People living with psychotic illness 2010

Appendix 21. Glossary

Page last updated: November 2011

  • Absolute five-year cardiovascular risk

    Absolute five-year cardiovascular risk was calculated using the Framingham risk equation. In line with National Vascular Disease Prevention Alliance guidelines for the assessment of absolute cardiovascular disease, high risk was assumed automatically for those with: pre-existing cardiovascular disease; diabetes and aged over 60 years; systolic blood pressure of 180 mmHg or more; diastolic blood pressure of 110 mmHg or more; or total serum cholesterol higher than 7.5 mmol/L. Other conditions covered in the guidelines could not be included as survey data were not available for them.

  • Accommodation: supported accommodation

    This is accommodation for people with mental illness who require high levels of daily support. This is provided 24 hours a day by mental health clinicians and support workers. It includes residential rehabilitation.

  • Accommodation: marginal

    Living in a caravan park due to financial necessity, not lifestyle choice.

  • Age group: older

    Aged 35 to 64 years.

  • Age group: younger

    Aged 18 to 34 years.

  • Alcohol/drug abuse

    The repeated use of alcohol or drugs (binging or on regular occasions) that results in consequences to physical and mental health as well as having possible social consequences. This includes: failure to fulfil role/function at work, school, or family life; experiencing feelings of guilt or remorseful after use; repeated risk taking behaviour and/or sustained injuries as a result of drinking/drug use.

  • Alcohol/drug dependence

    Refers to behavioural, cognitive and physiological phenomena that may develop after repeated use. This includes: a strong desire to use, often taking larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended; a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control use; withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued/cut down; persistent use despite knowledge of having a physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance. Top of page

  • Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test

    The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a internationally recognised questionnaire used to screen for excessive drinking and to help identify alcohol dependence and specific consequences of harmful drinking.

  • Antipsychotic medication: atypical

    This is a group of drugs used to treat symptoms of psychotic disorders. They are thought to be safer than typical antipsychotics, although still cause side effects including weight gain. This group includes clozapine, olanzapine and risperidone.

    Antipsychotic medication: typical Also known as first generation or conventional antipsychotics. This is a group of drugs first used to treat psychotic disorders. This group includes chlorpromazine, haloperidol and fluphenazine.

  • Anxiety

    Anxiety is characterised by physiological arousal (including increased blood pressure, heart rate, overbreathing), preparing for a "flight or fight" response. It becomes a disorder when it is out of keeping with the "threat" and causes distress to the individual and impacts negatively on day-to-day functioning.

  • Assertive case management

    Assertive community treatment is team-based intensive case management involving assertive outreach and an extended hours service. In assertive community treatment, regular mental health care is provided in the home by a team from the mental health services, with each clinician working with a small number of clients/consumers (typically 10).

  • Bipolar affective disorder

    Bipolar affective disorder is a disorder characterised by periods of elevated or irritable mood. In many cases these fluctuate with periods of depressed mood. Bipolar affective disorder has previously been termed 'manic depressive disorder'.

  • Body mass index

    The World Health Organisation body mass index reference range, widely used in Australia, has been used to classify overweight and obesity as follows: underweight (body mass index less than 18.5); normal (body mass index between 18.5 and 24.99); overweight (body mass index between 25.00 and 29.99); and obese (body mass index greater than or equal to 30.00).

  • Case manager

    A case manager is a specific person who is responsible for coordinating care, providing ongoing support, checking on medication and symptoms, and helping with crises.

  • Community rehabilitation and day therapy

    These are programs that assist people to improve their quality of life, participate in everyday living activities, and function as independently as possible in the community.

  • Continuous chronic illness

    In continuous, chronic disease, a person has persistent symptoms, no remissions and significant impairment in functioning.Top of page

  • Course of disorder

    Course of disorder refers to the way mental illness evolves over time. It reflects the number of periods of illness (episodes) and the recovery after each period of illness. Did the person recover their normal self, or were they still bothered by symptoms or a reduced ability to cope with everyday life?
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    Single episode: One episode only with no impairment.
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    Multiple episodes with good recovery in between: Several episodes with no or minimal impairment.
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    Multiple episodes with partial recover in between: Impairment after the first episode with subsequent exacerbation and no return to normality.
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    Continuous chronic illness without deterioration: Impairment increasing with each of several episodes and no return to normality.
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    Continuous chronic illness with deterioration: Continuous illness with exacerbations, no remissions, and significant impairment.

  • Days out of role

    This is the number of days over the four weeks prior to interview that participants were unable to fulfil their usual role due to physical or mental health problems.

  • Delusions

    A delusion is an impossible, incredible or patently false belief held with a basic and compelling subjective conviction, though the degree of certainty may fluctuate or be concealed. It is not susceptible, or only briefly to, modification by experience or evidence that contradicts it.

  • Dysphoria

    Persistent, unresponsive, and pervasive depressed mood.

  • Early intervention in psychosis program

    Specialised services for younger people, focusing on early detection and treatment of early symptoms of psychosis.

  • Elevated mood

    A feeling of intense, unnatural elation out of proportion to the circumstances or without reason that lasts for days on end.Top of page

  • Employment: competitive

    Employment in a mainstream setting, paid at award wages or above, and not in a setting designed to provide supported employment.

  • Employment: full-time

    35 or more hours of employment per week.

  • Employment: noncompetitive

    Employment in a supported employment setting, where the employer has accessed a wage subsidy or a supported wage scheme, or employment at a specialised service designed to assist people experiencing a disability to return to work.

  • Employment: part-time

    Less than 35 hours of employment per week.

  • Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence

    A test commonly used by health professionals to measure the intensity of nicotine dependence.

  • Hallucinations

    Person experiences perceptions (visual, auditory, olfactory, or other bodily sensations) without external stimuli when consciousness is clear, e.g. sees objects or people that others cannot see. It is experienced throughout the day for several days or intermittently for one week or longer.

  • Homelessness: primary

    Living on the streets, in parks, in deserted buildings, or in cars/vehicles.

  • Homelessness: secondary

    Living in temporary shelters such as refuges, emergency accommodation, night shelters or sleeping on a friend's couch.

  • Homelessness: tertiary

    Living in a boarding room.

  • Inpatient admission

    Admission for at least an overnight stay to any hospital.

  • Involuntary admission

    Admission to a hospital against a person's will, under a Mental Health Act or other legal order.

  • Irritability

    Irritability or irritable mood is a pervasive mood of excessive anger, impatience or over readiness to respond to minor annoyances. It is difficult to control, excessive and which lasts for days on end.

  • Loss of pleasure

    A persistent, pervasive, inability to enjoy things that would normally be enjoyed.Top of page

  • Metabolic syndrome

    Metabolic syndrome has been defined using the International Diabetes Federation metabolic syndrome consensus definition of at risk abdominal obesity based on waist circumference and at least two other at risk measures. The definitions of "at risk" for the individual components of metabolic syndrome are: waist circumference greater than or equal to 94 cm for males, greater than or equal to 80 cm for females; fasting high density lipoproteins less than 1.03mmol/L for males, less than 1.29mmol/L for females; fasting triglycerides greater than or equal to 1.7mmol/L; fasting plasma glucose greater than or equal to 5.6mmol/L; systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 130 mmHg; and diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 85 mmHg.

  • Multidimensional Scale of Independent Functioning: Overall global independent functioning

    Independent functioning is a rating of functioning, corrected for the level of support used and performance, relative to the community norm. It reflects an overall level of disability. Two people with the same level of disability but different levels of functioning may score the same if one is provided with more support. For example, adequate functioning with regular support is equivalent to functioning with some difficulty with no support.

    The overall global rating covers role performance at work (broadly defined to include paid and unpaid work, childcare and caring), in study and in the activities of daily living.

  • Multidimensional Scale of Independent Functioning: Overall global performance

    Performance rates participants' performance given the responsibilities dictated by their specific role and their level of disability irrespective of the level of support that they receive. Two people in the same role with the same level of disability may score differently if one is supported to better performance than the other.

    The overall global rating covers performance at work (broadly defined to include paid and unpaid work, childcare and caring), in study and in the activities of daily living.

  • Multidimensional Scale of Independent Functioning: Overall global support

    Support rates of the amount of assistance participants received in their specified roles or tasks. The frequency, quality and proximity of support, who provides this support (family, friends or professionals) and consequences if support was absent were all taken into account.

    The overall global rating covers support provided at work (broadly defined to include paid and unpaid work, childcare and caring), in study and in the activities of daily living.

  • Negative symptoms

    These include: a diminished sense of purpose, loss of interest in things, diminished emotional range or a reduction in the variety or intensity of emotions expressed, restricted affect indicated by reduced facial and vocal expression, poverty of speech, and impairment in socialising.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

    A disorder characterised by repeated thoughts, images or impulses that the person feels are inappropriate, and repetitive behaviours, such as hand-washing, designed to reduce the anxiety generated by the thoughts. Onset of illness The earliest age at which medical advice was sought for psychiatric reasons or at which symptoms began to cause subjective distress or impair functioning.

  • Outpatient contact

    An appointment at a clinic in a hospital, community health centre, or a private clinic, when the person was not an inpatient.Top of page

  • Passivity phenomena

    The experience that one's own thoughts, feelings, actions or sensations are not under conscious control, but are being controlled or imposed by an external power or agency.

  • Personal and Social Performance Scale

    The Personal and Social Performance Scale score is based on information gathered on level of functioning in social activities including work and study, relationships, self care and disturbing and aggressive behaviours.

  • Phobia

    Is a persistent fear of a situation (e.g. a social scenario) or "thing" (e.g. snakes) that causes undue anxiety and leads to an avoidance response.

  • Point prevalence

    The number of residents within a defined geographical area, aged between 18 and 64 years, who had made a contact with any treatment service (inpatient, emergency, outpatient or non-government organisation for mental health) during a one-month census period and were identified as having a psychotic disorder, per 1000 population in the same age range resident in the same area.

  • Poor concentration

    Inability to think clearly, make decisions, or give full attention to matters, which is a change from normal.

  • Premorbid social adjustment

    Social adjustment before onset of illness which includes ability to enter or maintain social relationships.

  • Premorbid work adjustment

    Work history before onset of illness which includes ability to keep a job for six months or more, sustain a job at their expected educational level, or keep up with studies if a student.

  • Psychosocial stressor

    Severely or moderately threatening event that is unlikely to have resulted from a person's own behaviour, for example, death of a family member or being a victim of crime.

  • Psychotic disorders

    A group of illnesses characterised by: delusions; hallucinations; disorganised thought, speech and non-verbal communication; and loss of motivation and planning ability. These disorders include, among others, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and delusional disorder.

  • Schizophrenia

    A disorder characterised by a distorted perception and interpretation of reality, involving delusions and hallucinations, disorders of logical thinking, and withdrawal from social interaction.

  • Severe depression with psychosis

    In severe depression with psychosis, also referred to as psychotic depression, people suffer from symptoms of severe depression (see below) as well as symptoms of psychosis such as hallucinations and delusions.

  • Severe depression without psychosis

    In severe depression without psychosis, also referred to as major depression, people suffer from a range of marked and distressing symptoms, which are present most days last for at least several weeks. These symptoms include depressed mood, loss of pleasure, poor concentration, sleep and appetite disturbances and ideas of guilt or worthlessness.

  • Social phobia

    A strong fear of social interaction or performance situations. People with social phobia avoid social situations in case of embarrassment or humiliation.

  • Subjective thought disorder

    This includes the abnormal experience by affected people of having thoughts that are not their own, of thoughts being inserted into their mind by some external agency, their own thoughts being directly accessible to others or thoughts being extracted from their mind.

  • Suicidal ideation

    Persistent, intrusive thoughts of wishing to be dead, or deliberate planning or actual attempts to take one's own life.
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