Psychological Consult - Glossary
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ADHD
A disorder of childhood and adolescence characterized by lack of impulse control, inattentiveness, inability to concentrate and hyperactivity. Also called attention deficit disorder (ADD). The existence of ADHD can also occur in adults.

Alzheimer's Disease
The most common form of dementia in older persons that affects many areas of cognitive function, particularly relating to memory loss. It is slowly progressive and significantly affects activities of daily living.

Aphasia
The loss of the ability to speak, or to understand written or spoken language. A person who cannot speak or understand language is said to be aphasic.

Bipolar Disorder (manic depression)
Where the individual has episodes of mania (or hypomania) alone or with depressive episodes at other times. Can occur as mixed episodes and with varying degrees of intensity.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters squared used as a practical marker to assess obesity or eating disorder.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)
Any abnormal condition characterized by dysfunction of the heart and blood vessels. CVD includes atherosclerosis (especially coronary heart disease which can lead to heart attacks), cerebrovascular disease pertaining to the brain (e.g., stroke), and hypertension (high blood pressure). Such conditions can lead to the occurrence of dementia and cognitive impairment as well as various psychosocial issues.

Cerebrovascular Disease
CVD pertaining to the brain, see above.

Clinical psychologist (registered)
Registered psychologists have 4 years' undergraduate study, followed by either 2 years of supervised experience with a registered psychologist or completion of a postgraduate clinical masters or doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Clinical psychologists (i.e. those who have completed the postgraduate clinical qualifications) also have to spend some time working under the supervision of another clinical psychologist. See also psychologist.

Cognition
The act or process of knowing or perceiving.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy
A system of psychotherapy based on the premise that distorted or dysfunctional thinking, which influences a person's mood or behavior, is common to all psycho social problems. The focus of therapy is to identify the distorted thinking and to replace it with more rational, adaptive thoughts and beliefs.

Coma
A state of prolonged unconsciousness in which a person cannot respond to spoken commands or mildly painful physical stimuli.

Co-Morbidity
Two or more diseases or conditions existing together in an individual.

Conduct Disorder
A type of disruptive behavior disorder of childhood and adolescence characterized by a persistent pattern of conduct in which rights of others or age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated, with misconduct including aggression to people or animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, and serious violations of rules; it is classified as childhood-onset or adolescent-onset depending on whether the behavior begins before or after the age of ten.

Counselling
Counselling encompasses a broad set of approaches and goals that are essentially aimed at helping an individual with problem solving - solving long-standing problems in the family or at work; or solving sudden major problems.

Delusion
A belief that is resistant to reason or contrary to actual fact. Common delusions include delusions of persecution, delusions about one's importance (sometimes called delusions of grandeur), or delusions of being controlled by others.

Dementia
A decline in a person's level of intellectual functioning. Dementia includes memory loss as well as difficulties with language, simple calculations, planning or decision-making, and motor (muscular movement) skills.

Dyslexia
Developmental dyslexia is the selective impairment of reading skills despite normal intelligence, sensory acuity, and instruction. Several perceptual studies have suggested that dyslexic subjects process visual information more slowly than normal subjects. Such visual abnormalities were reported to be found in more than 75% of the reading-disabled children tested. See also Reading Disability.

Dissociation
The splitting off of certain mental processes from conscious awareness. Specific symptoms of dissociation include feelings of unreality, depersonalization, and confusion about one's identity.

Electroencephalogram (EEG)
Electrical potentials generated from the brain that can be measured at the surface of the skull. Provides a direct measure of neural activity.

Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Typically, “emotional intelligence” is defined in terms of emotional empathy, attention to, and discrimination of, one's emotions, accurate recognition of one's own and others' moods, mood management or control over emotions, response with appropriate (adaptive) emotions and behaviors in various life situations, especially to stress and difficult situations, balancing of honest expression of emotions against courtesy, consideration, and respect (i.e., possession of good social skills and communication skills)

Epilepsy
Seizures are sudden alterations in behaviour or motor function caused by an electrical discharge from the brain. Most single seizures do not recur or require treatment. Seizures may be provoked by acute events including infection, head injury, chemical imbalance, stroke or brain tumor.

Executive Function
A cluster of high-order capacities, which include selective attention, behavioral planning and response inhibition, the manipulation of information in problem-solving tasks, and the regulation of behaviour.

Hallucination
A sensory experience, usually involving either sight or hearing, of something that does not exist outside the mind.

Illusion
A false visual perception of an object that others perceive correctly. A common example is the number of sightings of "UFOs" that turn out to be airplanes or weather balloons.

Learning Disability
A disorder in basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or use mathematical calculations. The term includes conditions such as perceptual disability, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI uses radio frequency waves to provide direct visualization and quantification of fat. The sharp image contrast of MRI allows clear separation of adipose tissue from surrounding, non lipid structures.

Mania
A high mood that is of distinct severity and where the individual is often psychotic (that is, with delusions and/or hallucinations).

Neurofeedback
More than any other part of our body, our brain, provided with ongoing information or feedback, can train itself. Neurofeedback (also called EEG or Electroencephalogram Biofeedback) is a non-invasive learning strategy, which provides information about a person's unique brainwave characteristics, while training them to change their brainwave patterns. Neurofeedback is used as a method of relaxation, and to address many health concerns, some of which include ADD/ADHD, pain management, mental health problems, seizures, and sleep disorders.

Neurology
Neurology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the central and peripheral nervous systems such as Alzheimer's Dementia.

Neuropsychology
The branch of psychology that deals with functional relationships between the nervous system, and cerebral or mental functions such as language, memory, attention and perception.

Obsession
Domination of thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, desire, or image.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder
A type of disruptive behavior disorder characterized by a recurrent pattern of defiant, hostile, disobedient, and negativistic behavior directed toward those in authority, including such actions as defying the requests or rules of adults, deliberately annoying others, arguing, spitefulness, and vindictiveness that occur much more frequently than would be expected on the basis of age and developmental stage.

Organic brain disorder
An organic brain disorder refers to impaired brain function due to damage or deterioration of brain tissue.

Overweight
An excess of body weight but not necessarily body fat; a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9.

Prevalence
The number of events, e.g., instances of a given disease or other condition, in a given population at a designated time.

Psychologists
Psychologists are specialists in human behaviour, development and functioning. They have expertise in conducting research and applying research findings in order to reduce distress, address behaviour and psychological problems, and to promote mental health and rational behaviour in individuals and groups.

Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is an extended treatment (months to years) in which a relationship is built up between the therapist and the patient. The relationship is then used to explore aspects of the person's past in great depth and to show how these have led to the current problems and difficulties. Understanding this link between past and present - insight - is thought to resolve the difficulties and make the person less vulnerable to maladaptive behaviours and mood problems.

Reading Disability
Reading disability, or dyslexia, is defined as a type of learning disability in which children fail to master the fundamentals of reading, such as letter recognition and sound blending. Such children should show adequate intelligence and educational opportunities meaning that the term reading disability does not refer to children who are dull, have had poor educational experiences, or have missed schooling. See also Dyslexia.

Seizure
A sudden attack or convulsion characterized by generalized muscle spasms and loss of consciousness.

Stroke
Sudden loss of function of part of the brain because of loss of blood flow. Stroke may be caused by a clot (thrombosis) or rupture (hemorrhage) of a blood vessel to the brain.

Touch Screen Technology
Touch screen technology is a new visual and computer aided device where the computer screen acts as an interface to the computer environment by simple touches to the screen. It provides very accurate recording of the timing and frequency of response.

Vascular Dementia
Dementia with a stepwise deteriorating course (a series of small strokes) and a patchy distribution of neurologic deficits (affecting some functions and not others) caused by cerebrovascular disease.

Working Memory
An active system for temporarily storing and manipulating information needed in the execution of complex cognitive tasks (e.g. learning, reasoning and comprehension).