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Common Psychiatric Terms & Definitions

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

he core symptoms of Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder include an inability to sustain attention and concentration, developmentally inappropriate levels of activity, distractibility, and impulsivity. Children with ADHD have functional impairment across multiple settings including home, school, and peer relationships. ADHD has also been shown to have long-term adverse effects on academic performance, vocational success, and social-emotional development. Children with ADHD experience an inability to sit still and pay attention in class and the negative consequences of such behavior. They experience peer rejection and engage in a broad array of disruptive behaviors. Their academic and social difficulties have far-reaching and long-term consequences. These children have higher injury rates. As they grow older, children with untreated ADHD, in combination with conduct disorders, experience drug abuse, antisocial behavior, and injuries of all sorts. For many individuals, the impact of ADHD continues into adulthood.

Anxiety

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 approximately 19 million American adults. 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.

Bipolar Disorder

A mood disorder sometimes called manic-depressive illness or manic-depression that characteristically involves cycles of depression and elation or mania. Sometimes the mood switches from high to low and back again are dramatic and rapid, but more often they are gradual and slow, and intervals of normal mood may occur between the high 'manic' and low 'depressive' phases of the condition. The symptoms of both the depressive and manic cycles may be severe and often lead to impaired functioning..

CHI/TBI – Closed Head Injury (CHI) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)e

CHI/TBI: A classic Closed Head Injury is one that occurs as the result of a motor vehicle crash. The abbreviations used are Closed head injury 'CHI' and Traumatic Brain Injury 'TBI': Traumatic brain injury is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. Recent data shows that, on average, approximately 1.7 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury annually. A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. The majority of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI. National TBI Estimates

Each year, an estimated 1.7 million people sustain a TBI annually. Of them:

  • 52,000 die
  • 275,000 are hospitalized, and
  • 1.365 million, nearly 80%, are treated and released from an emergency department.
  • TBI is a contributing factor to a third '30.5%' of all injury-related deaths in the United States.
  • About 75% of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild TBI.

*The number of people with TBI who are not seen in an emergency department or who receive no care is unknown. (Source: Center For Disease Control)

Depression

An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts, that affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with a depressive disease cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with depression.

Migraine Headaches

Migraines are usually periodic attacks of headaches on one or both sides of the head. Migraines may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity light or sound, dizziness, blurred vision, cognitive disturbances, and other symptoms. Treatments include therapies and medication.

Panic Attacks

A disorder characterized by sudden attacks of fear and panic. The episodes may resemble a heart attack. They may strike at any time and occur without a known reason but more frequently are triggered by specific events or thoughts, such as taking an elevator or driving. The attacks may be so terrifying that some people associate their attacks with the place they occurred and will refuse to go there again. Symptoms of panic attacks may include tachycardia 'rapid heartbeat,' chest pressure or pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, tingling, and anxiety. Hyperventilation, agitation, and withdrawal are common results.

Psychotherapy

The treatment of a behavior disorder, mental illness, or any other condition by psychological means. Psychotherapy may utilize insight, persuasion, suggestion, reassurance, and instruction so that patients may see themselves and their problems more realistically and have the desire to cope effectively with them.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Family members of victims also can develop the disorder. PTSD can occur in people of any age, including children and adolescents. More than twice as many women as men experience PTSD following exposure to trauma. Depression, alcohol or other substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with PTSD. The diagnosis of PTSD requires that one or more symptoms from each of the following categories be present for at least a month and that symptom or symptoms must seriously interfere with leading a normal life:

  • Reliving the event through upsetting thoughts, nightmares or flashbacks, or having very strong mental and physical reactions if something reminds the person of the event.
  • Avoiding activities, thoughts, feelings or conversations that remind the person of the event; feeling numb to one’s surroundings; or being unable to remember details of the event.
  • Having a loss of interest in important activities, feeling all alone, being unable to have normal emotions or feeling that there is nothing to look forward to in the future may also be experienced.
  • Feeling that one can never relax and must be on guard all the time to protect oneself, trouble sleeping, feeling irritable, overreacting when startled, angry outbursts or trouble concentrating.

Schizophrenia

One of several brain diseases whose symptoms that may include loss of personality 'flat affect,' agitation, catatonia, confusion, psychosis, unusual behavior, and withdrawal. The illness usually begins in early adulthood.

Suicidal Ideation

Suicidal ideation means wanting to take one's own life or thinking about suicide without actually making plans to commit suicide. However, the term suicidal ideation is often used more generally to refer to having the intent to commit suicide, including planning how it will be done. Suicidal ideation is one of the symptoms of both major depression and bipolar depression.

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