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Neurological Conditions

... We know that neurological conditions can have a big impact on peoples' ability to do everyday things, which can impact our quality of life and emotional wellbeing ...

About Neurological Conditions

Neurological conditions are conditions that affect the nervous system (e.g., brain, spinal cord, nerves). Neurological conditions are relatively common. Some research indicates that about 1 in 6 people have a neurological condition and they become more common with increasing age. These conditions often lead to challenging neurological symptoms and require ongoing management.

There are many different types of neurological conditions. Some common neurological conditions are listed below:

Some Common Neurological Conditions

Epilepsy Multiple Sclerosis
Stroke Dystonia
Parkinson's disease Traumatic brain injury
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) Acquired brain injury
Cerebral Palsy Alzheimer's and other dementias
Hunting chorea Migraine
... and many, many more.

Impact of Neurological Conditions

Neurological Conditions can have profound impact on almost all areas of one’s lives and often cause significant challenges. For example, neurological conditions may affect energy levels, ability to think, concentrate, remember, or use our brains the way we would like. They can also affect how we move our bodies and how we sense the world around us. Additionally, neurological conditions often require demanding and sometimes intrusive treatments, which cause significant side effects and challenges themselves. Because of this, people with neurological conditions often struggle with poor wellbeing.

Our overall wellbeing is a broad term to describe our quality of life, health, and happiness. Two very important components of overall wellbeing, which are commonly impacted by a neurological condition are our:

1. Emotional Wellbeing (e.g., our ability to manage our emotions - stress, anxiety, low mood, grief, anger and depression), and;

2. Cognitive Wellbeing (e.g., our ability to problem solve, plan, concentrate and remember).

We know that about 1 in 5 Australians experience significant problems with emotional wellbeing every year. Many also struggle with their cognitive wellbeing. However, we also know that these problems are much more common in people with neurological conditions. For instance, there have been some estimates that around 1 in 2 Australians with a neurological condition will experience significant problems with their emotional and cognitive wellbeing at some stage.

Because of this some people think that poor wellbeing is inevitable part of having a neurological condition. This is very understandable. However, research tells us that this is not the case. Having a neurological condition can have a significant impact on our brains, lives and health. But, the good news is, research also tells us that it is possible to manage the impact of neurological conditions and maintain good overall wellbeing and quality of life, despite our problems. In particular, many people find having good information and learning several key skills for self-managing their neurological conditions and wellbeing can really help.

Symptoms of Poor Wellbeing in Neurological Conditions

Research tell us that there are 3 main types of symptoms that can affect everyone’s overall wellbeing and result in challenges. These include:

1. Thought Symptoms (i.e., how we think about things). This commonly includes negative or worried thoughts about ourselves, the world and the future. Doubts about our ability to cope and that we’d rather not be alive. Self-criticism, self-doubt and worry.

2. Physical Symptoms (i.e., what our bodies are doing). This commonly includes sleep difficulties, weight changes, pain, fatigue, tension, loss of mobility and endurance, low energy levels etc.

3. Behavioural Symptoms (i.e., things we do or don’t do): This commonly includes avoidance of all sorts of things, withdrawal from everyday activities, reduced physical and other activity levels and an underdoing-overdoing activity cycle.

But, we also know that Neurological Symptoms can be an additional challenge specific to people with neurological conditions. Some common and disabling Neurological Symptoms (i.e., those that impact the central nervous system) can include cognitive (e.g., inattention), speech (e.g., aphasia), movement (e.g., dystonia), and energy (e.g., fatigue) difficulties.

Because of this people with neurological conditions can experience even more challenges with their wellbeing. But, at the same time neurological symptoms can also affect our ability to manage challenges due to symptoms like slowed thinking, difficulties making decisions, depression and anxiety etc. For these reasons, we believe it is essential for people with neurological conditions to get good information and support around managing their wellbeing.

Management of Neurological Conditions

All neurological conditions are managed differently and it is important to maintain regular contact with a doctor to regularly assess and review the medical management of your neurological conditions. Maintaining a good working relationship with a doctor is essential to the management of all chronic health conditions.

Many people also find it crucial to learn how to best self-manage their neurological conditions and associated symptoms. This can involve lots of different things including significant lifestyle and dietary changes. It also often involves learning specific skills for managing the impact of neurological conditions on our lives and wellbeing – especially our emotional and cognitive wellbeing.

For further information about self-management options and assistance you can:

(a) Talk to your General Practitioner
(b) See another health professional to learn self-management strategies.
(c) Or, you can find out about our eCentreClinic Courses for neurological conditions.

We are currently offering the Wellbeing Neuro Course, which is specifically designed for adults with neurological conditions who want to learn how to limit the impact of their neurological conditions on their lives and their emotional and cognitive wellbeing. You can read more about this Course by clicking on the link below.

The Wellbeing Neuro Course