[ Browse by Service Category : Disabilities and Health Conditions : Sub-Topics of Mental Illness/Emotional Disabilities (170) ]

Anxiety Disorders

Disorders that are characterized by persistent feelings of apprehension, worry, uneasiness or dread the source of which is frequently nonspecific or unknown to the individual which may be accompanied by restlessness, irritability, lack of concentration, difficulty sleeping, increased heart rate, shortness of breath and other physiological symptoms.

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Chronic/Severe Mental Illness

A number of mental or emotional conditions of a seriously debilitating nature which progress or do not respond positively to treatment over a period of time and which require adjustments on the part of the individual and his or her significant others, or long-term medication, to make daily functioning possible.

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Combat Stress

An expected and predictable reaction to combat experiences that is characterized by hyperstartle reactions (an exaggerated response to something like a loud noise), hypervigilance, problems concentrating, flashbacks, nightmares, sleep problems, depression, irritability and other difficulties that affect thought processes, emotions, behaviour and physical health. While they sound negative, some combat reactions are actually considered adaptive, notably hyperstartle and hypervigilance. Combat stress reaction is generally short-term and should not be confused with acute stress disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, or other long-term disorders attributable to combat stress, although any of these may commence as a combat stress reaction. Symptoms that continue for an extended period of time (weeks or months), become increasingly worse or include violent or self-destructive behaviour require immediate medical evaluation and assistance.

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Concurrent Disorder

A condition in which individuals have a diagnosed mental illness that interferes with their functioning in a substantial way in combination with a chemical dependency problem which aggravates their ability to become stabilized or recover.

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Disorders of Infancy/Childhood

Mental disorders that are generally diagnosed in infancy, childhood or adolescence and require treatment prior to the individual reaching adulthood.

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Dual Diagnosis

A condition in which individuals have a diagnosed mental illness which interferes with their functioning in a substantial way in combination with a developmental disability. This is the definition used in Ontario and Nova Scotia, for example, while in most of Canada, "Dual Diagnosis" has the same meaning as and is used interchangeably with "Concurrent Disorder" (YF-5000.1500).

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Eating Disorders

A condition that is characterized by a compulsive obsession with food or weight and an inability to accurately perceive one's physical appearance in which the individual may compulsively overeat, engage in eating binges which may or may not be followed by purging, refuse to eat or otherwise use food or the process of eating or not eating in a self-destructive manner.

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Impulse Control Disorders

Disorders that are characterized by the individual's inability to resist an impulse, drive or temptation to engage in behaviour that is harmful to the person or to others.

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Mood Disorders

Disorders that are characterized by disturbances of mood, i.e., a recurrent series of episodes in which the individual suffers from depression, excessive feelings of well-being or a combination of the two.

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Personality Disorders

Long-established and maladaptive personality traits that deviate markedly from the individual's culture; have resulted in significant impairments in personal, social or occupational functioning; or have caused suffering for the person and/or for others.

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Psychotic Disorders

Disorders that are characterized by psychogenic disturbances including delusions and/or hallucinations that are of such magnitude that there is personality disintegration and loss of contact with reality.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.


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