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A - L

A&E Accident and emergency
Acronym Written and pronounced as one word, an acronym is made up of the first letters in a group of words.
AD Advance directive
ADD Attention deficit disorder
ADHD Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder
Addiction A strong, habit forming, and usually harmful physical or mental need for a substance or sensation. 
Advocate A person who represents the interests of another person or cause.
Agoraphobia An anxiety disorder characterised by fear and/or panic in the face of perceived danger or severe discomfort in an environment or situation
Alternative therapies Systems or treatment types that are not included in the list of those commonly used by any one country or area.
Alzheimers Progressive deterioration of mental capacity, often identified with memory loss but also affecting language and thinking.
Analgesic A pain-reliever
Antibiotic A medicine that fights bacterial infection
Anorexia Nervosa An eating disorder where a person is driven to reach the lowest possible body weight.
Anti-depressant A medication that treats diagnosed depression
Anti-inflamatory A medication used to reduce certain signs of inflammation, as swelling, tenderness, fever, and paindepression
Anti-psychotic A medication used in the treatment of psychosis, especially schizophrenia, and acute or severe states of mania, depression, or paranoia.
Anxiety Click here for information
Anxiety attack A sudden-onset episode of severe and debilitating anxiety that often presents with symptoms such as tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing. Triggers vary from person to person and may at times seem unrational to others looking on.
Approved social worker Approved social worker
ASIST A course - Applied suicide intervention skills training
Aspergers A developmental disorder characterized by severely impaired social skills, repetitive behaviors, and often, a narrow set of interests, but not involving delayed development of linguistic and cognitive abilities: now considered one of the autism spectrum disorders.
ASD Autistic spectrum disorder
ASW Approved social worker
Atypical Beyond the range that is considered typical
Autism An autism spectrum disorder that is usually characterised by social interaction difficulties and non-verbal communication.


Baby blues A colloquial terms for a period of depression  in a woman that follows the birth of her child
BAD Bipolar affective disorder
Bamford review (2002-2011) Bamford review of Mental health and learning disability (NI)
BDD Body dysmorphic disorder
Benzos Service user slang for ANY benzodiazepine medications (most commonly diazepam)
Beta-blocker A type of medication used primarily to reduce the heart rate or treatment of angina, hypertension, or arrythmias.
BHSCT Belfast health and social care trust
Binge eating  Periods of compulsive eating that are not necessarily followed by purging
Blister pack A pack with individual sealed pockets to house medications over 4 timeslots and 7 days. Prepared by pharmacists on direction of GPs to assist with correct dosing.
BMA British medical association
BD Bipolar disorder
BPD Borderline personality disorder (see EUPD)
Bulimia An eating disorder characterised by frequent episodes of grossly excessive food intake followed by self-induced vomiting to avert weight gain (Binge & Purge)
Butterfly project Internet sourced peer suggestion for dealing with self-harm urges) Original source unknown


CAMHS Child and adolescent mental health services
Capacity Bill (Mental capacity bill) Tabled at Stormont 2015 this bill seeks to bring together pieces of existing legislation around mental health and mental capacity
Care plan The  outcome of an assessment - a plan of needs and how they will be met
CAT Computerised axial tomography (scan type)
CBT Cognitive behavioural therapy
CDU Clinical decision unit
CMHT Community mental health team
CMO Chief medical officer
CNO Chief nursing officer
COBPD Childhood onset bipolar disorder
CPD Continuing professional development
CPN Community psychiatric nurse
CPTSD Complex post traumatic stress disorder
CUP model

Carer/service user/professional

(The new model of partnership working)

CYM Change Your Mind - a regional anti stigma campaign


DBT Dialetical behavioural therapy
DHSSPS Department of health and social services and public safety
Disability discrimination act (1995) Click here for document
Disability discrimination act (2005) Click here for document
Disability living allownance Click here for information
Discharge After full assessment, allowing a person who has no further need of a particular service to cease treatment - this does NOT negate possibility of referral on to a different area of care or future re-referral to the original should need arise.
DLA Disability living allowance (coming to end)
DOD Date of discharge
DPA (1998) Data protection act
DSH Deliberate self harm

The 5th edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (2013)

(A guide for diagnosis criteria)

Dual diagnosis This can cause confusion as the professionals use this specifically to mean the presentation of both a mental disorder and an addiction at the same time, however common language on peer forums etc uses it to mean having been diagnosed with two different disorders at the same time
DX Diagnosis


ECG (EKG) Electrocardiogram
ECT Electro-convulsive therapy
ED Eating disorder
EDNOS Eating disorder not otherwise specified
EEG Electroencephalogram
EHR Electronic health record 
EMI Elderly and mentally ill
Empowerment A sense of self-belief and practical ability to look after yourself
EMR Electronic medical record
EPR Electronic patient record
EPRR Emergency preparedness, resilience and response
Equality act (2010) Click here for document
ETD Education, training and development
Ethos An underlying feeling or belief that informs or defines what a person or group does
EUPD Emotionally unstable personality disorder (see BPD)
European convention of human rights Click here for document
Exacerbate To make worse
Expert by experience A person who has extensive knowledge of a condtion or circumstance based on personal experience


Facilitator Someone who helps a group of people understand and work towards their common objectives
Families Voices Forum A Regional Group led by families and Friends Bereaved by Suicide
FBC Full blood count
FFP Fit for purpose
FLS Front line staff
FMH Family medical history
FMHH Family medical health history
FOI Freedom of information
FOIA (2000) Freedom of information act
Formulary (NI) A preferred list of medicines proven to be clinically efective and safe as well as cost effective. Launched in 2014
Freedom of information act (2000) Click here for document



GAD Generalised anxiety disorder
Gain Guidelines and audit implementation network
Gatekeepers Those who would potentially be in contact with the vulnerable.
GP General practitioner (family doctor)


Hallucination(s) An experience involving the apparent perception of something not present
Holistic Treating the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease
HSCT Health and social care trust (of 5)
HSE Health and safety executive
Human rights act (1998) Click here to read


ICD (-10)

International classification of diseases


ICP Integrated Care Partnership
ICU Intensive care unit
IMCA Independent Mental Capacity Advocate
IMHA Indepdent Mental Health Advocate
ImROC (2013) Implementing recovery through organisational change (ongoing process)




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