Psychological Terms & Their Meanings

Depression

Definition of Depression: feelings of severe despondency and dejection

Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Provided by: Psychiatry.org

Anxiety Disorder

Definition of Anxiety Disorder: A mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities

Anxiety is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling the worry
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

Provided by: NIMH.nih.gov (National Institute of Mental Health)

PTSD/Trauma

Definition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)   Not affect every traumatized person develops ongoing (chronic) or even short-term (acute) PTSD. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some experiences, like the sudden, unexpected death of a loved one, can also cause PTSD. Symptoms usually begin early, within 3 months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes they begin years afterward. Symptoms must last more than a month and be severe enough to interfere with relationships or work to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have symptoms that last much longer. In some people, the condition becomes chronic.

A doctor who has experience helping people with mental illnesses, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can diagnose PTSD.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:

  • At least one re-experiencing symptom
  • At least one avoidance symptom
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • At least two cognition and mood symptoms

Provided by: NIMH.nih.gov (National Institute of Mental Health)

Work or Career Related Stress

Definition of Work Related Stress: Work Related Stress (WRS) is stress caused or made worse by work. It simply refers to when a person perceives the work environment in such a way that his or her reaction involves feelings of an inability to cope. It may be caused by perceived/real pressures/deadlines/threats/anxieties within the working environment.

Work Related Stress Work Related Stress (WRS) is stress caused or made worse by work. It simply refers to when a person perceives the work environment in such a way that his or her reaction involves feelings of an inability to cope. It may be caused by perceived/real pressures/deadlines/threats/anxieties within the working environment.

Audits for hazards leading to stress have become more and more commonly integrated into health and safety systems generally. This owes partly to the fact that stress also has implications for Human Resource Management (HR), sickness absence management and occupational health generally.

People behave differently when under pressure:

  • Some people feel very threatened but keep it to themselves;
  • Others behave in very aggressive ways, without acknowledging that their behaviour is caused by stress;
  • Others react to the same issue in quite calm ways, feeling unthreatened and relaxed;
  • Others who are highly aware of their moods report that they are not very stressed by the issue, but enjoy its challenge;
  • Others have very low tolerance of any threats, and so find smaller, simpler demands made of them quite threatening and start feeling stressed as soon as these demands are made of them.

Provided by: Health & Safety Authority (PDF link)

Handling Long-term or Chronic Illness

Definition of Chronic Illness: A chronic illness is a condition that lasts for a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely, although some illnesses can be controlled or managed through lifestyle (diet and exercise) and certain medications.

Persons with chronic conditions are more likely to suffer from depression. The reverse is also true: the risk of developing some physical illnesses is higher in people with depression.

People with depression have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease, for example. Research also suggests that people with depression are at higher risk for osteoporosis relative to others. The reasons are not yet clear. One factor with some of these illnesses is that many people with depression may have less access to good medical care. They may have a harder time caring for their health, for example, seeking care, taking prescribed medication, eating well, and exercising.

Do not dismiss depression as a normal part of having a chronic illness. Effective treatment for depression is available and can help even if you have another medical illness or condition. If you or a loved one think you have depression, it is important to tell your healthcare provider and explore treatment options.

You should also inform the health care provider about all treatments or medications you are already receiving, including treatment for depression (prescribed medications and dietary supplements). Sharing information can help avoid problems with multiple medications interfering with each other. It also helps the provider stay informed about your overall health and treatment issues.

Provided by: NIMH.nih.gov (National Institute of Mental Health)

PDF Guide provided by: National Institute of Mental Health (PDF Guide)