Conditions we treat

A-Z guide of conditions and treatments

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We care for up to 800 patients and residents every day, across more than 25 hospitals and centres.

We treat people with a broad range of conditions. We hope this A-Z guide is useful.

If you have read this guide and are wondering whether or not we can help you or a loved one, please contact one of our centres directly – or email us at

Acquired brain injury

Brain damage caused by events after birth, therefore distinct from congenital injury (during pregnancy) or injury early in life resulting in a learning disability. Typical examples include: trauma, for example from a road traffic accident, fall or assault; anoxic brain injury, due to lack of oxygen to the brain caused by, for example, cardiac arrest, near drowning or carbon monoxide poisoning; hypoglycaemic brain injury, due to, for example, unstable diabetes mellitus; subarachnoid haemorrhage; brain tumour; encephalitis.

Anorexia nervosa

A disorder characterised by low weight, loss of growth in children and specific eating- and weight-related ideas and behaviours.

Asperger’s syndrome

Describes people at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. People with the condition show significant difficulties in social communication and interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests. Attachment Disorder A broad term that describes disorders of mood, behaviour and social relationships which arise from a failure to form normal attachments to primary care-giving figures in early childhood, resulting in problematic social expectations and behaviours.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

A condition in which an individual exhibits a long-standing pattern of difficulty paying attention to others, focusing, listening and following through; also characterised by physical restlessness and impulsiveness.

Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)

The autism spectrum, also called autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or autism spectrum conditions (ASC), encompasses a range of neuro-developmental conditions that affect social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. It can also be associated with intellectual disabilities. Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties The term covers a broad range of complex difficulties and is used to describe children and young people whose difficulties present a barrier to learning. Features include appearing withdrawn, having poor social skills, hyperactivity and being disruptive.

Binge eating disorder

An eating disorder involving uncontrolled eating of large amounts of food but without vomiting or laxative purging.

Bipolar disorder

A mental disorder characterised by episodes of mania (elated or irritable mood) and depression.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)

Psychological disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with defects in their appearance which are imagined or exaggerated.

Borderline personality disorder

A prolonged disturbance of personality characterised by impulsive actions, rapidly shifting moods and chaotic relationships. Often there is dependency, separation anxiety, unstable self-image, “black and white” thinking, chronic feelings of emptiness and threats of self-harm.

Bulimia nervosa

The activity of bingeing on large amounts of food, followed by self-induced vomiting.

Cerebral palsy

A loss or deficiency of motor control often with muscle rigidity caused by permanent brain damage present at birth.

Complex needs

A term used to describe children who have exceptional physical and mental healthcare needs. These might include profound impairments in learning and mental functions, communication, motor skills, hearing, vision and self-care.

Conduct disorder

A psychiatric category marked by a repeating pattern of behaviour wherein the rights of others or social norms are violated.

Down’s syndrome

A genetic disorder, affecting one in every 1,000 babies born in the UK, in which an individual inherits an extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional chromosome results in distinct physical and intellectual features.

Dual diagnosis

A term used to describe an individual suffering from a mental illness alongside a substance abuse problem, for example, depression and alcoholism.

Early onset psychosis

A severe mental illness, occurring at an early age, which interferes with an individual’s ability to perform activities of daily life. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusional beliefs, personality changes, social interaction difficulties and thought disorder.

Emerging personality disorder

In adolescence some teenagers have symptoms of personality disorder – e.g. self-harm, mood swings and outbursts of anger. If these problems are more problematic than might be considered normal, treatment might be needed to prevent them persisting into adulthood.


An acute inflammation of the brain caused by either a virus or bacterial infection. Symptoms include fever, headache, confusion and sometimes seizures. The patient is often left with cognitive impairment and memory problems and sometimes behavioural problems.

Huntington’s disease

A progressive neurodegenerative genetic disorder of the central nervous system. The illness typically develops between the age of 30 and 50 and early symptoms include uncontrollable muscular movements, loss of co-ordination, mood changes, memory lapses, depression and lack of concentration.

Hypoxic/anoxic brain injury

A brain injury caused by an interruption to the supply of oxygen to the brain.

Korsakoff’s syndrome

A neurological disorder caused by a lack of Vitamin B1 in the brain, which is commonly seen in patients after chronic alcohol abuse. The main symptoms are amnesia, confabulation (where invented memories are taken as true), lack of insight, apathy, paralysis of eye muscles, tremor and poor conversation.

Learning Disability

This is sometimes called an “intellectual disability”.  An individual with a learning disability has difficulties with everyday tasks such as communicating with others or understanding complicated information.  They often need support to develop new skills, to understand certain information and to mix with other people.


Mania is a state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal and energy levels. It is most often associated with bipolar disorder, where episodes of mania may alternate with episodes of major depression. Mania varies in intensity from mild (hypomania) to full-blown with psychotic features, including hallucinations, delusions, aggression and reckless behaviour.

Mood disorders

Mood is defined as the way an individual feels at a particular time. A mood disorder is a disturbance in an individual’s mood, resulting in lasting changes in behaviour and emotional state including sadness, irritability, anxiety and elation

Motor neurone disease

A progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks the motor neurones, in the body resulting in a wasting of muscles and subsequent loss of mobility and difficulties with speech, swallowing and breathing.

Multiple sclerosis

The result of damage to the myelin sheath which surrounds nerves in the central nervous system. Symptoms vary from individual to individual but might include difficulties with balance, dizziness, fatigue, visual difficulties, numbness or tingling, bladder and /or bowel problems, difficulties with memory and thinking, stiffness in muscles, emotional changes, tremor, speech and swallowing difficulties.

Narcissistic personality disorder

A disorder of adult personality characterised by unrealistic and grandiose sense of self-importance and worth, manipulation of others for personal benefit and a high need for levels of attention and praise from others.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

An anxiety-related condition, where individuals experience repetitive and intrusive thoughts and images that are difficult to ignore and which result in repetitive behaviours that can be time-consuming and emotionally distressing, for example, excessive hand-washing to avoid germs.

Oppositional defiance disorder (ODD)

A childhood psychiatric disorder with an ongoing pattern of disobedient and hostile childhood behaviour towards authority figures. Temper tantrums, negativism and blaming of others are symptoms of this condition.

Parkinson’s disease

A generative disorder of the central nervous system affecting movement and speech. Tremor is the most apparent and well-known symptom but other symptoms include joint stiffness, slowness of movement and speech and swallowing disturbances. Pervasive Refusal Syndrome Refusal to walk, talk or eat without a physical cause.

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

An anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a psychologically traumatic event, for example, a death, which persists for a long period of time. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, chronic irritability or anxiety and avoidance of triggers which remind of the event.

Psychotic disorders

A term given to severe mental disorders that cause abnormal thinking and perceptions. Individuals experience delusions and hallucinations and may show changes in personality.


A serious mental illness which affects thinking, feeling and behaviour which usually starts between the ages of 15 and 35 years. Symptoms include delusions, difficulty in concentrating, hallucinations and a feeling of being controlled.


Intentional injury of self without suicidal intent, including self-injury or self-poisoning. The most common form is skin cutting but other examples include burning, scratching and hair pulling.

Spina bifida

A developmental birth defect that affects the development of the spine and nervous system. It literally means “split” or “open” spine and occurs during pregnancy when the two sides of the embryos spine fail to join together, leaving a gap.

Spinal injury

An injury or trauma to the spinal cord resulting in reduced mobility or feeling.


A loss in brain function(s) due to a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. Early indications of a stroke include sudden-onset face weakness, arm drift and abnormal speech. Patients may be left with weakness in an arm or leg, language problems (dysphasia) or other cognitive impairments and behavioural and emotional problems.

Traumatic brain injury

A brain injury caused initially by trauma to the head.

Guidance & Advice

View our guides and factsheets on conditions we treat , and find link to other services.