Glossary

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A

Acceptance and commitment therapy

A type of psychological treatment. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is based on mindfulness (being aware of the present moment). You are encouraged to accept negative thoughts and emotions, and to think of them as passing through, not defining you. It is used in different ways to treat stress, anxiety, personality disorders and schizophrenia.

Acute inpatient unit

A part of a hospital that provides short-term care for people who need treatment for severe illness.

Addiction

A health disorder where you are unable to stop doing something that is causing harm to you or others. The most common addictions are to alcohol, tobacco, drugs and gambling.

Anorexia nervosa

An eating disorder. People with anorexia nervosa usually try to lose weight, and lose so much that they become very underweight. Most are also very concerned or distressed about their body shape and weight.

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)

An eating disorder. People with ARFID have food phobias and avoid some foods, although they are not worried about their body shape and weight.

B

Binge-eating disorder

An eating disorder. People with binge-eating disorder regularly binge eat. Most are also very concerned about their weight and body shape.

Bulimia nervosa

An eating disorder. People with bulimia nervosa regularly binge eat, and then compensate by trying to control their weight in extreme ways, such as by purging or exercising.

Borderline personality disorder

A mental illness that makes it hard for a person to feel comfortable in themselves, causes problems controlling emotions and impulses and causes problems relating to other people.

C

CBT

Cognitive behavioral therapy. A psychological treatment that encourages you to challenge unhelpful thoughts.

Chronic

Lasting for a long time. In medicine it usually means an illness or condition lasting for more than 3 months.

Clinician

A health-care worker who has direct contact with patients.

Cognitive

To do with thinking, learning and remembering.

Compulsion

An irresistible urge to do something. In relation to OCD it could be a compulsion to clean, arrange things, say certain words or pray, for example.

D

DSM

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – a book published by the American Psychiatric Association. The manual is a classification system for mental illnesses and disorders. Mental health professionals use the DSM to help diagnose mental illnesses and disorders. The current edition is the 5th edition (known as DSM-5). The way illnesses are classified and diagnosed can often change between editions.

Diagnosis

An agreed name for a certain set of symptoms. A diagnosis allows doctors to plan treatment and let you know what you should expect. A diagnosis can change over time. It does not define a person.

Dietitian

A health professional who is a trained expert in healthy eating and nutrition.

Depression

A mental illness that makes a person feel sad or unable to enjoy anything for weeks at a time.

E

Eating disorder

Very unusual patterns of eating and exercising that severely interfere with a person’s everyday life. This can include eating extremely small amounts of food or eating in an uncontrolled way. The person may also be very distressed, anxious or worried about food, body weight and appearance. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

Exercise physiologist

A health professional who prescribes and provides exercise programs to help people with mental illness.

Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP)

A psychological treatment used for people with OCD. In ERP, you begin by making a list of activities that make you anxious. You order them on a scale, from easiest to most difficult. Then, starting at the easiest activity, you go ahead and do it, with the help of your therapist.

F

FODMAP

What is FODMAP? FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that the small intestine absorbs poorly.

G

Gut Health

Gut health refers to the absence of gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain or diarrhea, and disease (e.g. Inflammatory Bowel Disease.)

Generalized anxiety disorder

People with generalized anxiety disorder worry much of the time about all sorts of everyday things – to do with work, finances, health or family for example. They worry something terrible might happen, even if there's no real reason to think so.

H

Hypomania

A symptom of bipolar disorder. During an episode of hypomania, a person becomes much more active and energetic than normal. Hypomania is similar to mania, but less severe.

I

ICD

International Classification of Diseases – a book published by the World Health Organization. It is a classification system for mental illnesses and disorders. Mental health professionals use the ICD to help diagnose mental illnesses and disorders. The current edition is the 10th edition (known as ICD-10). The way illnesses are classified and diagnosed can often change between editions.

Impulsiveness

Doing things without thinking.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms that occur together, including repeated pain in your abdomen and changes in your bowel movements, which may be diarrhea, constipation, or both.

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M

Mood disorder

When your emotional state (mood) affects your life negatively. Examples of mood disorders are depression (low mood) and mania (elevated mood).

Mental Health Act

A set of rules about the assessment, treatment and control of people with mental illness. It sets out the rules for doctors as well as the rights of patients.

N

Nutrition

Nutrition is about eating a healthy and balanced diet. Food and drink provide the energy and nutrients you need to be healthy. Understanding these nutrition terms may make it easier for you to make better food choices.

Nutritionist

A person who helps people form healthy eating habits to improve health and prevent disease. They may provide nutritional counseling, meal planning, and nutrition education programs. Nutritionists may also look at how the environment affects the quality and safety of food and how it may affect health.

O

Occupational therapist

A health professional trained to help with getting you back to daily activities such as work, study, cooking and cleaning, transport and socializing. Some have extra training or experience in mental health.

Out of pocket expenses

Describes money you spend on a hospital stay or visit to a doctor, when the cost isn't fully covered by health insurance

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive compulsive disorder. A mental illness where a person has both obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted thoughts about, for example, dirt and disease, terrible things happening, violence, or religious themes. Compulsions are activities such as cleaning, checking, counting or praying.

P

Prenatal depression

A type of depression that affects new or expecting parents. Also called postnatal and prenatal depression.

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Referral

A referral is a formal letter from one health professional to another. It usually has information about your condition or symptoms and a specific request for assistance. This could be for a test, diagnosis, assessment or treatment.

Registered Dietitian

A health professional who has special training in diet and nutrition. Registered dietitians offer advice on nutrition and healthy eating habits to help people improve their health and well-being.

S

Symptom

A feeling or sign of illness.

Self-care

Taking care of your own physical and mental health. Could involve exercise, eating well, relaxing and doing things you enjoy.

Specialist

A doctor who has done extra training to become an expert in an area of medicine. Examples of specialists are psychiatrists (mental health), paediatricians (child health) and cardiologists (heart health).

T

Trigger

Something that brings back the feelings, thoughts and experiences of past trauma, or something that causes symptoms to re-occur.

Therapist

Someone who provides psychological treatments. There are many types of therapists, with different levels of training, skills and experience.

Telehealth

General term used to describe medical help or advice provided by videoconference.

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W

Withdrawal symptoms

Symptoms you get after stopping use of an addictive drug. They can include cravings, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, aches and pains, anxiety, insomnia, agitation and mood swings.

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