Mental health jargon buster

November 3, 2018| Health and Wellbeing /

Understanding mental health better is critical to knowing how to improve it.

To empower people to make informed decisions about their own mental health and provide adequate support to others, we’ve busted some mental health jargon. Here are the key words and terms you should know:

Psychologist and psychiatrist

Both psychologists and psychiatrists provide treatment for people with mental health issues. However, one of the key differences between the two is that psychiatrists can prescribe medicine, admit patients to hospital and manage their overall care and treatment plan.


“Psychiatrists are medical specialists who practice in a variety of ways. Some focus on medications and some do talking therapy treatment, whereas clinical psychologists will just do psychotherapy or talking therapy.”

- Katrina, Senior Psychologist, Epworth Clinic

Epworth Clinic has both psychologists and psychiatrists on site to support patients and provide a range of treatments as well as other allied health professionals.


Bipolar

A term that you hear a lot in the mental health arena is bipolar, but what is it exactly? Bipolar is a chronic (persisting or recurring) condition characterised by extreme mood swings, including euphoric highs or manic episodes and intense depression that can hinder the operation of daily life. Bipolar can lead to poor self-care in other areas such as diet and hygiene, leaving sufferers isolated from society in many ways.


Antidepressants

Antidepressants are medications prescribed by psychiatrists to treat a range of mental health conditions. Antidepressants affect people differently and can be easily impacted by other factors like age, gender, allergies and consumption of other medications.


Medications

Medication used to treat mental health conditions might include mood stabilisers, anti-psychotic drugs or antidepressants, and are most often prescribed in conjunction with psychological treatment. Maya Zerman, the Director of Strategy and Operations at Epworth Clinic, adds that people tend to get better results from a combined approach.

If you do need medications or antidepressants, it’s always useful to try and explore the issues underlying some of the symptoms you’re experiencing by engaging in talking therapies. In fact, some symptoms will improve with the mixture of medications alongside therapy. People often don’t realise that the more ways you approach what’s going on their more likely you are to be targeting it in a holistic way Then it’s about deciding what the right talking therapy is for you. At Epworth, we favour group therapy.
— Maya Zerman, Director of Strategy and Operations, Epworth HealthCare

Therapies and stimulation

In the treatment of mental health conditions, a variety of therapies and other interventions can be applied. Here are two examples of these treatment types.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Using discussion and self-talk as key strategies, CBT aims to positively modify a patient’s cognition and behaviour. CBT is often used as part of treatment for mental health conditions as diverse as depression, anxiety, addiction, relationship breakdowns and insomnia.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

ECT is the process of running a controlled electric current through the brain to try and change its activity. It’s a form of neurostimulation (acting on the body’s nervous system) and can be used to treat a range of psychiatric conditions. For some patients, ECT can be used in conjunction with medication. For others, it is more effective than medication. The application of ECT should always be discussed at length with a psychiatrist.


Recovery Care Plans

Recovery care plans are created with patients to set achievable goals and actions towards better mental health. These are holistic and inclusive treatment plans for people with mental health conditions.

Additionally, Epworth provides individualised patient care that ranges from day programs. Our clinic specialises in helping patients improve their mental wellbeing through community treatment and skill-building. Ask your doctor for a referral.

If you need immediate care, have thoughts of self-harm or are worried about someone you know, then contact a crisis support service like Lifeline (13 11 14), beyondblue (1300 224 636) or headspace (1800 650 890). Always call 000 in an emergency.



Izzy Tolhurst

Contributor

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