an extended period of time. Another widely publicized effect of endorphin production is the so-called
‘runner’s high’, which is said to occur when strenuous exercise
takes a person over the threshold that activates endorphin production. Endorphins are released during long,
continuous workouts, when the level of intensity is between moderate and high, and breathing is difficult. This
also corresponds with the time that muscles use up their stored glycogen. During a release of endorphin the
person may be exposed to bodily harm from strenuous bodily functions after going past their body’s physical
limit. Other activities that might relate to this occurrence are: boxing, swimming, cycling, weight lifting,
soccer, basketball, tennis, hockey, AFL, rugby union, and of
course, rugby league.
Nurse:- An enrolled nurse has not completed a University Degree, though has undertaken training at a
TAFE College. They are generally not as commonly seen in mental health settings. Some have ‘medication
endorsement’ meaning they can administer your medication.
The sum total of the elements, factors and
conditions in the surroundings which may have an impact on the development, action or survival of an organism or
group of organisms.
Enzyme:-A protein (or protein based molecule) that speeds up a chemical reaction in a living organism.
An enzyme acts as a catalyst for specific reactions, converting a specific set of reactants (called substrates)
into specific products. Without enzymes, life as we know it would not exist.
Epinephrine (also referred to as
adrenaline) is a hormone and neurotransmitter that participates in the ‘fight or flight’ response of the
sympathetic nervous system. Its powerful ‘fight or flight’ hormone and also plays a central role in the
short-term stress reaction. It is released from the adrenal glands when danger threatens or in an emergency,
hence an ‘adrenaline rush’. Such triggers may be threatening, exciting, or environmental stressor conditions
such as high noise levels, or bright light and high ambient temperature. When in the bloodstream, it rapidly
prepares the body for action in emergency situations. The hormone boosts the supply of oxygen and glucose to the
brain and muscles, while suppressing other non-emergency bodily processes. It increases heart rate and stroke
volume, dilates pupils, and constricts aterioles in the skin and gastrointestinal tract while dilating aterioles
in skeletal muscles. It elevates the blood sugar level by increasing catabolism of glycogen to glucose in the
liver, and at the same time begins the breakdown of lipids in fat cells. Like some other stress hormones,
epinephrine has a suppressive effect on the immune system. Although epinephrine does not have any psychoactive
effects, stress or arousal also releases norepinephrine in the brain. Norepinephrine has similar actions in the
body, but is psychoactive. Adverse reactions to epinephrine include palpatations, tachycardia, arrhythmia,
anxiety, headache, tremor, hypertension and acute pulmonary oedema. Adrenaline Junkies is a term used to describe somebody who appears to be
addicted to epinephrine (endogenous,) and are sometimes described as getting “high on life”. They appear to
favour stressful activities for the release of epinephrine as a stress response.
Euphoria is medically recognized as an
emotional and mental state defined as a sense of great elation and well-being. Technically, euphoria is an
affect, but the term is often colloquially used to define emotion as an intense, transcendent happiness combined
with an overwhelming sense of well-being. Euphoria is generally considered to be an exaggerated state, resulting
from psychological or pharmacological stressors and not typically achieved during the normal course of human
existence, although some natural behaviours, such as activities resulting in orgasm or the triumph of an
athlete, can induce brief states of euphoria. Euphoria has also been cited during religious or spiritual rituals
A normal mood state. Euthymic:- Mood in the ‘normal’ range, which imples the absence of
depressed or elevated mood.
Exogenous:-Originating from ‘outside’; derived externally. In pathology (of disease) – externally caused
rather than resulting from conditions within the organism. In relation to depression, it is ‘an inappropriate
state of depression that is precipitated by events in the person’s life (to be distinguished from normal
system:- A neural network located
in the brain that is part of the motor system involved in the coordination of movement.
effects (EPS):- A variety of signs
& symptoms that are often side effects of the use of certain psychotropic drugs. For example: acute
dystonia, akathesia that are reversible, and tardive dyskinesia that is not.
An individual who follows or subscribes to
the basic theories or practices of Sigmund Freud. Of or relating to Sigmund Freud or his psychoanalysis ideas
“Freudian Theories”. Freud is considered the father of modern psychology and
response:- The body’s automatic
response to fearful trigger. This response is useful in emergencies. However, ongoing response can result in
health deterioration, including high blood pressure, ulcers etc.
Almost no emotional expression at all; the
patient typically has an immobile face and monotonous voice.
ideas:- A continuous flow of speech
in which a person jumps rapidly from one topic to another. Speech consists of a stream of accelerated thoughts
with abrupt changes from topic to topic and no central direction. The connections between the thoughts may be
based on chance relationships, verbal associations, clang associations and distracting stimuli. Sometimes the
listener can keep up with the changes; at other times, it is necessary to listen for themes in the incessant
talking. Themes can include grandiose and fantasized estimation of personal ability, talents etc. Characteristic
of manic disorder and drugs of a stimulant nature.
Folie a deux
(French):- A shared psychotic
disorder between 2 people, usually people who are mutually dependant upon each other. One has a real psychosis
and symptoms that are induced in the other. Separation usually results in symptomatic improvement in the one who
is not psychotic.
One of the four divisions of each cerebral
hemisphere. The frontal lobe is important for controlling movement and associating the functions of other
cortical areas. Portion of the brain is active in reasoning and other higher thought processes. As the name
suggests, it is located at the front of the brain.
(gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) :- A
neurotransmitter implicated in depressive and other psychiatric disorders. GABA receptors contain five different
protein subunits, which come in a variety of shapes. GABA is the predominant amino acid transmitter used to
mediate pre-synaptic inhibition in the spinal cord as well as an inhibitory transmitter in areas of the brain
such as the cortex and the basal ganglia. It is considered to be involved in muscle relaxation, sleep,
diminished emotional reation and sedation.
practitioner):- This is your ‘family or personal doctor’. The GP is
most often the first person you seek out when experiencing difficulties. Most GPs are very aware of the issues
relating to mental health as a result of the ever growing incidence of mental health issues and is therefore
generally quite adept at prescribing treatment or making the necessary referral to more specialized services
should that be necessary. They work in the private sector.
A gene is the basic unit of heredity in a
living organism. All living things depend on genes. They hold the information to build and maintain their cells
and pass traits to offspring. In general terms, a gene is a segment of nucleic acid that, taken as a whole,
specifies a trait. The gene is considered a hereditary unit consisting of a sequence of DNA that occupies a
specific location on a chromosome and determines a particular characteristic of an organism. Genes undergo
mutation when their DNA sequence changes. The nature, structure, and regulation of genes has been a central
topic of scientific research for more than 100 years.
Life is specified by genomes. Every
organism, including humans, has a genome that contains all of the biological information needed to build and
maintain a living example of that organism. The biological information contained in a genome is encoded in its
DNA and is divided into discrete units called genes. Gene codes for proteins that attach to the genome at the
appropriate positions and switch on a series of reactions called gene expression. Inside each of our cells lies
a nucleus, a membrane-bounded region that provides the home for genetic information. The nucleus contains long
strands of DNA that encode genetic information. An analogy to the human genome stored on DNA is that of
instructions stored in a book.
- The book would be over one billion words long;
- The book would be bound in 5000 volumes, each one 300 pages
- The book fits into a cell nucleus the size of a pinpoint;
- A copy of the book (all 5000 volumes) is contained in almost every
The most common excitatory neurotransmitter
in the brain.
Exaggerated belief in or claims about one’s
importance or identity. When extreme, grandiosity may be of delusional proportions.
The normal process of reacting to a loss.
The loss may be physical (such as death), social (such as divorce) or occupational (such as a job). Emotional
reactions of grief can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair. Physical reactions to grief can
include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems, or illness.
Two (2) or more individuals, interacting
and interdependent, who have come together to achieve particular objectives.
Dynamics:- Group dynamics is the
study of groups, and also a general term for group processes. Televant to the fields of psychology, sociology
and communication studies, a group is two or more individuals who are connected to each other by social
relationships. Because they interact and influence each other, groups develop a number of dynamic processes that
separate them from a random collection of individuals. These processes include norms, roles, relations,
development, need to belong, social influence and effects on behaviour. The field of group dynamics is primarily
concerned with small group behaviour. A true group exhibits a degree of social cohesion and is more than a
simple collection or aggregate of individuals, such as people waiting at a bus stop. Characteristics shared by
members of a group may include interests, values, ethnic or social background, occupational or sporting
commonalities, and kinship ties. They accept expectations and obligations as members of the group and share a
common identity. By this definition, society could be viewed as a large group, though most social groups are
considerably smaller. The advantages in belonging to a group are as follows
- Security– By joining a group, individuals can reduce
the insecurity of “standing alone”. People feel stronger, have fewer self-doubts, and are more resistant to
threats when they are part of a group.
- Status– Inclusion in a group that is viewed as
important by others provides recognition and status for its members.
- Self-Esteem– Groups can provide people with feelings of
self-worth. That is, in addition to conveying status to those outside the group, membership can also give
increased feelings of worth to the group members themselves.
- Power– What cannot be achieved individually often
becomes possible through group action. There is power in numbers.
The potential for development of positive individual personal growth can be achieved through
group processes & dynamics which promote positivity, however the same can be applied to the negative &
destructive nature of groups whose dynamics and functioning is contrary to societal norms and values. A group
whose identity is falsely believed to be ‘above’ or ‘beyond’ expected & acceptable social conventions may
result in its members also individually adapting their own self image as being above these social norms, values,
The time required for half the amount of a
drug to be eliminated from the body.
Hallucinations:- A hallucination, in the broadest sense, is a
perception in the absence of a stimulus. In a stricter sense, hallucinations are defined as perceptions in a
conscious and awake state in the absence of external stimuli which have qualities of real perception, in that
they are vivid, substantial, and located in external objective space. The latter definition distinguishes
hallucinations from the related phenomena of dreaming, which does not involve wakefulness; illusion, which
involves distorted or misinterpreted real perception; imagery, which does not mimic real perception and is
under voluntary control; and pseudohallucinations which does not mimic real perception, but is not under
voluntary control. Hallucinations also differ from ‘delusional perceptions’, in which a correctly sensed and
interpreted genuine perception is given some additional (and typically bizarre) significance. Hallucinations
can occur in any sensory modality – visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile as well as
proprioceptive, equilibrioceptive, nociceptive and thermoceptive.
Drug or chemical capable of producing
Hallucination (usually auditory) occurring
in clear consciousness. For example in alcoholism.
(Genetics):-Physical conditions that
are passed on from generation to generation or illness that exists within a family (such as heart disease) can
be referred to as a ‘hereditary predisposition’. Mental illness can similarly involve a component based on
heredity. The likelihood of developing Schizophrenia, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders etc.
is increased with a family history of such illnesses. There is no definitive test that will detect this, though
statistics and research clearly indicate this to be the case.
A dramatic presentation of oneself with
pervasive and excessive emotionality in order to seek attention, love and
A chemical substance produced in the body
that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells and organs.
Hyperactivity:- A higher than normal level of activity. An organ of the body can be described as hyperactive
if it is more active than usual. Behaviour can also be hyperactive.
Hypersomnia is by recurring episodes of
excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) or prolonged night time sleep. Different from feeling tired due to lack of,
or interrupted sleep at night, individuals with hypersomnia are compelled to ‘nap’ repeatedly during the day,
often at inappropriate times such as work, during a meal, or in conversation. These daytime ‘naps’ usually
provide no relief from symptoms. Patients often have difficulty waking from long sleep, and may feel
disoriented. Other symptoms may include anxiety, increased irritation, decreased energy, restlessness, slow
thinking, slow speech, loss of appetite, hallucinations, and memory difficulty. Some individuals lose the
ability to function in family, social, occupational or other settings. Typically, hypersomnia is first
recognized in adolescence or young adulthood.
High blood pressure, defined as repeatedly
elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg – a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure
Enlargement or overgrowth of an organ or
part of the body due to increased size of the constituent cells. Hypertrophy occurs in the biceps and heart
because of increased work. Cardiac hypertrophy is recognizable microscopically by the increased size of the
Also referred to as soporific drugs, are a
class of psychoactives whose primary function is to induce sleep and to be used in the treatment of insomnia and
in surgical anaesthesia. Because drugs in this class generally produced dose-dependent effects, ranging from
anxiolysis to production of unconsciousness, they are often referred to collectively as sedative-hypnotic drugs.
Since many hypnotic medications are habit-forming, a physician or GP will usually recommend other alternatives
before prescribing medication for sleep. Hypnotic medication when prescribed should be used for the shortest
period of time. The benzodiazepine and nonbenzodiazepine hypnotic medications also have a number of side effects
such as daytime fatigue, cognitive impairment and can result in motor vehicle accidents, falls and fractures,
particularly in the elderly.
Excessive preoccupation with one’s physical
health, without the presence of any pathology. Physical sensations are unrealistically interpreted as being
A condition similar to mania but less
severe. The symptoms are similar with elevated mood, increased activity, decreased sleep, grandiosity, racing
thoughts, and the like. However, hypomanic episodes differ in that they do not cause significant distress or
impair one’s work, family, or social life in an obvious way while manic episodes do.
Any blood pressure that is below the normal
expected for an individual in a given environment. Hypotension is the opposite of hypertension (abnormally high
Small structure at the base of the brain
that regulates many body functions, including appetite and body temperature.
(International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems – 10th
revision):- is a coding of diseases and
signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or diseases,
as classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The code set allows for more than 155,000 different codes
and permits tracking of many new diagnoses and procedures, a significant expansion on the 17,000 codes available
in ICD-9. ICD-10-AM is the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems,
Tenth Revision, Australian Modification. ICD-10-AM has been developed by the NSSH with assistance from
clinicians and clinical coders to ensure that the classification is current and appropriate for Australian
clinical practice. The ICD-10-AM disease component is based on the WHO ICD-10. It uses an alphanumeric coding
scheme for diseases. It is structured by body system and aetiology and comprises three, four and five character
categories. The ICD includes a section classifying mental and behavioural disorders. This has developed
alongside the DSM and the two manuals seek to use the same codes. There are significant differences, however,
such as the ICD including personality disorders on the same axis as other mental disorders, unlike the
Id:- (Freudian in origin) The ‘Id’ represents the
instinctual drives of the individual and remains largely unconscious. The Id comprises the unorganized part of
the personality structure and acts as a pleasure principle: if not compelled by reality it seeks immediate
enjoyment. It is focused on selfishness and instant gratification. Personality, as Freud saw it, was produced by
the conflict between biological impulses and social restraints that were internalized. The Id stands in direct
opposition to the ‘super-ego’. Developmentally, the psychic apparatus of the Id begins at birth as
undifferentiated; part of which later develops into a structured ego. The mind of a newborn child is regarded as
completely “id-ridden”, in the sense that it is a mass of instinctive drives and impulses, and demands immediate
gratification. The id is responsible for our basic drives such as food, water, sex, and basic impulses. It is
amoral and egocentric, ruled by the pleasure-pain principle; it is without a sense of time, completely
illogical, primarily sexual, infantile in its emotional development, and will not take “no” for an answer. It is
regarded as the reservoir of the libido or “instinctive drive to create”. Mental Health manifestations of adult
id driven; id obsessed; id focused behaviours are seen in certain personality disorders and behavioural types
such as the ‘Antisocial Personality Disorder’, the ‘Narcissistic Personality’ and
An erroneous mental representation.
Something many people believe that is false; “they have the illusion I am wealthy”. It is also considered as a
distortion of the senses; revealing how the brain normally organizes and interprets sensory
Impulsiveness:- An action that is abrupt, unplanned, and directed toward immediate
Affect:- Reacting in an
inappropriate manner, such as laughing when hearing bad news.
The frequency with which something, such as
disease, appears in a particular population, area or demographic. In disease epidemiology, the incidence is the
number of newly diagnosed cases during a specific time period. The incidence is distinct from the prevalence
which refers to the number of cases alive on a certain date.
A gene, chromosome or genome that is
transmitted from parent to child, as opposed to something contained in a will.
Conscious restraint of impulse or
Shutting off or decreasing brain electrical
activity; causing nerve cells to stop firing.
The individual’s understanding of his or
her illness or of the motivations underlying a behaviour pattern.
Insomnia is a symptom of a sleeping
disorder characterized by persistent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep despite the opportunity.
Insomnia is a symptom, not a stand-alone diagnosis or a disease. By definition, insomnia is ‘difficulty
initiating or maintaining sleep, or both’ and it may be due to inadequate quality or quantity of sleep. It is
typically followed by functional impairment while awake. There are several differing degrees of insomnia though
there are three (3) clearly identifiable types: (1) Transient
insomnia which last from days to weeks. It can be caused by another disorder, by changes in the sleep
environment, by timing of sleep, severe depression, or by stress. Its consequences – sleepiness and impaired
psychomotor performance – are similar to those of sleep deprivation. (2)Acute insomnia is the inability to consistently sleep well for a period
between three weeks to six months. (3) Chronic insomnia lasts for
years at a time. It can be caused by another disorder or it can be a primary disorder. Its effects can vary
according to its causes. They might include sleepiness, muscular fatigue, hallucinations, and/or mental fatigue;
but those with chronic insomnia often show increased alertness. Some of those who live with this disorder see
things as though they were happening in slow motion, whereas moving objects seem to blend together.
Quality of being unified and honest with
self and others.
Excessive use of a drug or alcohol that
leads to maladaptive behaviour.
Refers to ‘involuntary’ (against your will)
admission & treatment in a mental health facility &/or with a mental health service. The ‘involuntary’
status of an individual means they can be hospitalized and treated, given medication (both oral &
intramuscular) against their wishes. It is usually a ‘last resort’ means of treating mental illness and/or
heightened risk to the client and/or others. Terms that might relate to an ‘involuntary’ status could be
‘scheduled’ ‘regulated’ ‘ITO’d’ ‘compulsory’; depending on the State’s particular mental health
Having rapidly shifting emotions;
Affect:- Affect repeatedly and
rapidly shifts from extreme to another, for example, from despair to elation. Lability:- Instability, particularly with regard to
1. Sexual drive. 2. In psychoanalysis, the psychic energy from all instinctive biological
System:- Group of brain structures
composed of the hippocampus and amygdala. Associated with memory storage, the coordinatioin of autonomic
functioins, and the control of mood and emotion.
Carbonate:- Lithium is an
antipsychotic, anti-manic medication used for those with Affective Disorder, Bipolar; Bipolar Disorder;
Depression; Mania. Lithium Carbonate is indicated in the treatment of manic episodes of manic-depressive
illness. Maintenance therapy prevents or diminishes the intensity of subsequent episodes in those
manic-depressive individuals with a history of mania. Typical symptoms of mania include pressure of speech,
motor hyperactivity, reduced need for sleep, flight of ideas, grandiosity, elation, poor judgment,
aggressiveness and hostility. When given to an individual experiencing a manic episode, lithium carbonate may
produce a normalization of symptomatology within 1 to 3 weeks. Extreme caution is required in the prescribing
and administration of lithium to those people with severe cardiovascular or renal disease and those with
evidence of severe debilitation or dehydration, sodium depletion, brain damage or with conditions requiring low
sodium intake. The individual and their families should be warned that they must discontinue lithium therapy and
contact their physician or GP if such clinical signs of lithium toxicity as diarrhoea, vomiting, tremor, mild
ataxia, drowsiness, or muscular weakness occur. The ability to tolerate lithium is greater during the acute
manic phase and decreases when manic symptoms subside. Caution should be used when lithium and diuretics are
used together because diuretic-induced sodium loss may reduce the renal clearance of lithium and increase serum
lithium levels with the risk of toxicity. Patients receiving such combined therapy should have serum lithium
levels monitored closely and the lithium dosage adjusted if necessary. The toxic levels for lithium are close to
the therapeutic levels. Regular blood tests for serum levels and adequate dietary and fluid intake are essential
to maintain the general health & wellbeing of someone taking lithium.
imaging (MRI):- A non-invasive
procedure for 2 & 3 dimensional imaging of the brain.
Purposeful behaviour directed at getting
needs met. This is maladaptive when it is the feelings or needs of others that are disregarded and others are
treated as objects in order to fulfill the needs of the person.
medication):- Monoamine oxidase
inhibitors (MAOIs) are a class of powerful antidepressant drugs prescribed for the treatment of depression. They
are particularly effective in treating atypical depression, and have shown effectiveness in smoking cessation.
Due to the potentially lethal dietary and drug interactions, MAOIs had been reserved as a last line of defence,
used only when other classes of antidepressant drugs (for example SSRIs and Tricyclics) have failed. However,
newer MAOIs such as selegiline and moclobemide provide a safer alternative and are now sometimes used as first
line therapy, although not necessarily as effective as their predecessors. They are also used for treating
agoraphobia or social anxiety. MAOIs act by inhibiting the activity of monoamine oxidase, thus preventing the
breakdown of monoamine neurotransmitters and thereby increasing their availability. The early MAOIs inhibited
monoamine oxidase irreversibly. When they react with monoamine oxidase, they permanently deactivate it, and the
enzyme cannot function until it has been replaced by the body, which can take about two weeks. A few newer
MAOIs, notably moclobemide, are reversible, meaning they are able to detach from the enzyme to facilitate usual
catabolism of the substrate. The MAOIs are infamous for their numerous drug interactions. Any drug that falls
within the following classifications should be avoided without prior professional advice and strict supervision:
(1) Substances that are metabolized by monoamine oxidase as they can be boosted by up to several fold. (2)
Substances that increase serotonin, norepinephrine, and/or dopamine activity, as too much of any of these can
result in severe acute consequences, including serotonin syndrome, hypertensive crisis, and psychosis,
Mania is a severe medical condition
characterized by extremely elevated mood, energy, unusual thought patterns and sometimes psychosis. There are
several possible causes for mania including drug abuse and brain tumours, but it is most often associated with
bipolar disorder, where episodes of mania alternate with episodes of major depression. Mania varies in intensity
from mild mania (hypomania) to full-blown mania psychotic features (hallucinations and delusions).
Hospitalisation may be required to protect the individual and others from the consequences of mania. Mild
(hypomania) is often associated with creativity and artistic talent. Symptoms include rapid pressured speech,
racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, hypersexuality, euphoria, impulsiveness, grandiosity etc. Other
symptoms may include irritability, anger or rage, delusions, hypersensitivity, hyper-religiosity, hyperactivity.
Afflicted individuals may engage in out of character behaviour such as questionable business transactions,
wasteful expenditures of money, risky sexual activity, abnormal social interaction, or highly vocal arguments
uncharacteristic of previous behaviours. These behaviours increase stress in personal relationships, problems at
work and increases the risk of altercations with law enforcement as well as being at high risk of impulsively
taking part in activities potentially harmful to self and others.
Medical…refers to Psychiatrists, Medical Officers, Registrars, General Practitioners – basically
anyone who has completed their medical degree.
officer or registrar is a qualified doctor, though without specialized mental health qualifications. They may be
in the process of undertaking their training in psychiatry or simply working in the field. They may be
experienced or relatively new to the field and are under the guidance of the consultant/psychiatrist. They can
prescribe medication and fulfill most of the necessary assessment requirements for the client. These individuals
work in both public & private health care settings.
An older term for depression, derived from
the Greek word for ‘black bile’, an excess of which was believed to be the cause of low spirits. Melancholia is
used today to refer to certain symptoms that occur in severe depression; extreme depression characterized by
tearful sadness and irrational fears.
Megalomania is a state of mental illness
often characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence. It includes an obsession with
grandiose or extravagant things or actions.
1. The ability to recover information about
past events or knowledge. 2. The process of recovering information about past events or knowledge 3. Cognitive
reconstruction. The brain engages in a remarkable reshuffling process in an attempt to extract what is general
and what is particular about each passing moment.
Act:- This is the legislation
governing the area of Mental Health. Each State has its own Mental Health Act. It sets out the laws under which
‘Mental Health’ care is provided; the rights of the patient, the responsibilities of the provider of health
care, the mechanisms for treatment and the means by which this can be lawfully carried
exam:- A formal assessment of
cognitive functions such as intelligence, thought processes, and capacity of insight.
Mentor:- The modern use of the word ‘mentor’ refers to: a
trusted friend, counsellor or teacher, usually a more experienced person. Some professionals have ‘mentoring
programs’ in which newcomers are paired with more experienced people, who advise them and serve as examples as
they advance. Schools sometimes offer mentoring programs to new students, or students having difficulties. Today
mentors provide expertise to less experienced individuals to help them advance their careers, enhance their
education, and build their networks. In many different arenas people have benefited from being part of a
mentoring relationship, including:
- Business people – Freddie Laker mentored Richard
- Politicians– Aristotle mentored Alexander the
- Film Directors– Martin Scorsese mentored Oliver
- Actors– Laurence Olivier mentored Anthony Hopkins
& Mel Gibson mentored Health Ledger
- Musicians– Johann Christian Bach mentored Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart, Dr. Dre mentors Eminem
- Athletes– Eddy Merckx (5 times Tour de France winner)
mentored Lance Armstrong; Bobby Charlton mentored David Beckham.
The student of a mentor is referred to as a protégé or mentee. Mentorship refers to a
developmental relationship in which a more experienced person helps a less experienced person, referred to as a
protégé, apprentice or mentoree develop in a specific capacity. There exists several definitions of mentoring in
the literature. Foremost, mentoring involves communication and is relationship based. In the organizational
setting, mentoring can take many forms. One definition of the many that have been proposed, is “mentoring is a
process for the informal transmission of knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support perceived by
the recipient as relevant to work, career, or professioanl development: mentoring entails informal
communication, usually face-to-face and during a sustained period of time, between a person who is perceived to
have greater relevant knowledge, wisdom, or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less
Peer Mentoringis a form of mentoring that takes place in learning
environments such as schools, usually between an older more experienced student and a new student(s). The same
situation exists or can exist in sporting clubs such as rugby league teams. Peer mentoring is a good way of
practicing social skills for the mentor and help on adapting and settling in for the mentoree. Most peer mentors
are chosen for their sensibility, confidence, social skills and reliability. The amount of time that peer
mentors and mentorees meet varies according to the particular mentoring program. Some pairs may make contact
once a month, while others may meet 3 to 4 times per month or more. It is usually advised that mentors and
mentorees meet more often in the beginning of the relationship, in order to establish a good foundation &
effective rapport. Mentors and mentorees may maintain contact through email, telephone or in person meetings.
Peer mentoring organizations may also set up social events for those participating in the program. These events
provide good opportunities for increased interaction between mentors and mentorees. The compatability of mentor
and mentoree is a factor that should be taken into consideration when choosing pairs. Mentors and mentorees may
benefit from having similar backgrounds, interests and life experiences.
That which thinks, reasons, perceives,
wills and feels. The mind is intrinsically linked to the brain and cannot be separated. In neuroscience, there
is no duality between mind and body. They are one.
A mood is a relatively long lasting
emotional state. Moods differ from simple emotions in that they are less specific, less intense, and less likely
to be triggered by a particular stimulus of event. Moods generally have either a positive or negative nature.
People generally speak of being in a good mood or a bad mood. Unlike acute emotional feelings such as fear and
surprise, moods often last for hours or days. Mood also differs from temperament or personality traits which are
even longer lasting and more entrenched. Nevertheless, personality traits such as optimism and neuroticism
predispose certain types of moods. Long term disturbances of mood such as depression, dysthymia and bipolar
disorder are considered mood disorders. Mood in an internal, subjective state, but it often can be inferred from
posture and other behaviours. In general terms, mood is how the individual describes their feelings as opposed
to affect which can be observable to others.
Stabiliser:- Mood stabilizers are
the main drugs or medicines used to manage bipolar disorder. They are used to maintain a person’s mood at a
reasonable level and help prevent future episodes of low or high mood. Some are also used to help control
episodes of high mood (mania). There are two (2) types of mood stabilizer. (1) The oldest and most widely used
is Lithium. (2 Anticonvulsant medication for epilepsy have also proved to be effective mood stabilizer. They can
be used as an alternative to lithium or in combination with it. Lithium is thought to modify the production and
turnover of certain neurotransmitters in the brain; Seretonin and Dopamine in particular. Anticonvulsant
medication is thought to work on the brain by (1) increasing the amount of a natural nerve-calming chemical
called GABA and/or (2) reducing the amount of a natural nerve-exciting chemical called glutamate. This
stabilizes the electrical activity in the brain and is thought to explain how anticonvulsants calm episodes of
mania. Mood stabilizers may not begin to work immediately, so it is vitally important to continuing taking them
even if there seems to be no effect at first. Lithium may take a week or more to begin working. Anticonvulsants
such as valproate (epilim) may work more rapidly to control a manic episode. Until the mood stabilizer takes
effect, other medicines such as antipsychotics or sedatives are initially used to help control an episode of
high mood. In general, individuals with bipolar disorder continue treatment with mood stabilizers for extended
periods of time (sometimes years) to help prevent episodes of ill health. Specific precautions need to be taken
when prescribed and being treated with mood stabilizers. Overdosage can be fatal and prolonged use and high
levels of lithium can result in permanent renal damage. To determine the efficacy of these medications,
observation and blood levels are required. Blood tests to establish the therapeutic range is vital in ensuring
the optimization of treatment and prevention of possible side effects and complications from non-therapeutic
Suggesting an unhealthy mental state;
“morbid interest in death’; “morbid curiosity”; “goulish”; suggesting the horror of death & decay; “morbid
details”; diseased; caused by or altered by or manifesting disease or pathology.
Commonly refers to the frequency of
disease, illness, injuries, and disabilities in a population, though can also refer to a disease or medical
condition that is an abnormal condition of an organism that impairs bodily functions, associated with specific
signs and symptoms. It may be caused by external factors, such as invading organisms, or it may be caused by
internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune diseases. It might also be considered as the
- The relative incidence of a particular disease
- An abnormally gloomy or unhealthy state of mind; “his fear of being alone verges on
- Unwholesomeness: the quality of being unhealthful and generally bad for
1.The conventions that embody the fundamental values of a group. 2. Mores are norms or customs.
Mores derive from established practices of a society rather than its written laws. 3. A set of generally
accepted moral governances that are not necessarily formalized. 4. Standards of behaviour or customs that are
appropriate within a society, and accepted by the majority.
A fatal outcome or, in one word, death. The
word ‘mortality’ is derived from ‘mortal’ which came from the Latin ‘mors’ (death). The opposite of mortality
is, of course, immortality. Mortality is also quite distinct from morbidity (illness).
Team:- The ‘Multidisciplinary team’ is a term to describe the many professional facets of health
care. It involves combinations and representations of the many professions listed above. In the mental health
arena, this may involve the Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Nursing & Allied Health. In a football club, a
similar structure may involve the Board, the CEO, Major Sponsors, Head Coach, Club Captain etc… They make
decisions regarding the direction of the club, player recruitment & investments in player personnel, they
handle issues of concern that may require intervention & discipline at times. It is no different in health.
The team makes decisions relating to the overall plan for the client, directions in treatment etc. In this
way, it is hoped that the very best care can be implemented.
Narcissism describes the trait of excessive
self-love based on self-image or ego, as well as lack of empathy for others. The term derived from the Greek
mythology of Narcissus. He was a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. As
punishment, he was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his
love, Narcissus pined away and changed into a flower that bears his name, the narcissus. Sigmund Freud was the
first to utilize the term Narcissism as a means to describe this type of behavioural phenomena. In psychology
& psychiatry, excessive narcissism is recognized as a severe personality disorder. The terms ‘narcissism’,
‘narcissistic’, and ‘narcissist’ are often used as pejoratives, denoting vanity, conceit, egotism or simple
selfishness. Applied to a social group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to the plight
of others. While everyone can be claimed to possess some degree of narcissistic traits, certain forms of
narcissism can be highly dysfunctional and are classified as pathologies such as the narcissistic personality
disorder and malignant narcissism. There are differing types of narcissism with varying degrees of pervasiveness
and effect upon the individual and those around; examples such as acquired situational narcissism, gender
narcissism, sexual narcissism, medical narcissism, reactive/transient narcissism. Similarly there is evidence to
suggest that a degree of ‘healthy narcissism’ is essential to the maintenance of a sound mind, though the latter
is oft times open to a degree of conjecture in its relationship to self-esteem.
(reactive/transient):- This type of
narcissism can be viewed as more of a ‘defence mechanism’ or unconscious coping strategy in times of stress or
anxiety. As a means of protecting one’s self image and self esteem, the individual goes beyond that which could
be assumed to be ‘normal’ or healthy self-image and self-evaluation and evokes a superiority and haughty,
arrogant and often aggressive manner. Inner frustration and ‘bottled-up’ emotions, thoughts and feelings
combined with the notion of being personally attacked is dealt with by overcompensation of narcissistic rhetoric
and behaviour rather than logical, rational reasoning. Depending on the level of stress, the type of situation
one finds themselves in and the time frame over which this stress and anxiety is experienced, will depend on the
degree and length of time the transient or reactive narcissism might prevail. More often than not, the generally
healthy individual will realize their inappropriate reaction and adjust accordingly; often being replaced by
guilt, remorse and regret. On the ‘flip side’, the repeated use of narcissism as a coping or defence mechanism
and the failure of the person to recognize its use might lead to a more permanent degree of narcissism that
might become ingrained in the individual’s persona.
Personality Disorder:- Although
most individuals have some narcissistic traits, narcissism can also manifest in an extreme ‘all-pervasive’
pathological form as Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD, wherein the individual overestimates his or her
abilities and has an excessive need for admiration and affirmation and displays a lack of empathy. The
narcissist is described as turning inward for gratification rather than depending on others, and as being
excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, and prestige. NPD is also colloquially referred
to as “the God complex”. According to the DSM IV-TR criteria, NPD is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in
fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a
variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal
- Believes that he or she is ‘special’ and can only be understood by, or should associate
with, people (or institutions) who are also ‘special’ or of high status.
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a sense of entitlement
- Is interpersonally exploitative
- Lacks empathy
- Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes
The causes or origins of this disorder is unknown, however the list of the following factors
have been identified by various researchers.
- An oversensitive temperament at birth
- Overindulgence and overvaluation by parents
- Valued by parents as a means to regulate their own
- Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic
- Unpredictable or unreliable care-giving from parents
- Severe emotional abuse in childhood
- Being praised for perceived exceptional looks or talents by
- Perceived ‘conditional’ love, approval & acceptance
- Excessive praise for good behaviours or excessive criticism for poor behaviours in
Narcissistic personality disorder is isolating, disenfranchising, painful, and formidable for
those diagnosed with it and often those who are in a relationship with them. Distinctions need to be made among
those who have NPD because not each and every person with NPD is the same. Even with similar core issues, the
way in which one’s individual narcissism manifests itself in his or her relationship
Symptoms:- Most commonly refers to
a group of symptoms characteristic of schizophrenia that include loss of fluency and spontaneity of verbal
expression, impaired ability to focus or sustain attention on a particular task, difficulty in initiating or
following through on tasks, impaired ability to experience pleasure to form emotional attachment to others, and
A bundle of fibres that uses chemical and
electrical signals to transmit sensory and motor information from one part of the body to
Pathway:- A bundle of myelinated
nerve fibres following a path through the brain. A nerve pathway may run upward (ascending pathway) from the
spinal cord toward the brain carrying sensory information from the body to the brain. Similarly, a nerve pathway
my run downward from the brain to an organ or muscle carrying response or command information in relation to
that received by the initial sensory stimuli. An example of this process would be the response to putting one’s
foot on a hot surface.
Neuroleptics:- Another term to describe medications that treat
psychotic symptoms and particularly the effects of these drugs on the individual; their cognition and behaviour.
They may produce a state of apathy, lack of initiative and limited range of emotion. In psychotic patients,
neuroleptic drugs cause a reduction in confusion and agitation and tend to ‘normalise’ psychomotor
Neuron:- A nerve cell that sends and receives electrical signals
over long distances within the body. A neuron may send electrical output signals to muscles (called motor neurons)
and to other neurons. A neuron may receive electrical input signals from sensory cells (called sensory neurons) and
from other neurons. A neuron that simply signals another neuron is called an
Neurotransmitter:- A chemical that is released from a nerve cell
which thereby transmits an impulse from a nerve cell to another nerve, muscle, organ, or other tissue. A
neurotransmitter is a messenger of neurologic information from one cell to another. Seretonin, Dopamine,
Noradrenaline and Acetylcholine are examples of some of these neurotransmitters. Each has specific roles within the brain and in connection with specific areas
of activity in neurobiological processes. Alterations in their functioning, activity, levels etc. can be
manifested in a variety of mental health disorders and/or observable behaviours.
refers to a class of functional mental
disorder involving distress but not delusions of hallucinations, where behaviour is not outside socially
acceptable norms. It is known as psychoneurosis or neurotic disorder. Once a common psychiatric diagnosis, the term is now
regarded as lacking in objectivity and is no longer part of mainstream psychiatric terminology. It continues to
be employed in psychoanalytic theory and practice. There are many different specific forms of neurosis:
pyromania, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety neurosis, hysteria (in which anxiety may be discharged through
a physical symptom) and an endless variety of phobias. It can involve anxiety, sadness or depression, anger,
irritability, mental confusion, low sense of self-worth, etc. Behavioural symptoms such as phobic avoidance,
vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, lethargy, etc., cognitive problems such as unpleasant or disturbing
thoughts, repition of thoughts and obsession, habitual fantasizing, negativity and cynicism, etc.
Interpersonally, neurosis involves dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, schizoid isolation,
sociao-culturally inappropriate behaviours etc.
Noradrenaline:- Noradrenaline or norepinephrine has dual roles as a hormone and neurotransmitter.
As a stress hormone, norepinephrine affects parts of the brain where attention and responding actions are
controlled. Along with epinephrine, norepinephrine also underlies the fight-or-flight response, directly
increasing heart rate, triggering the release of glucose from energy stores, and increasing blood flow to
skeletal muscle. However, when norepinephrine acts as a drug it will increase blood pressure by its prominent
increasing effects on vascular tone. The resulting increase in vascular resistance triggers a compensatory
reflex that overcomes its direct stimulatory effects on the heart, which results in a drop in heart rate, known
as reflex bradycardia. Norepinephrine is released when a host of physiological changes are activated by a
stressful event. Norepinephrine may be used for the indications of ADHD, depression & hypotension.
Norepinephrine itself cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, so drugs such as amphetamines are necessary to
increase brain levels. Norepinephrine, along with dopamine, has come to be recognized as playing a large role in
attention and focus. For people with ADD/ADHD, psychostimulant medications such as Ritalin are prescribed to
help increase levels of norepinephrine and dopamine. Differences in the norepinephrine system are implicated in
depression. Seretonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are antidepressants that treat depression by
increasing the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine available to postsynaptic cells in the brain. Tricyclic
antidepressants increase norepinephrine activity as well. Most of them also increase serotonin activity, but
tend to have side effects due to the nonspecific activation of histamine and acetylcholine receptors. Side
effects such as tiredness & lethargy, increased hunger, dry mouth, and blurred vision. For this reason, they
have largely been replace by newer selective reuptake drugs such as prozac.
A standard or model or pattern regarded as
typical; “the current middle-class norm of two children per family”. Social norms have been defined as “the
rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. These rules
may be explicit or implicit. Norms are seen as central to the functioning of a society and to its social
Nursing…is rather self explanatory, though you need to be aware that there are different types &
levels of nurses. Some are Registered, though have no Mental Health endorsement (training/qualifications). Some
are enrolled nurses. The field is ever-expanding with the advent of Nurse Practitioners and Counselling provided
by Registered Nurses.
lobe:- An area of the brain located
at the back of the head. It receives and processes visual information.
(Oppositional Defiant Disorder):- A
childhood mental disorder characterized by a pattern of disobedient, hostile, and defiant behaviour toward
authority figures. To fit the diagnosis, the behaviour must persist for at least six months and occur more often
than might be expected for the child’s age and developmental stage, as some oppositional behaviour is to be
expected as a child grows. A child with ODD loses his temper easily and frequently, argues, is deliberately
annoying, blames others for his mistakes etc. One study found that 20% of children with ODD were also diagnosed
with bipolar disorder, while 45% of children with both ODD and Conduct Disorder also had bipolar
Therapist:- An ‘Occupational
Therapist’ assesses and provides therapy for those matters pertaining to lifestyle functioning. This may entail
someone’s capacity to carry out basic daily living activities and work requirements despite having an illness or
disability. They provide those with physical and mental impediments with the necessary skills and alternative
techniques to enable then to more successfully function.
An opioid is a chemical substance that has
a morphine-like action in the body. The main use is for pain relief. They include natural opioids (such as
morphine), semisynthetics (such as heroin) and synthetics with morphine-like action (such as codeine,
hydromorphone, methadone, oxycodone, meperidine, fentanyl). Whilst primarily for pain control, they are
Psychosis:- Psychosis arising from
‘organic’ (non-psychological) conditions is sometimes known as secondary
psychosis. It can be associated with the following pathologies:
- Neurological disorders, such as: Brain tumour, dementia with Lewy
bodies, multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, Lyme Disease, syphilis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s
- Electrolyte disorders, such as: Hypocalcemia, hypernatremia,
hyponatremia, hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia, hypermagnesenia, hypercalcemia,
Other organic conditions may include: hypoglycemia, lupus, AIDS, leprosy, malaria, adult-onset
vanishing white matter leukoencephalopathy, late-onset metachromatic leukodystrophy, cerebral involvement of
scleroderma, Hashimoto’s encephalopathy. Psychosis can even be caused by apparently innocuous ailments such as
influenza or mumps. Psychosis as a result of trauma to the brain (acquired brain injury- ABI) is also
An acute, intense rise in anxiety that is
experienced as overwhelming and accompanied by feelings of ompending doom. During a panic attack, one may
experience heart racing or pounding, shortness of breath, numbness or tingling, nausea, several other
physiological symptoms, and fear of dying or losing control of one’s mind.
A psychological disorder (or symptom of a
psychotic illness) characterized by delusions of persecution and grandeur; a developing pattern of unfounded
thoughts & fears, often based on misinterpretation of actual events. Individuals with paranoia may consider
themselves endowed with unique and superior abilities or may have the delusion that others are conspiring to do
Paraprofessional:- Individual who has been trained in mental health
services, but not at the professional level.
An apparent attempt at suicide, commonly
called a suicidal gesture, in which the aim is not death. It is sometimes called ‘deliberate self-harm’, when
someone mimics the act of suicide but does not end up killing themselves; for example, a sub-lethal drug
overdose or wrist-slash. Parasuicide is not the same as the people who injure themselves, and not to a degree
that is life-threatening. These people, who can also be classed under the heading of deliberate self-harm,
usually express other reasons for their actions. For example, some people deliberately cut themselves as they
feel this brings them some relief from strong feelings of anxiety or tension that they are feeling at the time.
Parasuicide is more common among women; particularly younger women under the age of 45, and more specifically
the ages of 15 and 25; the highest rates are found in divorced, single, or teenage wives, and is often linked to
being poor. Most cases of parasuicide are associated with mental health problems; particularly common ones are:
Depression, Alcoholism and Personality Disorder. Other related factors are likely to include: Relationship
Problems, Unemployment, Physical illness (particularly epilepsy), Mentally handicapped, Neglected or Abused by
Parents or family members, having a parent die when the individual is at a young age, Coping with a loved one’s
illness, being in trouble with the law. The most common method of suicide/parasuicide is taking an overdose of
drugs. These may be those prescribed by Doctors or common ‘across the counter’ pain-killers such as paracetamol.
Severe liver damage can result from panadol overdose. Parasuicide may be a genuine attempt by the person to kill
themselves, or it has been suggested that it can be ‘a cry for help’, the person feeling this is the only way
that their level of distress is recognized.
nervous system:- Division of the
nervous system that controls most of the basic metabolic functions essential for
Exceptional sensations, such as
lobe:- An area located in the
uppermost section of the brain. Important in processing information about temperature, taste, touch and
behaviour:- Indirect expression of
There are three (3) distinct meanings of
this word that are applicable in relation to mental health. These are: (1) of or relating to pathology (2)
Relating to or caused by disease & (3) Of, relating to, or manifesting behaviour that is habitual,
maladaptive, and compulsive; eg. “a pathological liar”.
Mental processes by which intellectual,
sensory, and emotional data are organized logically and meaningfully.
system:- Nerve fibres passing
between the central nervous system and the sense organs, muscles, and glands.
Personality can be defined as a dynamic and
organized set of characteristics possessed by a person that uniquely influences his or her cognitions,
motivations, and behaviour in various situations. The study of personality has a rich and varied history in
psychology, with an abundance of theoretical traditions. The major theories include dispositional (trait)
perspective, psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behaviourist and social learning perspective. There is no
concensus on the definition of “personality” in psychology. Trait
theories assert that personality traits are “enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking
about the environment and oneself that are exhibited in a wide range of social and personal experiences.
Type theories refer to the psychological classification of different
types of people. Personality types are distinguished from personality traits, which come in different levels of
degrees. According to type theories, for example, there are two types of people, introverts & extroverts.
Psychoanalytic theories explain human behaviour in terms of the
interaction of various components of personality. Sigmund Freud was the founder of this school of thought. He
divides personality into three (3) components: the ego, superego & the id. Behaviourist theories explain personality in terms of the effects external
stimuli have on behaviour. For example: a child cries because the child’s crying in the past has led to
attention. These are the ‘response’ and ‘consequences’. Behaviour is therefore reinforced by the response and as
a result continues in order to receive the response again. Social
cognitive theories explain behaviour as being guided by cognitions (eg. expectations) about the world,
especially those about other people. Cognitive theories are theories of personality that emphasize cognitive
processes such as thinking and judging.
dependence:- Type of drug
dependence involving withdrawal symptoms when drug is discontinued.
The change of brain structure or function
as the result of experience or practice.
principle:- A tendency to seek
immediate gratification of impulses and tension reduction.
abuse:- The pathological use of
more than one drug.
Taking of more than one drug at any given
symptoms:- Reflect an excess or
distortion of normal functions. Includes delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and grossly
disorganized or catatonic behaviour.
tomography (PET):- A noninvasive
procedure that maps brain structure and function by looking at the distribution of radioactively labeled
substances. PET scanning is used as a research tool in schizophrenia, cerebral palsy, and similar types of brain
Practitioners:- Similar to ‘Clinician’, though generally requiring
of more specialized training & education. A psychiatrist would be considered the number one (1) practitioner
in the field of Mental Health, though psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists & specialized
mental health nurses would also be considered ‘Practitioners’. In essence, they are those professionals who
‘practice’ or utilise their unique, qualified skills in their field of expertise.
cause:- The particular stress that
triggers a disorder.
To make more likely or render susceptible.
Smoking predisposes to a number of diseases such as lung cancer and emphysema.
Existing prior to the onset of a mental
Medication:- A prescription drug is
a licensed medicine that is regulated by legislation to require a prescription before it can be obtained. The
term is used to distinguish it from ‘over-the-counter’ drugs which can be obtained without a prescription.
Different jurisdictions, states, countries etc. have different definitions of what constitutes a prescription
Speech:- Forceful energy heard in a
manic individual’s frantic, jumbled speech as he or she struggles to keep pace with racing thoughts. Speech is
increased in amount, accelerated, and difficult or impossible to interrupt. Usually it is also loud and
emphatic. Frequently the person talks without any social stimulation and may continue to talk even though no one
First or foremost in time or development.
The primary teeth (baby teeth) are those that come first. Primary may also refer to symptoms or a disease to
which others are secondary or that follow.
Primary care is a term used for the
activity of a health care provider who acts as a ‘first point of consultation’ for all patients. Continuity of
care is also a key characteristic of primary care. It is an important form of health access for patients and
involves the widest scope of health care including all ages of patients, patients of all socioeconomic and
geographic origins, patients seeking to maintain optimum health and patients with multiple chronic
conditions designed to prevent occurrence of mental disorders.
An early or premonitory sign or symptom of
‘forecast (especially of course of
disease), pre-indication or prediction.
Diagnosis:- A ‘provisional
diagnosis’ refers to an initial probable diagnosis contingent upon additional information. It means the
professional person attempting to ‘diagnose’ is not 100% sure at the time and has postulated the ‘likely’
diagnosis. Sometimes referred to as a ‘working diagnosis’ or preliminary diagnosis. This is prior to further
investigations, history & assessments and the subsequent confirmed diagnosis.
‘Soul’, ‘Spirit’, ‘Mind’. In psychoanalysis
and other forms of ‘depth’ psychotherapy, the psyche refers to the forces in an individual that influence
thought, behaviour and personality. The word is borrowed from ancient Greek, and refers to the concept of the
self, encompassing the modern ideas of soul, self & mind. The ancient Greeks believed the soul or “psyche”
was responsible for behaviour. Sigmund Freud, the creator of psychoanalysis, believed the psyche was composed of
three (3) components:- the Id, Ego & Super-ego.
Psychiatrist:- Simply put, the Psychiatrist is the ‘top’ of the
‘pecking order’. They are the highly skilled & trained individuals who largely guide and direct treatment
undertaken. They are often referred to as the ‘Consultant’, much the same as in the medical arena. A
Psychiatrist is someone who has completed their medical degree and then specialized in the field of psychiatry.
As such, they have a complete understanding of both medicine & mental health. They can prescribe medication
and order treatments and generally tend to oversee the overall treatment of the client.
The medical specialty concerned with the
prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
Of psychological origin; originating in the
psychological functioning of the individual; physical conditions affected by psychological
Psychologist:- A Psychologist is a person who has completed a
university degree in psychology. This may seem obvious, though many people confuse a ‘psychologist’ with a
‘psychiatrist’. A psychiatrist is also a ‘doctor’, a psychologist is not. Psychologists are employed in many
areas of society such as; human resource organizations, big business, sport, health care facilities, schools
& in private practice. They provide counselling at different
levels, motivation for business & sport, understand the workings of the mind and the processes involved in
decision making, problem solving etc.
Involving both psychological and physical
agitation:- The constant movement
such as pacing, nail biting, smoking, foot or finger tapping to relieve tension.
retardation:- Slowing down of
psychological and physical activity; extremely slow and difficult movements that in the extreme can lead to
complete inactivity and incontinence.
In the general sense, a mental illness that
markedly interferes with a person’s capacity to meet life’s everyday demands. In a specific sense, it refers to
a thought disorder in which reality testing is grossly impaired. Psychosis can be, and often is, symptomatic of
other mental health disorders such as Schizophrenia & Bipolar Disorder. Individuals experiencing psychosis
may report hallucinations or delusional beliefs, and may exhibit personality changes and disorganized thinking.
This may be accompanied by unusual or bizarre behaviour, as well as difficulty with social interaction and
impairment in carrying out the activities of daily living. A wide variety of central nervous system diseases,
from both external poisons, and from internal physiologic illness, can produce symptoms of psychosis. The most
recent DSM lists 9 formal psychotic disorders, but many other disorders may have psychotic symptoms. The formal
psychotic disorders are: Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective disorder, Schizophreniform disorder, Brief psychotic
disorder, Delusional disorder, Shared psychotic disorder (Folie a deux), Substance induced psychosis, Psychosis
due to medical condition and Psychosis – not otherwise specified.
Pertaining to interpersonal interactions
and relations that influence the individual’s development and/or behaviour.
disorders:- Physical conditions,
which may involve actual tissue damage, resulting from continued emotional mobilization under
Psychotherapy:- The treatment of a behaviour disorder, mental illness, or any other condition by a
psychological means. Psychotherapy may utilize insight, persuasion, suggestion, reassurance and instruction so
that individuals may see themselves and their problems more realistically and have the desire to cope
effectively with them.
drugs:- Drugs that have an effect
on psychic function, behaviour or experience.
system:- Term applied to descending
motor pathways from the brain that provide the nerve supply to different muscle
Cycling:- A serious condition in
the cycles of Bipolar Disorder in which the individual quickly alters between symptoms of depression and mania
sometimes within minutes but at a minimum of four or more mood episodes per twelve month
Interpersonal relationship characteristic
by a spirit of cooperation, confidence, and harmony.
Psychosis:- Brief reactive
psychosis (also known as Brief Psychotic Disorder) is the psychiatric term for psychosis which can be triggered
by an extremely stressful event in the life of an individual. The disorder usually strikes people between ages
20 & 30. This ‘stressful life event’ can take many forms,
including (but not restricted to) the death of a loved one, professional loss such as unexpected redundancy or
otherwise becoming unemployed, or serious adverse changes in the person’s personal life, such as the breakdown
of their family through divorce, rape or sexual assault, violence directed at the individual, motor vehicle
trauma etc. It must be stressed that this is by no means an exhaustive list of stressful life events, because
the events that trigger brief reactive psychosis tend, due to the individualistic nature of human psychology, to
be extremely personalized. The disorder is NOT brought on by physical illness, and is not a reaction to drugs.
The condition usually spontaneously, or with treatment, resolves itself within two (2) weeks to one (1) month,
and the main goal of treatment is to prevent the individual from harming either themselves or others. The
illness usually begins abruptly with warning signs such as changes in eating & sleeping habits, energy level
or weight; confusion; inability to make decisions; hallucinations; delusions; ideas that do not connect or make
sense; repetitive actions; hours of immobility; strange statements
and behaviour. Victims’ reactions may not match the situation; for example, they may laugh at bad news, or they
may show no emotion at all. Often they stop socializing, going to work or school and caring for personal
A technique of changing the viewpoint of a
situation by replacing if with another viewpoint that puts the facts equally well but changes the entire
Nurse:- These are those people with whom the mentally unwell individual will probably have most
contact, particularly as an inpatient of any psychiatric unit & most community based programs. They
undertake three (3) years university training & one (1) year post graduate training in a hospital. It may
vary slightly from state to state, though this is certainly the case in Queensland. *nb. And yes, nurses can
also be males; in fact the numbers are increasing.
(mental health endorsed):- The
Registered ‘Mental Health Nurse’ is simply a Registered Nurse who has completed their University based ‘Masters
in Mental Health’. This equips them to more fully work at higher skilled levels within a mental health
Lack of acceptance of another person,
usually referring to such treatment of a child by the parents or parental
The process of becoming dysfunctional after
periods of stability.
A stage of sleep involving rapid eye
movements (REM), associated with dreaming.
Marked improvement or recovery appearing in
the course of a mental illness; may or may not be permanent.
The reabsorption of a secreted substance by
the cell that originally produced and secreted it. The process of reuptake for example, affects serotonin (one
of the major neurotransmitters).
Schizophrenia:- A functional disorder of psychotic depth characterized by Hallucinations & Delusions, with
deterioration in personal & social functioning.
A process to maximize safety to a
client/patient and others by which a client is placed alone in a specially designed room for protection and
cause:- Factor which contributes to
a mental illness but which in and of itself would not have produced it, as distinct from the Primary
Gain:- Those advantages a person
realizes from whatever symptoms he or she employs; Indirect benefit from symptoms. The external gain derived
from any illness, such as personal attention and service, monetary gains, disability benefits, and release from
prevention:- Prevention techniques
focusing on early detection and correction of maladaptive patterns within the context of the individual’s present life situation.
Sedatives/Anxiolytics/Hypnotics:- Applies to a group of drugs that treat anxiety,
agitation, sleeplessness/insomnia etc. by inducing sedation, a calmative effect, and with some types, sleep..
The primary group of drugs for these purposes is ‘benzodiazepines’, though barbiturates and certain
antidepressant medications might also be used for these effects as well as their primary aim of treating
Uncontrolled electrical activity in the
brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of
Disorders:- One of the great many
medical conditions that are characterized by episodes of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain
(seizures). Some seizure disorders are hereditary, but others are caused by birth defects or environmental
hazards, such as lead poisoning. Seizure disorders are more likely to develop in individuals who have other
neurological disorders, psychiatric conditions, or immune-system problems. In some cases, uncontrolled seizures
can cause brain damage, lowered intelligence, and permanent mental and physical impairment. Diagnosis is by
observation, neurological examination, electroencephalogram (EEG), and in some cases more advanced brain imaging
techniques. Treatment is usually by medication, although in difficult cases a special diet or brain surgery may
Actualisation:- Fulfillment of
one’s potentials as a human being.
The individual’s sense of his or her own
identity, worth, capabilities and limitations.
:-In psychology, self esteem reflects a
person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. Self esteem encompasses beliefs and emotions
and behaviour may also reflect self esteem. Psychologists usually regard self-esteem as an enduring personality
characteristic (trait self-esteem), though normal, short term variations (state self-esteem) occur. Other words
and phrases used synonymously with self-esteem include: self-worth, self-regard, self-respect, self-love,
self-integrity. It is distinct from self-confidence and self-efficacy, which involve beliefs about ability and
future performance. Implicit self-esteem refers to a person’s
disposition to evaluate themselves positively or negatively in a spontaneous, automatic, or unconscious manner.
It contrasts with explicit self-esteem, which entails more conscious
and reflective self-evaluation. Both explicit self-esteem and implicit self-esteem are subtypes of total
self-esteem. Some of the most interesting results of recent studies centre on the relationships between
bullying, violence and self-esteem. Where once it was assumed bullies acted violently toward others because they
suffered from low self-esteem, recent research now indicates that bullies act this way because they suffer from
‘unearned’ high self-esteem. High self esteem is controversial in its application in that it correlates or may
be interpreted as Narcissism or Antisocial Personality traits or disorder.
Harm:-Sometimes referred to as
‘self-injury’ or ‘parasuicide’, though the latter is more complex in nature and presentation and with additional
precautions & issues to be taken into consideration . Self-harm is deliberate infliction of tissue damage or
alteration to oneself without suicidal intent. Although the terms of self-harm refer to infliction of harm to
the body’s surface, the term self-harm may be used to include the harm inflicted on the body by those with
eating disorders. Self-injury is not typically suicidal behaviour, although there is the possibility that a
self-inflicted injury may result in life-threatening damage. Although the person may not recognize the
connection, self-injury often becomes a response to profound and overwhelming emotional pain that cannot be
resolved in a more functional way. The motivations for self-injury vary as it may be used to fulfill a number of
different functions. These functions include being utilized as a coping mechanism which provides temporary
relief of intense feelings such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotional numbness and a sense of failure or
self-loathing. There is a positive statistical correlation between self-injury and emotional abuse. Intense pain
can lead to the release of endorphins and so deliberate self-harm may become a means of seeking pleasure,
although in many cases self-injury becomes a means to manage pain, in contrast to the pain they may have
experienced through earlier abuse over which they had no control. Several fallacies exist with respect to
self-harm or self-injury and most people in society have either misguided ideas or find extreme difficulty
accepting this type of behaviour. The following is a brief list of general truisms with respect to self-injury
- It is not a series of failed suicide attempts – those who self injure do so
more to ‘cope’ than as a ‘way out’ – a means of dying. In that
way this myth is the worst as it gives the totally opposite meaning. It is true that many self-injurers
contemplate suicide as an extreme option. Many do suffer with the same kind of illnesses that htose who
commit suicide do. However self injury is not done with the intention to kill
- Self-injury is not pure attention seeking – while it may be right that those who do self
harm may ‘need’ attention, self injury must not be interpreted as a means of calling attention to oneself.
Those who self injure often do so in such secretive ways that those very close to them have no idea of
their problem. Interpreting self injury as attention seeking can only perpetuate the behaviour and make
things worse for the self harmer.
- Some self injury is minor – this does not mean that it is not serious – the severity of
the person’s feelings and reasons behind self harming cannot be determined by the severity of the physical
- Self injurers are not ‘crazy’ – while many people with psychological problems may self
injure, and self injury is sometimes accompanied by depression, the psychological problem of self harm does
not always accompany any other disorder. Self injury is a problem in its own right, and may be regarded by
those who have had no experience of it to be a sign of mental illness.
In medicine and physiology, sensation
refers to the registration of an incoming (afferent) nerve impulse in that part of the brain called the
sensorium, which is capable of such perception. Therefore, the awareness of a stimulus as a result of its
perception by sensory receptors. (Sensory here is synonymous with sensation).
In biology and medicine, the faculty of
sensory reception. The ability to convey specific types of external or internal stimuli to the brain and
perceive them. Sensory reception occurs through a process known as transduction in which stimuli are converted
into nerve impulses which are relayed to the brain.
deprivation:- Restriction of
sensory stimulation below the level required for normal functioning for the central nervous
Anxiety:- Intense fear sensory
stimulation below the level required for normal functioning of the central nervous
Serotonin is a hormone and monoamine
neurotransmitter found extensively in the gastrointestinal tract of animals, and about 80 to 90 % of the human
body’s total serotonin is located in the gut, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements. The remainder
is synthesized in serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system where it has various functions, including
control of appetite, mood and anger. Serotinin is not only found in animals, but also in fungi and plants
including fruits and vegetables. In humans it acts as both chemical messenger that transmits nerve signals
between nerve cells and causes blood vessels to narrow. Changes in the serotonin levels in the brain can alter
mood. For example, medications that affect the action of serotonin are used to treat depression. Serotinin plays
a major role in the sleep-wakefulness cycle as well as the biology of mood, emotion and other functions mediated
by the limbic system. It is involved in depression, euphoria and anxiety. Alcohol can affect the levels of
serotonin by increasing its release causing one to become sleepy. After excessive consumption of alcohol one may
‘pass out’ because of the high concentration of serotonin.
Memory:- (sometimes referred to as
“primary memory” or “active memory”) refers to the capacity for holding a small amount of information in mind in
an active, readily available state for a short period of time. The duration of short-term memory (when rehearsal
or active maintenance is prevented) is believed to be in the order of seconds. Estimates of short-term memory
capacity limits vary from about 4 to about 9 items, depending upon the experimental design used to estimate
capacity. In contrast, long-term memory indefinitely stores a seemingly unlimited amount of
information. The relationship between short-term memory and ‘working memory’ is described differently by various
theories, but it is generally acknowledged that the two concepts are distinct.
Problems that occur when treatment goes
beyond the desired effect; or, problems that occur in addition to the desired therapeutic
Sign (as in
Signs & symptoms are diagnostic tools
which help the assessor determine the condition of a patient or individual. The phrase can be defined as
“objective evidence of disease perceptible to the examining physician (sign) and subjective evidence of disease
perceived by the patient (symptom)”. In layman’s terms, “signs” are those things we can see, and “symptoms” are
those things the patient states. For example: Pain would be a symptom (you can’t see it, but the patient can
tell you that he/she has pain). Flinching or ‘guarding’ when touching a painful area would be a sign that the
patient is experiencing pain.
adaptation:- The ability to live
and express oneself according to society’s restrictions and cultural demands.
introversion:- A trait
characterized by shy, withdrawn, and inhibited behaviour.
Phobias:- These include phobias
related to social situations; fear of eating in front of others, fear of public
The façade the individual displays to
others as contrasted with the private self.
Socialisation:- The process by which a person acquires the values and impulse controls deemed appropriate by
his or her culture.
Worker:- Having a sound knowledge
of family dynamics, social, cultural and religious specifics is the domain of the Social Worker. They make
assessments of individuals & families with respect to their interactions with each other and the
environments in which they live and to which they are exposed. Their understanding and expertise contributes
significantly to the Multidisciplinary team in its efforts to complete the ‘puzzle’ of someone’s life. They also
provide invaluable assistance in the understanding and help with social needs such as employment, benefits,
family issues, legal matters etc.
A society is a population of humans
characterized by patterns of relationships between individuals that share a distinctive culture and
institutions. More broadly, a society is an economic, social and industrial infrastructure in which a varied
multitude of people or peoples are a part. It can also be defined as a group of people who occupy a particular
territory and speak a common language and share a common culture. Society is not stagnant, stationery or fixed;
it is, in effect, a living breathing organism in itself; forever developing, evolving and changing. The
multicultural diversity in societies has contributed to this evolution and has the capacity to enable those
within its boundaries to similarly evolve.
Socio-cultural:- Pertaining to broad social conditions that
influence the development and/or behaviour of individuals and groups.
status:- Position on broad social
and economic scale in community; determined largely by income and occupational
“Of the body, physical, bodily”. Somatic
preoccupation might be described as someone overly concerned with physical issues, be they illness related,
appearance related etc.
system:- The nervous system that controls the skin and the
A defence mechanism in which persons see
themselves or others as all good or all bad, without integrating the positive and negative qualities of self and
others into a whole. Often the person alternatively idealises and devalues the same
recovery:- Recovery from mental
illness without treatment or with minimal treatment.
medication):- Selective Seretonin
Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) are a group of antidepressant medications that block the reuptake of serotonin so
that there is more serotonin in the synaptic cleft, thus increasing neuronal activity and transmission between
neurons. SSRI’s are the most frequently prescribed antidepressants. They can be dangerous if mixed with other
drugs such as other antidepressants, illicit drugs, sometimes antihistamines, antibiotics and alcohol etc.
Withdrawal symptoms are experienced by about 25% of people who abruptly stop taking SSRIs. They include
dizziness, nausea, lethargy, headache. Prozac is one of the more popular and well known types of SSRIs; other
examples are sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), Effexor, mirtazapine (Remeron), citalopram (Cipramil) and
Drugs that tend to increase feelings of
alertness, reduce feelings of fatigue, and enable individuals to stay awake over sustained periods of
Forces from the outside world impinging on
the individual. Stress is a normal part of life that can help us learn & grow. Conversely, stress can cause
us significant problems.
Abuse:- There is no universally
accepted definition of substance abuse. One could assume it to be, however, the excessive use of a substance.
The act of causing one’s own death. Suicide
may be positive or negative and may be direct or indirect. Suicide is a positive act when one takes ones own
life. It is a negative act when one does not do what is necessary to escape death such as leaving a burning
building. Suicide is direct when one has the intention of causing ones own death, whether as the end to be
attained, or as a means to another end, as when a man kills himself to escape condemnation, disgrace, ruin etc.
Suicide is indirect (and not usually called suicide) when one does not desire it as a primary means, but when
one nevertheless commits an act which courts death, as in tending someone with a highly contagious and deadly
disease knowing that they may well succumb to the same illness.
ideation:- Thoughts a person has
regarding killing him or herself.
A term that encompasses thoughts, ideation,
plans, suicide attempts, and completed suicide.
(Freudian in origin) The ‘super-ego’, which
represents a person’s conscience and their internalization of societal norms and morality. The super-ego aims
for perfection. It comprises that organized part of the personality structure, mainly but not entirely
unconscious, that includes the individual’s ego ideals, spiritual goals, and the psychic agency (commonly
referred to as the “conscience”) that criticizes and prohibits his or her drives, fantasies, feelings and
actions. The super-ego works in contradiction to the id. It strives to act in a socially appropriate manner,
whereas the id just wants instant gratification. The super-ego controls our sense of right & wrong and
guilt. It helps us fit into society by getting us to act in socially acceptable ways. Freud’s theory implies
that the super-ego is a symbolic internalization of the father figure and cultural regulations. The super-ego
tends to stand in opposition to the desires of the id because of their conflicting objectives, and its
aggressiveness towards the ego. The super-ego acts as the conscience, maintaining our sense of morality and
proscription from taboos.
system:- Division of the nervous
system that is active in emergency conditions of extreme cold, violent effort, and
Any subjective evidence of disease.
Anxiety, lower back pain and fatigue are all symptoms. They are sensations only the individual can perceive. In
contrast, a sign is objective evidence of disease. A bloody nose is a sign. It is evident to the individual, the
doctor, the nurse and other observers.
The point of connection usually between two
(2) nerve cells. Specifically, a synapse is a specialized junction at which a nerve cell (a neuron) communicates
with a target cell. The neuron releases a chemical transmitter (a neurotransmitter) that diffuses across a small gap and activates specific specialized cells
called receptors situated on the target cell. The target cell may be another neuron, or a specialized region of
a muscle cell or secretory cell (a cell that can make and secrete a substance). Neurons can also communicate
through direct electrical connections (electrical synapses).
A set of signs & symptoms that tend to
occur together and which reflect the presence of a particular disease or and increased chance of developing a
Target Specific Mental
Health Care:- (also known as
‘Target group specific mental health care’). Mental health care has been traditionally managed and treated in
its entirety, particularly in ‘in-patient’ settings such as hospitals (including their community based
outpatient services). Whilst there are distinct
advantages to this approach such as access to skilled professional personnel and economic, budgetary efficiency
in the short term, the reality is that there is an ever burgeoning prevalence of mental health illnesses,
disorders and symptom manifestation. As such, existing resources are stretched and becoming less efficacious as
society’s demands increase. Primary preventative mental health care is an ardent and sincere method of averting
the dilemma of having to treat the ‘end result’ of mental health issues, though this too has its shortcomings.
Target specific mental health care aims to focus on specifics within the arena of mental health; be they age
related, illness related, geographically related, occupationally related etc. It accepts that while every
individual is unique, they also have commonalities in the various socioeconomic groups to which they belong. It
is these particular demographics and cultural/sub-cultural aspects that provide many of the issues that
precipitate or contribute to the many and varied bio-psycho-social problems encountered. Illness specific
treatment is also ‘target’ related. The delivery of optimum mental health care is best achieved through the
sustained and ‘focused ’therapeutic isolation of the specific
illness and its sufferers and providing treatment directly and clinically specific to that illness. The
variables in the decision as to which target is chosen is dependant upon the determination of the primary issues
pertaining to the individual presentation. Rugby league is a perfect example of how this might be addressed.
Constitutional predisposition to react in a
particular way to stimuli.
lobe:- The middle part of the
brain, located behind the ear. This area controls auditory receptive and our ability to process and understand
the meaning of the verbal message and our memory function.
techniques focusing on short-term hospitalization and intensive aftercare when emotional breakdown has occurred,
with the aim of returning the individual to community settings as soon as possible.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the
‘androgen’ group. In mammals, testosterone is primarily secreted in the testes of males and the ovaries of
females, although small amounts are also secreted by the adrenal glands. It is the principal male sex hormone
and an anabolic steroid. In men, testosterone plays a key role in health and well-being as well as in
osteoporosis. On average, an adult male body produces about 40 to 60 times more than a female, but females are,
from a behavioural perspective, more sensitive to the hormone. Factors affecting testosterone levels are:- *Loss
of status or dominance in men; *Mating and Marriage (via female Pheromones); * Implicit power motivation
predicts an increased testosterone release in men; * Aging reduces testosterone release; *Sleep (REM dream)
increases nocturnal testosterone levels; *Resistance training increase testosterone levels, however, in older
men, that increase can be avoided by protein ingestion.; *Zinc deficiency lowers testosterone levels but over
supplementation has no effect on serum testosterone. The most recent & reliable studies have shown that
testosterone does not cause prostate cancer, but that it can increase the rate of spread of any existing
prostate cancer. Recent studies have also shown its importance in maintaining cardiovascular health.
Testosterone administered to an athlete to improve performance is considered
An area of the brain that helps process
information from the senses and transmits it to other parts of the brain.
Relating to therapeutics, that part of
medicine concerned specifically with the treatment of disease. The therapeutic dose of a drug is the amount
needed to treat a disease.
A need for higher and higher doses of a
drug in order to achieve intoxication or the desired effect. A characteristic of substance dependence that may
be shown by the need for markedly increased amounts of the substance to achieve intoxication of the desired
effect, by markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance, or by adequate
functioning despite doses or blood levels of the substance that would be expected to produce significant
impairment in a casual user.
Antidepressants:- A group of
antidepressant drugs, such as amitriptyline, that contains three (3) fused benzene rings and that block the
reuptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin in the central nervous system, thus making more
of those substances available to act on receptors in the brain. Examples of Tricyclic Antidepressants are:
amitriptyline, clomipramine, adapin, doxepin, sinequan, tofranil, trimiprimine (surmontil), imavate, and
That part of the mind or mental functioning
of which the content is only rarely subject to awareness. It is a repository for date that have never been
conscious (primary repression) or that may have been conscious and are later repressed (secondary
depression:- A major depressive
episode that occurs without the manic phase that occurs in the classic form of bipolar