Navigating Change & Diagnosis
At times, trauma, transitions and medical diagnoses overlap.
This can feel confusing. Let's help you sort it out.
Treatments are available for trauma, transition, & psychological conditions
Counselling psychotherapy with a skilled clinician experienced in treating these conditions is immensely helpful.
Along with medication and behavioural interventions, counselling is the recommended treatment for these conditions listed below.
DISTRESSING LIFE EVENTS
Trauma is broadly defined as a deeply distressing or emotionally disturbing experience. Trauma is diagnosed based on symptoms, and the degree it negatively impacts thoughts, emotions, and overall quality of life.
• Motor vehicle incidents
• Death or injury to self or other
•All forms of assault, including:
• Sexual violence
• Domestic violence
• Intimate partner violence
• Natural disasters, etc.
For First Responders and Those in Caring Professions:
• Compassion Fatigue
• Vicarious Trauma
Intergenerational trauma acknowledges the lingering impact of war, famine, and violence on a family system, over generations. What is merely an unpleasant event for one person might be deeply traumatic to another. Especially heinous are the multiple traumas of colonization upon Indigenous people through institutions such as the residential school system.
Transitions are episodic and brief changes to psychological wellbeing, often stress-induced. At the heart of the matter is difficulty in coping, and a shortage of resiliency.
Transitions, when they induce stress, may result in an Adjustment Disorder diagnosis. Transitions can sometimes become traumatizing, but perhaps not become a diagnosable mental health condition. Your healthcare professional can best advise you.
Transitions can include:
Changes to Psychological Wellbeing:
• Acute stress
• Chronic stress
• Depression caused by: environment, job loss, etc.
• Chronic disease
• Cognitive deficits
• Existential fears
• Acute illness
• Chronic illness
• Chronic pain
• Palliative care
• Communication difficulties
• Financial stressors
• Intimacy and sexuality issues
• Sexual dysfunction
• End of long-term partnership
• Death of partner/spouse/family member
• Eldercare and Caregiving in general
• Palliative care, and end of life decisions
• Becoming a new parent
• Parenting challenges
Sexuality and Sexual Orientation:
• Coming out/exploring/questioning
• Sexual orientation
• Lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, queer, two spirit
Gender Identity / Transitions:
• Gender Identity
• Trans, transgender, genderqueer, intersex, nonbinary
Psychological disorders can cause major impairment in daily functioning, work, school, and virtually all aspects of living, including the quality of our interpersonal relationships.
With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, however, people can find relief from their symptoms and, through psychotherapy, learn new ways to better cope.
THE DSM: How MDs Diagnose and Treat Mental Health
The DSM is one of the most widely used systems for classifying mental disorders and provides standardized diagnostic criteria. A diangosis can be the first step in determining a treatment plan.
The following list includes some of the major categories of disorders described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The latest edition of the diagnostic manual was released in 2022.
• Intellectual Disability
• Global Developmental Delay
• Communication Disorders
• Autism Spectrum Disorder
• Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD)
Bipolar and Related Disorders:
• Depressive Episodes
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
• Social Anxiety Disorder
• Specific Phobias
• Panic Disorder
• Separation Anxiety Disorder
• Acute Stress Disorder
• Adjustment Disorders
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Reactive Attachment Disorder
• Dissociative Amnesia
• Dissociative Identity
• Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder
Somatic Symptom Disorders:
• Somatic Symptom Disorder
• Illness Anxiety Disorder
• Conversion Disorder
• Factitious Disorder
• Anorexia Nervosa
• Bulimia Nervosa
• Binge-Eating Disorder
• NarcolepsyInsomnia Disorder
•Breathing-Related Sleep Disorders
• Parasomnias, Restless Legs Syndrome
• Intermittent Explosive Disorder
• Conduct Disorder
• Oppositional Defiant Disorder
• Disruptive Mood Disregulation Disorder
• Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
• Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia) • Other or Unspecified Depressive Disorder • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD, PMS)
• Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder
• Depressive Disorder due to Other Medical Condition
• Alcohol-Related Disorders
• Cannabis-Related Disorders
• Inhalant-Use Disorders
• Stimulant Use disorder
• Tobacco Use Disorder
• Gambling Disorder
• Major and Mild Neurocognitive Disorders
• Paranoid Schizophrenia
• Catatonic Schizophrenia
• Residual Schizophrenia
• Disorganized Schizophrenia
• Undifferentiated Schizophrenia
• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
• Body-Dysmorphic Disorder
• Hoarding Disorder
• Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling Disorder)
• Excoriation Disorder (Skin Picking)
• Substance/Medication-Induced OCD
• OCD and Related Disorder due to onother Medical Condition
• Obsessive-Compulsive (OCDPD)