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What is Psychosocial Disability?

The NDIS describes psychosocial disability as "a term used to describe a disability that may arise from a mental health issue. Not everyone who has a mental health condition will have a psychosocial disability, but for people who do, it can be severe, longstanding and impact on their recovery.” This means that several types of mental health disorders have the potential to severely affect an individual’s independence and quality of life. Examples of psychosocial disabilities include:

  • anxiety

  • depression

  • psychoactive disorders

  • mood/personality disorders

Woman with anxiety and pschosocial disorder represented by scribbles drawn from her head

How Can A Psychosocial Disability Affect Physical Health?

Those who suffer from a severe psychosocial disability, particularly psychoactive disorders, have been noted to have a shorter lifespan by 20 years when compared to their peers. Psychosocial disorders have been linked to a drastically higher development rate of metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor for serious cardiometabolic disease. This phenomenon is due to both:

  1. Direct effect symptoms, such as stress and cardiovascular outcomes; and

  2. Severe side effects, from antipsychotic medications prescribed for certain conditions.

Side effects from antipsychotic medication are very diverse and can affect the cardiometabolic profile of an individual through both physiological mechanisms, such as an increase in appetite, as well as psychological symptoms, including apathy, brain fog, social withdrawal and lack of motivation. The above limitations pose a significant barrier to the self-management of the minimum physical activity levels recommended to mitigate the chances of chronic disease development.

How Can Exercise Reduce Symptoms and Improve Long-Term Health Outcomes?

The implementation of exercise for an individual with psychosocial disability yields significant benefits for both mental, as well as physiological symptoms. Exercise has been shown to counteract the negative cardiotoxic effects of psychosocial stress, which is crucial to reduce mortality rates for individuals with significant disabilities. Exercise is also an excellent tool for management of antipsychotic medication side effects due to its known effectiveness in reducing the development of metabolic syndrome and weight management.

Exercise interventions have been shown to increase an individual’s psychosocial profile with improvements in:

  • self-esteem

  • increased social interaction

  • quality of life

  • reduction in depression symptoms

  • reduction in anxiety symptoms

  • improvements in sleep quality

  • improvements in cognitive functioning.

Why Choose an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)?

The use of an AEP is recommended due to their experience/specialisation in chronic disease/disorder management, as well as their extensive education and training of these conditions. The development of a physical activity treatment plan for individuals suffering from psychosocial disability needs to be individualised. An AEP will take into account:

  • personal circumstance

  • evidence based practice

  • individual adherence

  • realistic goal setting and

  • development of self-efficacy. AEPs are the best qualified and experienced exercise professionals to deliver this form of individualised treatment.

NDIS Psychosocial Disability Support

At Full Circle Wellness, our accredited exercise physiologists are dedicated to helping NDIS clients with psychosocial disabilities improve their overall health and wellbeing. We understand that managing mental health conditions can be challenging, and exercise can be a powerful tool for managing symptoms and improving quality of life. Our team works closely with clients to develop personalised exercise programs that take into account their unique needs and limitations. We are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment where clients can feel comfortable and confident as they work towards their goals. Our NDIS clients appreciate our expertise and compassionate approach. We are here to support you every step of the way!

If you require further information, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us. You can reach us on 07 5456 1599, or alternatively, you can send us a message and we will respond as soon as possible.

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