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The content of Moodletter is for informational purposes only. You should consult with your professional health care provider about your diagnosis and treatment.
Moodletter content may not be reprinted without express written permission and credit.
Hypo-what? Anti-this? Neuro-that? Tri-whatsis? Here's your guide to medical-speak in the mental health world.
Affect: Feeling or emotion, especially as manifested by facial expression or body language.
Mental health care that emphasizes the interrelationship between mind,
body, and spirit. Although some alternative approaches have a long history,
many remain controversial.
Anticonvulsant: Alternative therapy for bipolar disorder. It is as effective in non-rapid-cycling bipolar disorder as lithium and appears to be superior to lithium in rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.
Antidepressant medications: Antidepressants take away or reduce the symptoms of depression and help depressed people feel the way they did before they became depressed. See MAOs, SSRIs, Tricyclics and Classes of antidepressants.
Antimanic medications: Used to treat symptoms of mania in bipolar disorder.
Antipsychotic (neuroleptic) medications: Used to treat symptoms of a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia or certain stages of bipolar disorder.
Anxiety: An abnormal sense of fear, nervousness, and apprehension about something that might happen in the future.
Anxiety disorders: Any of a group of chronic disorders ranging from feelings of uneasiness to immobilizing bouts of terror. Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.
lack of energy and strength.
Biomedical Treatment: Treatment involving medication. The kind of medication a psychiatrist
prescribes varies with the disorder and the individual being treated.
Caregiver: A person who has special training to help people with mental health problems,
such as social workers, teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and mentors.
Chronic: Refers to a disease or condition that persists over a long period of time.
Therapy: Aims to identify and correct distorted thinking patterns
that can lead to feelings and behaviors that may be troublesome, self-defeating,
or self-destructive. The goal is to replace such thinking with a more
balanced view that, in turn, leads to more fulfilling and productive behavior.
Cyclothymia: A mood disorder characterized by periods of mild depression followed by
periods of normal or slightly elevated mood.
Disorder: A disturburbance or interruption of the normal structure or function of the body or mind that is manifested by a characteristic set of symptoms and signs.
Dose: A quantity to be administered at one time, such as a specified amount of medication.
Dually Diagnosed: A person who has both an alcohol or drug problem and an emotional/psychiatric problem is said to have a dual diagnosis.
Dysphoria, dysphoric: A negative mood state characterized by agitation, anger, impatience, anxiety or uneasiness.
Dysthymic disorder: A mood disorder characterized by depressed feeling, loss of interest or
pleasure in one's usual activities, and some of the following: altered
appetite, disturbed sleep patterns, lack of energy, poor concentration,
and feelings of hopelessness. Symptoms are less severe than those of major
Euphoria: A feeling of happiness, confidence, or well-being sometimes exaggerated in mood disorders as mania.
in the "normal" range, without manic or depressive symptoms.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): An anxiety disorder characterized by consistent feelings of anxiety for a period of at least six months and accompanied by symptoms such as fatigue, restlessness, irritability and sleep disturbance.
Generic: Standard practice and most state laws require that a generic drug be generically equivalent to its brand-name counterpart, with the same active ingredients, strength, and dosage form and have the same medical effect. Some drugs are protected by patents and supplied by only one company. When the patent expires, other manufacturers can produce its generic version.
Genetic: Inherited; passed from parents to offspring through genes.
Maintenance Organization (HMO): A health care model involving contracts
with physicians organized as a partnership, professional corporation,
or other association. The health plan compensates the medical group for
contracted services at a negotiated rate, and that group is responsible
for compensating its physicians and contracting with hospitals for care
of their patients.
HMO (Health Maintenance Organization): A type of managed care plan that acts as both insurer and provider of a comprehensive set of health care services to an enrolled population. Services are furnished through a network of providers.
Hallucination: The perception of something, such as a sound or visual image, that is not actually present other than in the mind.
Hypersomnia: Excessive sleepiness; prolonged nighttime sleep, difficulty staying awake during the day.
Hypomanic: A mild, nonpsychotic form of mania,
characterized by increased levels of energy, physical activity, and talkativeness.
MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors) were the first type of antidepressant in use.. Researchers believe MAOIs relieve depression by preventing the enzyme monoamine oxidase from metabolizing the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine in the brain. As a result, these levels remain high in the brain, boosting mood.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): An imaging technique that uses magnetic fields to take pictures of the structure of the brain.
of intense mental and physical hyperactivity, elevated mood, and agitation.
Manic-depression: See bipolar disorder.
Managed Care: An organized system for delivering comprehensive mental health services
that allows the managed care entity to determine what services will be
provided to an individual in return for a prearranged financial payment.
Generally, managed care controls health care costs and discourages unnecessary
hospitalization and overuse of specialists, and the health plan operates
under contract to a payer.
Mental illness: A health condition that changes a person's thinking, feelings, or behavior (or all three) and that causes the person distress and difficulty in functioning.
Mixed states: The occurrence of symptoms of mania and depression together. A person may feel sad and hopeless while at the same time feeling extremely energized. Also called dysphoric mania, mixed mania, or agitated depression
Mood disorders: Mental disorders whose essential feature is a disturbance of mood manifested as one or more episodes of mania, hypomania, depression, or some combination: Bipolar I and bipolar II disorders, cyclothymic disorder; major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder.
Mood stabilizer: Lithium and/or an anticonvulsant for
treatment of bipolar disorder, often combined with an antidepressant.
Research has shown that treatment with an antidepressant alone increases
the risk that the patient will switch to mania or hypomania, or develop
(OCD) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent thoughts, feelings, ideas or sensations (obsessions) or behaviors that makes a person feel driven to perform (compulsions).
Off-label use: Medications used for a different condition, different dosage, or other use not mentioned in the FDA-approved labeling. Off-label use is not prohibited by the FDA.
PPO (Preferred Provider Organization): A health plan in which consumers may
use any health care provider on a fee-for-service basis. Consumers will
be charged more for visiting providers outside of the PPO network than
for visiting providers in the network
Phobia: An intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Examples of phobias include fear of closed-in places, heights, escalators, tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, dogs, and injuries involving blood.
Primary care physician (PCP): Physicians with the following specialties: group practice, family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and pediatrics. The PCP is usually responsible for monitoring an individual's overall medical care and referring the individual to more specialized physicians for additional care.
Psychiatric/Psychotherapeutic/Psychotropic medications: Drugs which are used to treat the symptoms of mental illness.
Psychiatrist/psychologist/therapists: See Alphabet Soup
Psychosis: A serious mental disorder in which a person loses contact with reality and experiences hallucinations or delusions.
Psychotherapy: A treatment method for mental illness in which a mental health professional (psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor) and a patient discuss problems and feelings to find solutions. Psychotherapy can help individuals change their thought or behavior patterns or understand how past experiences affect current behaviors.
molecule that recognizes specific chemicals, including neurotransmitters
and hormones, and transmits the message into the cell on which the receptor
Relapse: The reoccurrence of symptoms of a disease.
Signs: Indications of illness which are observed by the examiner rather than reported by the patient.
Somnolence: Sleepiness, drowsiness.
SSRIs- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: A class of antidepressants that act within the brain to increase the amount of the neurotransmitter, serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT), in the synaptic gap by inhibiting its reuptake.
Stigma: A negative
stereotype about a group of people.
that indicates the presence of a disease.
Syndrome: A collection of physical signs and symptoms that, when occurring together, are characteristic of a specific condition.
TCA (Tricyclic) antidepressants: A class of antidepressant drugs first used in the 1950s. They are named after the drugs' molecular structure, which contains three rings of atoms Tricylic antidepressants are generally thought to work by inhibiting the re-uptake of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine, or serotonin by nerve cells.
Third party payer: A public or private organization that is responsible for the health care expenses of another entity.
gradually increase or decrease the dose of a drug; to raise drug dose
over time to target dose.
Page updated March 1, 2010