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Glossary- List of Mental Health Terms


This might not be the full list of mental health terminologies, but it does have some of the commonly used and misinterpreted words in world of mental health. Check them out below.

Depression Articles

A - Check out the meaning of the terms related to depression and mental health starting from the letter A.


Acceptance: Taking the way things are as your starting point rather than pretending they are as you might wish them to be.

Accidental Suicide: When someone makes it look as if they are attempting suicide in order to get people to listen to them or pay attention to their needs, but they miscalculate and die.

Adjustment Disorder: Psychological difficulty in adapting to a different way of life, causing anxiety and/or depressive symptoms.

Affective Disorder: When someone experiences moods that are not appropriate to his or her circumstances, or which are inappropriately intense.

Anti-Depressants: Drugs whose main purpose is to remove symptoms of depression.

Acrophobia: fear of height.

Agrophobia: fear of open space.

Algophobia: fear of pain.

Astrophobia: fear of stroms.

Biochemicals: Natural chemical substances created by the body.

Bipolar Depression: A form of depressive illness where the person experiences periods of both abnormally high and abnormally low moods.

CFS: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (also thought to be similar to, or the same as, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME) often occurs after a viral infection. The sufferer becomes very tired and listless for no real reason. May last for months to years.

Circadian Rhythm: A biological pattern based on a daily cycle of about 24 hours, eg. sleeping and eating.

Clinical Depression: A low mood which is deeper than is normal and which continues for an abnormally long time.

Claustrophobia: fear of closed spaces.

Depressive Phase: Periods of low mood experienced by someone who has a bipolar disorder.

ECT: Electro-Convulsive Therapy is the administration of a controlled electric shock to the brain, usually to lift a depression.

Empowerment: Giving real power to the decisions made by people, usually in a work environment, i.e. people are not encouraged to make decisions only to have them over-ruled by someone higher-up.

Endogenous Depression: An old description of a depression due to and maintained by chemical changes from within the body and thus not able to be changed by thinking your way out of them.

Endorphins: the chemicals produced by the body which give a 'high' feeling. These are so called because they are a form of endogenous morphine i.e. a drug produced within the body itself which gives the person a 'high' similar to that produced by taking morphine.

Environmental Influences: Influences of other people or lifestyle or our way of living. Any influences which do not come from within ourselves.

Euphoria: A feeling of being on a 'high'. This is a common symptom of the manic phase of a bipolar depression.

False Belief: Beliefs held by depressed people, usually about themselves, which they believe and act on but which have absolutely no justification. Beliefs such as everything I do is wrong.

False Decision: When a person is 'talked into' a particular decision against their real wishes.

Family Suicide: When a parent with a depressive illness not only sees no future for him or herself but can see none for the children either, so takes the lives of the children too.

Genetic Influences: Those tendencies we are born with because they are inherited in our genes.

Helplessness: When you feel unable to influence what is happening in your own life, even though you feel you ought to be able to.

Hopelessness: When you feel there is no way out of your predicament.

Hormones: Chemicals released into the bloodstream by a particular gland or tissue that has specific effect on tissues elsewhere, eg the effect of oestrogen on reproductive system.

Haematophobia: fear of blood.

Immune System: A collection of cells and proteins that work to protect the body from potentially harmful infectious micro-organisms.

Insomnia: The inability to follow what is regarded as a normal sleep pattern.

Love: Accepting someone you care deeply for as they are and allowing them to live as they wish.

Mania: The 'high' phase of bipolar depression.

Manic: Describes a person in the 'high' phase of a bipolar depression. Someone who is abnormally high spirited and happy when conditions do not really warrant it.

Manic Depressive Psychosis: A bipolar depression in which the sufferer has phase of both 'downs' and 'ups' i.e. of both high and low mood.

Masked Depression: A depression which is not immediately obvious because the main symptoms are of something else, eg anxiety.

Mild Depression: The first stage of depressive illness where only a few symptoms are noticed. This stage may be overcome with self--help measures.

Moderate Depression: The second stage of depressive illness. The symptoms such as sleep problems and negative thoughts, are more intrusive. The sufferer may need help.

Mood Disorder: Any abnormal mood, be it abnormal happiness or sadness, when nothing has happened to justify it.

Mysophobia: fear of disease or contamination.

Monophobia: fear of being alone.

Neurotransmitter: A chemical released from nerve endings that transmit impulses from one nerve cell to another or to a muscle.

Nyctophobia: fear of darkness.

Personality State: The mood you are in. This may change depending upon circumstances, and is always a passing thing.

Personality Trait: A fairly permanent aspect of your personality which colors the way you interpret what goes on around you eg whether you are a pessimist or an optimist.

Pathophobia: fear of disease.

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

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