Mood Disorders including Depression
These are commonly experienced in our daily lives. Emotions dominated by sadness, feelings and thoughts about regret, failure and loss interest often result in an individual from functioning in a healthy and joyful manner. It ranges from those that may be a little down through to major depression, through to those that can suffer terribly from bipolar disorder. Importantly feeling sadness in your life does not mean that a person in “depressed” it simply means they are sad. For most people this will pass and their mood will pick up within a short period of time.
Anxiety disorder is a blanket term covering several different forms of anxieties, fears and phobias.
Clinical usage, “fear”, “anxiety” and “phobia” have distinct meanings, though the words are often used interchangeably in casual discourse to describe ubiquitous emotions. Clinically, a phobia is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM IV) as a “persistent or irrational fear.” Clinically, fear is defined as an emotional and physiological response to a recognized external threat. Anxiety is an unpleasant emotional state, the sources of which are less readily identified. Distinguishing among different anxiety disorders is important, since accurate diagnosis is more likely to result in effective treatment and a better prognosis. Surveys have shown as many as 30% of Australians may be affected by anxiety disorders.
Anxiety disorders are frequently accompanied by physiological symptoms that may lead to fatigue or even exhaustion. Clinical depression is frequently comormid with anxiety disorders.
Chronic Pain and Disability Adjustment
Pain is defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage. Pain can be classified as either “acute” or “chronic”. Acute pain is the most common reason why patients seek medical attention. Acute pain usually has a sudden onset and is associated with tissue damage or painful stimuli (e.g., headache, skinned knee, muscle aches, labor pain). Acute pain is often adaptive because it alerts us to the presence and location of tissue injury and corrects behavior that may be causing or contributing to it. It also reminds us when an injured body part, such as a back or knee, needs time to heal. Chronic pain, on the other hand, refers to the continuation of pain for greater than three months despite treatment and coping efforts by the individual. It has no protective role and is not necessarily associated with tissue damage as viewed from imaging techniques such as MRI or X-ray. Chronic pain can impact all areas of a person’s life and is often associated with functional, psychological and social problems. In addition, chronic pain can have a significant impact on a person’s family and friends.
Formerly referred to as Character Disorders, Personality Disorders are a class of mental disorders characterized by rigid and on-going patterns of feeling, thinking, and behavior. The underlying belief systems informing these patterns are referred to as “dysfunctional schemata”. The inflexibility and pervasiveness of these behavioral patterns often cause serious personal and social difficulties, as well as a general functional impairment.
Personality disorders are defined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as “an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the culture of the individual who exhibits it”. These patterns, as noted, are inflexible and pervasive across many situations, due in large part to the fact that such behavior is are consistent with the patterns and core beliefs of the individual and therefore, perceived to be appropriate by that individual. The onset of these patterns of behavior can typically be traced back to adolescence and childhood.