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Glossary

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health worker
A health professional with unique cultural knowledge, insights and skills to support the social and emotional well-being and mental health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
ACC
Accident Compensation Corporation, New Zealand.
acceptance and commitment therapy
A type of psychological treatment. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is based on mindfulness (being aware of the present moment). You are encouraged to accept negative thoughts and emotions and to think of them as passing through, and not defining you. It is used in different ways to treat stress, anxiety, personality disorders and schizophrenia.
acute
In medicine, describes a health problem that comes on suddenly, lasts for a short time and usually needs urgent care.
acute inpatient unit
A part of a hospital that provides short-term care for people who need treatment for severe illness.
addiction
A health disorder where you are unable to stop doing something that is causing harm to you or others. The most common addictions are to alcohol, tobacco, drugs and gambling.
ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. A mental health condition where a person has differences in the parts of the brain that control planning, organisation and focus.
ADHD mentoring
Specialised help for people living with ADHD. Usually involves help to add routines and structure to your daily life.
advance care plan
A formal plan that sets out your preferences for medical care when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Also called advance care directive.
agitation
Moving around a lot, being tense and irritable.
agoraphobia
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It's when someone is very fearful about certain situations, because they're afraid that they might have a panic attack, or something awful might happen to them. They then go out of their way to avoid these situations.
allied health
Health workers other than doctors, dentists and nurses. Includes psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and many others.
Alzheimer's disease
A disease that causes dementia. People with Alzheimer's disease have tangles and plaques on the nerves connecting brain cells.
anaesthetic
A drug that’s used to prevent pain during a medical procedure.
anorexia nervosa
An eating disorder. People with anorexia nervosa usually try to lose weight, and lose so much that they become very underweight. Most are also very concerned or distressed about their body shape and weight.
antidepressant medication
Medication used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. Antidepressants may also be used for obsessive compulsive disorder, phobias or post-traumatic stress disorder.
antipsychotic medication
Medication used to treat hallucinations and delusions, anxiety, agitation and problems with mood, thinking and socialising.
anxiety disorder
An anxiety disorder is where your anxiety gets out of control and starts to affect your life.
anxiolytic
Medication used to reduce anxiety and help with sleep.
Asperger’s syndrome
A condition now considered part of the autism spectrum. See autism.
autism
A developmental condition. Also called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). People with autism have problems with communication, repetitive behaviour and sensory issues.
avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
An eating disorder. People with ARFID have food phobias and avoid some foods, although they are not worried about their body shape and weight.