Glossary of Abbreviations and Terms

Glossary of abbreviations and terms
Glossary of abbreviations and terms


Antidepressants are medicines prescribed by your doctor that treat depression. They work to balance some of the natural chemicals in our brains. It may take several weeks for them to help. There are several types of antidepressants. You and your doctor may have to try a few different drugs or combinations of drugs before finding what works best for you.

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worry, and physical changes like increased blood pressure, sweating, trembling, dizziness, or rapid heartbeat. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns and may avoid certain situations as a result.

Bipolar Depression / Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Depression is a serious mental illness in which common emotions become intensely and often unpredictably magnified. Individuals with bipolar disorder can quickly swing from extremes of happiness, energy, and clarity to sadness, fatigue, and confusion. These shifts can be so devastating that individuals may attempt or commit suicide.

All people with bipolar disorder have manic episodes—abnormally elevated or irritable moods that last at least a week and impair functioning. But not all become depressed.

Clinical Care

The admission of care for the benefit of a patient through therapy in an outpatient or inpatient setting.


Depression is an illness that causes a person to feel sad and hopeless for much of the time. It is different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low energy.

Depression affects people of all ages and has often been shown to run in families. A person can have one or many episodes of depression in a lifetime. Each episode of depression makes a person more likely to have another episode of depression.

Most people who are depressed get better with medicine, counseling, or a combination of the two. Some people with depression may need to be hospitalized.


Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates thought, movement, and behavior.


Dysthymia sometimes referred to as mild chronic depression, is less severe and has fewer symptoms than major depression. With dysthymia, the depression symptoms can linger for a long period, often two years or longer.

Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERPT)

Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy (ERPT) is one form of cognitive-behavioral therapy in which an individual is gradually exposed to situations that bring on anxiety and progressively learns to decrease the compulsions they have used in the past to ease the anxiety associated with those situations.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

People with generalized anxiety disorder display excessive anxiety or worry for months and face several anxiety-related symptoms. People experience exaggerated worry and tension, often expecting the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. GAD is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least six months.


An inpatient is a patient who is admitted to a hospital or clinic that requires at least one overnight stay.

LEAP (Launching Emerging Adult Program)

The Launching Emerging Adult Program (LEAP) is an enhanced form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, with specific progressive modules added as appropriate to engage parents and young adults to work together and meet the developmental goals of young adulthood.

While the young adult will learn to manage anxiety through individual and group therapy, the parents and young adult are assisted in setting goals, communicating, and helping the families to let go, so they can take on and manage challenges independently. These treatments are informed by the knowledge that there will be inevitable setbacks and stumbling along the way.


Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and networks of sensory nerve cells called neurons. It is an interdisciplinary field, meaning that it integrates several disciplines, including psychology, biology, chemistry, and physics.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Once categorized as an anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder is also now categorized separately. Individuals have obsessions and compulsions, potentially spending hours a day with these thoughts. As a result, going to work or taking care of their families becomes impossible as they are consumed by thoughts and associated rituals.


An outpatient is a patient who receives treatment but is not admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Partial hospitalization also referred to as intensive day treatment, is a type of program used to treat mental illness and substance abuse. The patient continues to reside at home and commutes to a treatment center up to seven days a week to focus on the overall treatment. PHP is intended to avert or reduce inpatient hospitalization.


Phobias are persistent and irrational fears of specific objects, activities, or situations that lead to a compelling desire to avoid.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops in some people after extremely traumatic events, such as combat, crime, an accident, or natural disaster.


Psychiatry is the branch of medicine devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders. These include various abnormalities that are affective, behavioral, cognitive, and perceptual.


Psychopharmacology is the study of the effect of drugs on the mind and behavior, particularly in the context of developing treatments for mental disorders.


Psychotherapy is a general term for treating mental health problems by talking with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health provider.


Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness characterized by incoherent or illogical thoughts, bizarre behavior and speech, and delusions or hallucinations, such as hearing voices. Schizophrenia typically begins in early adulthood.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Any of a class of drugs that inhibit the reuptake of serotonin by neurons of the central nervous system and are primarily used in the treatment of depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety occurs in children, adolescents, and young adults who are afraid and anxious when they are not with a loved one or a trusted person. In children, this can lead to refusing to go to school.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is the strong fear of being judged by others and the resulting feeling of embarrassment. This fear can become so strong that it gets in the way of going to work or school or engaging in day-to-day activities.


The management and care of a patient to relieve symptoms, illness, or mental health condition.

Note: Some abbreviations have been adapted from the National Institutes of Mental Health, the Society for Neuroscience, and NIMH Health Topics.