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Glossary of Terms

February 15th, 2010

Index of Acronyms


AC before meals                                                PO by mouth

C with                                                                 PRN as needed

CC cubic centimeter; 10cc=1tsp                    Q every such as: Q2hours

HS   hour of sleep; bedtime                           QID four times a day

MG milligram measure of medication         RX prescription

PC after meals                                                  TID three times a day

BID twice a day


antidepressants  (AD) medications used to treat depressive disorders; examples include Prozac, Paxil, Effexor

antipsychotics (AP) medications used to treat psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia; examples include Haldol, Risperdal, Zyprexa

anxiolytics ,antianxiety (AA) medications used to treat anxiety disorders such as panic disorder; examples include Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin

mood stabilizers (MS) medications used to treat bipolar disorders; examples include Depakote and lithium

stimulants a group of drugs that enhance brain activity.  Often used to treat attention deficit disorder


ADD attention deficit disorder

ADHD attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

ASD autism spectrum disorder

BAD bipolar affective disorder

BED behavior and emotional disorder

BP bipolar

BPD borderline personality disorder (also used for bipolar disorder)

BP-NOS bipolar not otherwise specified

DD developmental disorder delay

EOBP early onset bipolar disorder

FAS fetal alcohol syndrome

GAD generalized anxiety disorder

MDD major depressive disorder

MR mental retardation

NBD neurobiological brain disorder

OCD obsessive compulsive disorder

PDD pervasive developmental disorder

PTSD post traumatic stress disorder

RAD reactive attachment disorder

SAD seasonal affective disorder or separation anxiety disorder

SID sensory integration dysfunction

acute dystonia sustained muscle spasm or contraction sometimes seen as a side effect of antipsychotic medications

adjustment disorder refers to emotional symptoms, usually depression and anxiety, that arise due to a stressful event

anorexia nervosa a type of eating disorder in which the patient restricts food iV2.shtmle and exercises excessively due to distorted body image

Asperger's disorder (AS) impairment in social interaction and presence of repetitive, stereotyped behaviors in the absence of language delay

bulimia nervosa a type of eating disorder in which the patient binges, then uses self-induced vomiting or laxatives to purge afterwards

conduct disorder (CD) childhood disorder in which the child violates rules, destroys properties, lies, cheats, steals, or being cruel to animals and aggressive to other people

cyclothymic disorder fluctuation of moods involving numerous periods of hypomania symptoms alternating with periods of mild depressive symptoms

dipsomania refers to sleep disorders including primary insomnia, primary hypersomnia, narcolepsy, and circadian rhythm sleep disorder

dysthymia chronic low grade depression

encopresis a childhood elimination disorder in which the child involuntarily passes feces into his or her clothes or other inappropriate places

enuresis a childhood elimination disorder in which the child involuntarily passes urine into his or her bed or clothes

gender identity disorder strong desire to assume cross-gender identity (example: a boy dresses up in girls' clothes, prefers to play with girls, and insists that he is a girl)

oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) disobedient and hostile behavior towards authority figures

panic attack a transient period of intense fear, sweating, heart palpitations, feeling of choking, dying, or losing control

restless legs syndrome desire to move one's legs due to uncomfortable sensations

schizoaffective disorder symptoms of schizophrenia that exist concurrently with depressive, manic or both kinds of mood symptoms

separation anxiety (SAD)excessive anxiety and distress experienced by the child when he is  separated from home or his attached caregivers (usually the parent)

schizophrenia thought disorder characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior

seasonal affective disorder (SAD) a mood disorder characterized by depression occurring in the winter season when periods of daylight are shorter

selective mutism inability to speak in specific social situations when forced or expected, although there is no disturbance of speech at other times

stuttering speaking with involuntary disruption or blocking of speech caused by sound repetitions and prolongations, syllable or whole-word repetitions, or broken words

tardive dyskinesia (TD) involuntary movements of the tongue, jaw, arms, or trunk due to chronic use of antipsychotic medications

Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) a brain disorder characterized by repeated involuntary movements and uncontrollable vocal sounds called tics

trichotillomania one of the impulse control disorders in which the patient pulls out his or her hair repeatedly resulting in severe hair loss



CAT Scan Computer axial tomography          HX history

CBC complete blood count                             LOC level of care

DX diagnosis                                                     LTC long term care

EEG electroencephalogram                           MI mentally ill

ECG electrocardiogram                                  R/O rule out

EPS Extra pyramidal symptom                     RTC residential treatment center

FBA functional behavior assessment          TX treatment


acute refers to a physical or mental condition with sudden onset and short duration

affective relating to emotions and feelings

anhedonia inability to experience pleasure in things one used to find pleasurable; seen in depressed patient

ataxia loss of coordination of voluntary muscle movement (example: an ataxic gait)

auditory hallucinations perceptual disturbance when one hears voices or noises when no one else is around

aura a sensation that precedes a seizure

central nervous system (CNS) the brain and spinal cord

chronic refers to a physical or mental condition that has a long lasting course

cognition refers to mental processes such as thought and memory

cognitive see cognition

compulsion a feeling that one is obliged to perform a certain behavior; seen in obsessive-compulsive disorder

confidentiality refers to the privacy of personal, medical and psychiatric information, which a health care professional must protect under most, but not all, circumstances

coping efforts to manage stressful demands in one's environment

delusions persistent false beliefs that are clearly in contradiction to reality

denial a defense mechanism in which one avoids painful aspects of reality

depersonalization feeling detached from one's own body or mind

derealization perception that the world is unreal or strange

disorientation confusion about person, time or place, seen in delirium or dementia

displacement transferring of emotions from an unacceptable to an acceptable idea, person or object

dysarthria slurred or inarticulate speech

electroencephalogram (EEG)a recording of brain activity; often used to evaluate for presence of seizure activity

executive functioning brain functioning involving planning, organization, and problem solving

GAF global assessment of functioning, used to classify a person's current level of overall functioning

gender identity a sense of being male or female

grandiose delusion persistent false belief that one is special or has special powers, fame, or fortune

hallucination the perception of objects or events that have no basis in reality

histrionic a personality disorder in which a person is emotionally dramatic and exaggerated, attention seeking and always wants to be the center of attention

hyperacusis abnormally acute hearing or painful sensitivity to sounds

hypersomnia excessive sleepiness

hypomania milder form of mania

insomnia inability to fall asleep or stay asleep

IQ intelligent quotient; a measurement of intelligence and cognitive abilities by a number score

limbic system brain areas involved in emotion and motivation

mania seen in bipolar disorder, a period of time when the patient cannot sleep for days, talks fast and pressured, feels elevated and grandiose, and is easily distracted

mental retardation(MR) less than normal intellectual competence, IQ < 70

narcissistic a personality disorder in which a person has a strong need to be admired and is preoccupied with success, power, beauty, and/or self-importance

obsession an intrusive, recurrent thoughts or ideas

panic an episode of intense anxiety

paranoid delusion persistent false belief that one is being persecuted, framed, mistreated, or followed, or that someone else is out to get him/her

phobia an irrational fear of a certain object or situation

pica eating of non-nutritive substances such as ice or clay

Pharmacotherapy using medications to treat psychiatric disorders

prevalence the percentage of people in a population with a disease at a given time

projection a defense mechanism in which one transfers one's own thoughts or impulses to another individual

relapse recurrence of an illness or disease

psychosomatic physical symptoms caused by psychological factors

reliability consistency of study results from one time or situation to another

remission period when symptoms of a disease are abated

subconscious refers to mental processes (desires, motives, memories) outside of conscious awareness but can be accessible when needed

temperament an inborn predisposition toward a certain attitude, personality, way of thinking and dealing with the environment

tic involuntary motor movement or vocalization; may include repetitive eye blinking, head jerking, neck stretching, foot sV2.shtmling, or body twisting and bending

tolerance increasingly larger doses of drugs must be taken to achieve a particular effect

trait characteristic of an individual; for example, personality traits

visual hallucinations perceptual disturbance when one sees things that no one else sees

withdrawal symptoms psychological and physical symptoms that occur when one who is dependent on a drug suddenly stops taking it



BMP behavior management plan

OT occupational therapy

PT physical therapy

ST speech therapy

behavior modification changing behavior to obtain desirable results

biofeedback controlling bodily functions by using an instrument that monitors the function and signals changes

cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) changing one's thinking and behavior to achieve desired outcomes

cognitive therapy changing one's thinking to improve one's emotional functioning

dyslexia refers to a variety of reading disorders

eclectic using multiple types of therapeutic interventions and techniques in treating a patient

electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) shock therapy used to treat major depression not responsive to medications

group therapy therapy in a group setting, run by one or two therapists

pharmacotherapy using medications to treat psychiatric disorders

phototherapy using light to treat depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

psychotherapy techniques employed to treat cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, and psychological problems



BIP behavior intervention plan

CPS Child Protective Services

DHS Dept of Health and Human Services

ECP exceptional childrens’ program
EBD emotionally and behaviorally disturbed
ED emotionally disabled or emotionally disturbed

GT gifted and talented

IEP individualized education program

IQ intelligence quotient
LD learning disability or learning disabled

NV non verbal

SBH severely behaviorally handicapped

SPED special education

SS social services


DSM-IV Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition 

NAMI National Alliance of the Mentally Ill 

NIMH National Institute of Mental Health

PDOC psychiatrist                                         

PDR Physician's Desk Reference

PHOSP inpatient psychiatric unit                  

PMD primary medical doctor

SSI Supplemental Security Income                

TDOC therapist or psychologist

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