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Know Your Code - Acronyms

Medical conditions, treatments, procedures and related subject matter have a special language all their own. Many are identified by "acronyms," abbreviations which are a kind of short-hand. Here is a list of many which are used in the mental health and anxiety field. If you see a term you don't recognize, check this list for the meaning. And if something should be listed here but is NOT -please update the list.

5-HT: Serotonin, 5-Hydroxytryptamine
AD: Antidepressant / Anxiety Disorder/ Alzheimer's Disease
ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
ADR: Adverse Drug Reaction
ANS: Autonomic Nervous System

AP: Antipsychotic
ASD: Acute Stress Disorder/ Autism Spectrum Disorder

AS: Aspergers Syndrome
BD: Bipolar Disorder
BDD: Body Dysmorphic Disorder
BDZ: Benzodiazepine
BPAD: Bipolar Affective Disorder
BPD: Borderline Personality Disorder*
CAT: Cognitive Analytic Therapy
CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CCBT: Computerised Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CNS: Central Nervous System
CT: Cognitive Therapy
DA: Dopamine

DBT: Dialectical Behavior Therapy**
DEPS: Depression
DID: Dissociative Identity Disorder
EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
GABA: Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
GAD: Generalized Anxiety Disorder
GERD: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
IBS: Irritable Bowl Syndrome
IST: Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia

MD: Major Depression
MDD: Major Depressive Disorder

MPD: Mutiple Personality disorder***

MS: Mood Stabilizer
NE: Norepinephrine
OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
PAC: Premature Atrial Contraction
PD: Panic Disorder

PDA: Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia

PDD: Pervasive Developmental Disorder

PDD NOS: Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
PMDD: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Psych: Psychiatrist
PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
PVC: Premature Ventricular Contraction
REBT: Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder / Social Anxiety Disorder
SCHZ: Schizophrenia
SD: Somatoform Disorder
SNRI: Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor
SNS: Sympathetic Nervous System
SOMS: Somatoform Symptoms
SP: Social Phobia / Specific Phobia
SSRI: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor
SVT: Supraventricular Tachycardia

TCA: Tricyclic Antidepressant


Other (usually seen used in different autism communities)

- Aspie: Aspergers Syndrome (this term is often used by autistic people themselves as a shorthand and more "friendly" way to identify their autism in this case aspergers.)

- Autie: Autistic (Same as above but used by people with an autism or other ASD dx than aspergers.)

- NT:  Neurotypical (AKA non autistic or perceived "normal" person without any neurological conditions.)



* BPD never refers to Bipolar Disorder. It is only used as an acronym for Borderline Personality Disorder.

** Added DBT - treatment often used for Borderline Personality Disorder


***Multiple personality disorder is now commonly refered to as DID: Dissociative Identity Disorder.

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Top Children's Development Answerers
San Pedro, CA
Start Date
Mar 04, 2008
by JSGeare
Last Revision
Jun 05, 2009
by dancingheart