Resources: Understanding Your Diagnosis
At Horizon Neuropsychological Services, we understand that it can be an emotional experience for someone to receive a diagnosis. For some, it is liberating to finally be able to put words to what they have been observing, while for others, it may bring about feelings of sadness or uncertainty. Regardless of your place in this process, understanding your diagnosis is the first step in moving forward and helping you to become the best version of yourself in life.
It is our hope that you can use our website as a starting place in researching your diagnosis. By clicking the drop-down button next to each diagnosis, you will find a brief summary of the diagnostic criteria, links to resources, and a list of recommended readings or podcasts. If you do not see your diagnosis below, please contact our office so we can provide you with the appropriate resources and reading materials.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactvity Disorder
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is diagnosed when there are persistent issues with attention/focus that cannot be accounted for by another psychological and/or medical condition. Oftentimes, executive functioning challenges are also exhibited, such as difficulty with organizing, planning, and time management. Although not always present, some individuals also show fidgety behaviors, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior across school, work, and/or other areas of life. Although professionals can diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder at any age, symptoms generally start to appear in early childhood.
Mild or Major Neurocognitive Disorders
Neurocognitive Disorders (NCD) are a set of diagnoses used to describe a change in cognitive functioning that is above what would be expected for normal aging and that is not better accounted for by a psychiatric disorder and/or delirium. NCDs are categorized as either Mild or Major, depending on factors such as performance on neuropsychological testing and how much the changes in cognitive functioning are interfering with a person’s ability to live independently.
Mental Health Disorders
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): “A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior or mood. These conditions deeply impact day-to-day living and may also affect the ability to relate to others. If you have — or think you might have — a mental illness, the first thing you must know is that you are not alone. Mental health conditions are far more common than you think, mainly because people do not like to, or are scared to, talk about them.” Read more from NAMI on Mental Illness:Read More
“A mental health condition is not the result of one thing. Research suggests multiple, linking causes. Genetics, environment, and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible to traumatic life events. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.
None of this means that you are broken or that you, or your family, did something “wrong.” Mental illness is no one’s fault. And for many people, recovery — including meaningful roles in social life, school, and work — is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process.”
Depressive Disorders are a set of diagnoses characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and worthlessness, as well as a lack of desire to engage in formerly pleasurable activities. Most people experience brief periods of a “down” mood. However, a depressive disorder is more severe and persistent. It is a very serious condition that can significantly interfere with all aspects of daily life, including daily tasks, interpersonal relationships, work, sleep, and aspects of cognitive functioning (e.g., processing speed). Professionals can treat depression with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both (most effective).
Anxiety Disorders and Stressor-Related Disorders
Bipolar Disorders are a set of diagnoses that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity level, and concentration, which make it difficult to engage in daily tasks. Moods typically vacillate between periods of “highs,” such as feeling elated, irritable, or energized (known as manic episodes) to periods of “lows,” such as feelings of sadness, indifference, or hopelessness (known as depressive episodes). Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes.
Examples of mania and hypomania area generally the same, but vary in their degree of severity:
- Higher-than-normal energy levels
- Restlessness or inability to sit still
- Decreased need for sleep
- Increased self-esteem or confidence, or grandiosity
- Extremely talkative
- Racing thoughts
- New ideas and plans
- Easily distracted
- Taking on multiple projects with no way of finishing them
- Decreased inhibitions
- Increased sexual desire
- Engaging in risky behavior, such as having impulsive sex, gambling with life savings, or going on big spending sprees
*HNS does not endorse any specific treatments, procedures, or products referenced in our Resources pages. This information is intended for use as an educational resource and is not intended to serve as professional advice. You and your neuropsychologist will work together to better understand your specific symptoms and history to determine the most appropriate treatment plan moving forward.