Understanding the Depression Jargon

Understanding the jargon for depression

When your depression is first diagnosed, you are likely to have to learn a whole new vocabulary so that you will understand what your medical advisors are telling you. it will take time to absorb all the new information, but you will be surprised at how quickly you start to use these terms and how they no longer seem strange.

Anxiolytics – anti-anxiety drugs, also known as tranquilizers. Some types are addictive.

Behavioral Therapy – a program of exposing someone with a phobia to the source of fear in a series of gradual steps.

Bipolar Disorder – manic depression.

Cognitive Therapy – a talking therapy designed to identify and challenge negative thought patters.

Dopamine – a monoamine chemical in the brain associated with gaining pleasure.

ECT – electroconvulsive therapy is a treatment in which an electric current is passed through the brain to induce a short fit. It is used to treat severe recurrent depression.

Interpersonal Therapy – a talking therapy aimed at improving personal relationships and modifying a depressed person’s perceptions.

MAOIS – monoamine oxidase inhibitors are a family of anti-depressants that slows down the removal of monoamines by the enzyme monoamine exidase.

Melatonin – a hormone derived from serotonin. Raised levels, owing to lack of sunlight, may cause SAD.

Monoamines – a group of chemicals in the brain, which includes serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.

Neurotransmitters – chemicals involved in the transmission of nerve impulses; chemical messengers.

Noradrenaline – a monoamine chemical in the brain involved in regulating mood and energy.

Psychiatrist – medical doctor with an additional psychiatric qualification.

Psychosis – severe mental disorder in which contact with reality is extremely distorted.

Psychotherapy – various therapies designed to modify a depressed person’s feelings, views and ideas of self through sympathetic, directive discussion.

SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, a biological effect of low light levels in winter that causes depression.

Serotonin – a monoamine chemical in the brain that maintains normal patterns of appetite, sleep and sexual activity and is thought to influence mood. It is also called 5-hydroxytryptamine or 5HT.

SSRIs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a family of anti-depressants that raise serotonin levels in the brain. The best known are Prozac and Seroxat.

TCAs – tricyclic anti-depressant family that corrects a deficiency of monamines.

Unipolar Illness – classic depression.