How can I become more familiar with the terminology that is used in conversations about the treatment of mental illness?

The terminology used by healthcare professionals can be confusing for anyone who is trying to understand more about their condition and make the best treatment decisions possible. Many of the medical terms are hard to pronounce, much less understand and there are a lot of acronyms used. The term for this is “jargon” and frequently we need a dictionary to help us translate what the healthcare professionals are telling us. There are a variety of tools available, and we’ve identified two that can be helpful to you as you begin to understand what can feel like a new language.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) includes such a glossary in all of its education programs for people with mental illness and their families. You can download that glossary here.

You can also view a glossary of terms related to first episode psychosis developed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

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