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Mental Health Glossary

Anxiety. Bipolar disorder. CBT.

Do these mental health terms sound familiar to you? You’ve probably heard them before, but do you understand what they mean? In this article, we’ll define common terms and explore what options are available to individuals dealing with mental health issues.

Mental Health Terms: The Basics

Before we dive into the specific terms, let’s start with some basics. Mental health is your emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects how you think, feel, and act daily.

It can also affect your work performance, relationships, and overall quality of life. Your mental well-being is as important as your physical health, and you shouldn’t ignore it.

Common Mental Health Terms

Now, let’s dive into some commonly used mental health terms.

  • Addiction: Addiction is a chronic disorder involving compulsive alcohol or drug use despite harmful consequences. Addiction can also refer to behaviours like gambling or excessive shopping.
  • Anxiety: Anxiety involves a feeling of unease, worry, or fear. Physical symptoms include sweating, trembling, and rapid heartbeat. Anxiety disorders are a group of conditions characterised by excessive and persistent anxiety.
  • Bipolar disorder: This is a mental health condition that involves extreme shifts in activity levels, mood, and energy. These shifts can range from manic episodes (elevated mood, increased energy) to depressive episodes (low mood, lack of energy).
  • Depression: Depression is a mood disorder involving persistent sadness, hopelessness, or lack of interest in activities. It can also lead to physical symptoms, like changes in appetite and sleep patterns.
  • Eating disorders: This is a group of conditions characterised by abnormal eating habits, including restricting food intake, binge eating, or purging behaviours. Examples include bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.
  • Schizophrenia: This is a serious mental disorder characterised by delusions, hallucinations, disorganised thinking or speech, and abnormal behaviours. It often requires long-term treatment with medication and therapy.
  • Self-harm: Self-harm refers to deliberate injury to yourself, often as a way to cope with emotional pain or distress. It can take many forms, including burning, cutting, or hitting.
  • Stress: Stress is a feeling of emotional and physical tension in response to external pressures or demands. While some stress is beneficial in small doses, chronic stress may negatively affect physical and mental health.
  • Trauma: Trauma refers to emotional and psychological responses to highly distressing or disturbing events, such as physical or sexual abuse, natural disasters, and car accidents. It can have lasting effects on your mental health and well-being.

Commonly Abbreviated Mental Health Conditions

Abbreviations streamline the communication of mental health conditions, facilitating efficient discussion and documentation.

Some prevalent abbreviations include:

  • ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder): This is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. It’s typically diagnosed in childhood and can persist into adulthood.
  • ASD (autism spectrum disorder): This is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by difficulties with social communication or interaction, as well as restricted and repetitive behaviours. Typically diagnosed in childhood, ASD can range from mild to severe.
  • BDD (body dysmorphic disorder): BDD is a mental health condition that involves an excessive preoccupation with perceived flaws in your appearance. This preoccupation can cause significant distress and may lead to behaviours like excessive grooming or seeking unnecessary medical procedures.
  • EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder): This is a disorder characterised by unstable moods, relationships, and self-image. It’s also commonly referred to as borderline personality disorder.
  • GAD (generalised anxiety disorder): GAD involves uncontrollable, excessive worry about various aspects of life, like work, relationships, or health. Physical symptoms like fatigue, muscle tension, and restlessness may also go with the anxiety.
  • OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder): This is a condition characterised by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. These behaviours can significantly affect daily functioning and may revolve around cleanliness, symmetry, or safety.
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder): PTSD can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event. Symptoms may include avoidance behaviours, changes in mood or behaviour, flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety.
  • SAD (seasonal affective disorder): This is a type of depressive disorder that occurs seasonally, typically during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight. Symptoms may include changes in mood, sleep patterns, and appetite.
  • SPD (social phobia disorder): SPD is a type of anxiety disorder characterised by fear and avoidance of social situations. People with SPD may have extreme self-consciousness and fear of others judging or rejecting them.
  • SUD (substance use disorder): This disorder involves the excessive and problematic use of alcohol or drugs. It can lead to various negative consequences, like health problems, relationship issues, and legal troubles.

How to Deal with Mental Health Problems

Mental health problems can be challenging to deal with, but there are many ways to manage and cope with them.

The first step is to seek help from a mental health provider, like a therapist or psychiatrist. They can provide an accurate mental health diagnosis and help you find a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Here are some commonly used treatments and therapies for mental health conditions.


A general practitioner or psychiatrist can prescribe medication to help manage symptoms. Medications may include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilisers, or antipsychotics. If you’re taking medication, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and inform them of any side effects or concerns.


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is another common treatment for mental health conditions. It involves speaking with a trained counsellor or therapist in a safe and supportive environment. You can attend individual therapy sessions or join a group session with others who may have similar experiences.

There are many types of psychotherapy, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT helps identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours.
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): DBT is a type of therapy combining elements of CBT with mindfulness techniques to help individuals manage intense emotions.
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a form of psychotherapy that involves the use of eye movements and other bilateral stimulation to help you work through traumatic experiences. A 2022 review highlighted three studies showing that EMDR improved symptoms of depression better than CBT in children, adolescents and adults.¹
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): IPT is a short-term therapy focused on improving relationships and communication skills.

Other Treatments and Alternative Therapies

In addition to medication and psychotherapy, there are alternative therapies that can help manage mental health conditions. These may include:

It’s important to explore various treatment options and find what works best for you. A combination of therapies may be most effective in managing symptoms. While these approaches may not work for everyone, they can provide added support and relief for those struggling with mental disorders.

Get Comprehensive Care at APN London

At APN London, we understand that mental health treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why we offer a variety of programmes and treatments to meet your needs, including:

  • 9x Fitness: 9x Fitness is a personalised training program combining physical movement and mindfulness techniques.
  • A Mental Health Day Programme: This six-week, small-group intensive day programme provides support and education to help you manage mental health challenges.
  • DTMS: Our DTMS sessions provide relief for depression, OCD, and more.³
  • Integrated treatment packages: Choose from three tailored treatment packages (Recovery, Wellness, and Lifestyle) that combine different therapies to address your needs.
  • Ketamine-assisted healing: This is a powerful tool in treating depression and other mood disorders. Our custom-curated programme and counselling sessions can help reverse chemical imbalances in the brain, leading to lasting relief.
  • Lifestyle psychiatry: Our programme provides a comprehensive, personalised recovery treatment plan focusing on lifestyle modifications, like nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management techniques.
  • Massage therapy: We offer massage therapy, which can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve overall well-being.
  • Nutritional therapy: Our nutritional therapy programme includes an in-depth consultation that addresses dietary deficiencies and provides a personalised nutrition plan to support your mental health.
  • Virtual therapy: We offer virtual therapy sessions with licensed therapists. These appointments provide a convenient, accessible way to receive support and treatment in the comfort of your own home.

Our team of experts includes psychiatrists, therapists, nutritionists, and personal trainers who work together to provide holistic, evidence-based, comprehensive care. We’re here to support you in achieving optimal mental wellness.

Contact us today at 0203 984 7699 or complete the online contact form to learn more about our programmes and how we can help you on your journey towards better mental health.


  1. Hudays A, Gallagher R, Hazazi A, Arishi A, Bahari G. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing versus Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(24):16836.
  2. Rhee TG, Shim SR, Popp J, Trikalinos T, Rosenheck R, Kellner C, Seiner S, Espinoza R, Forester B, McIntyre R. Efficacy and Safety of Ketamine-assisted Electroconvulsive Therapy in Major Depressive Episode: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis. Res Sq [Preprint]. 2023 Aug doi: 10.21203/ Update in: Mol Psychiatry. 2023 Dec 20; PMID: 37609159; PMCID: PMC10441463,
  3. Olga Laskov, Monika Klírová, Effects of deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) on cognition, Neuroscience Letters, Volume 755, 2021, 135906, ISSN 0304-3940,