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Medical Terms to Know

Listed below are some terms that your doctor, therapist, counselor, or caregiver may use when talking to you about mental health illnesses. Remember, you can always ask your doctor for more information.

A
Advocacy organizations:

Groups that can help get you in touch with people who understand what you're going through.

Antidepressant:
A type of medication that is used to help treat the symptoms of depression.
Antipsychotic:

A type of medication that is helpful in the treatment of psychosis. It may balance the chemicals in the brain and help you feel better.

B
Bipolar subtype of schizoaffective disorder:

A type of schizoaffective disorder where the patient experiences manic mood episodes, or manic and depressive episodes in addition to psychotic symptoms.

C
Caregiver:

Friends, relatives, or anyone who helps you get good care.

Case manager/Social worker:

People who help you with social-service programs, such as support groups, and who can also help you get basic items such as food, clothes, a place to live, and medical treatment.

Chronic illness:

A long-lasting condition.

Clinical study:

A scientific study that measures how well and how safely a new medicine or treatment works in people. Through clinical studies, doctors find new and sometimes better ways to prevent, diagnose, control, and treat illnesses.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):

A type of therapy that focuses on adapting a patient's thinking to achieve his or her goals.

Cognitive symptoms:

Patterns of thought that may be signs of a mental disorder. Symptoms may include difficulty understanding, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating.

Counselors:

Professionals trained to recognize if your symptoms are reappearing, even if you're not aware of them. Seeing a counselor regularly may help you gain insight into your illness, and help you to maintain wellness.

D
Delusions:

Believing in ideas that are not true.

Depressive subtype of schizoaffective disorder:

A type of schizoaffective disorder where the patient experiences depressive episodes in addition to psychotic symptoms.

Diagnosis:

The identifying of an illness or disorder. A diagnosis is made by looking at a person's symptoms and medical history, and running medical tests.

Disorganized thinking, speech, or behavior:

A mental state in which a person has trouble arranging thoughts and connecting them logically. Speech may be garbled or hard to understand.

Dose:

The amount of medicine your doctor has instructed you to take each day to treat your condition. Always follow your doctor's directions, and refill your prescription on time so that you don't run out.

Drug interactions:

The effects that certain foods, drinks, or medicines may have when taken together that would not happen when taken alone. To avoid drug interactions, always follow your doctor's instructions about taking your medication, and tell him or her about all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter medication (medication you can buy yourself without a prescription).

F
Family doctors:

Doctors who can adjust and prescribe medication, and can also address other health concerns you may have.

H
Hallucinations:

Hearing, seeing, tasting or smelling things that are not real.

Heredity (genetics):

Characteristics that may be passed on from one generation to the next.

I
INVEGA® (paliperidone):

A type of medication called an atypical antipsychotic. INVEGA® is used for the treatment of the symptoms of schizophrenia, and for the treatment of the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder.
Please see important safety information at bottom of this page and please see Important Product Information.

M
Mania/manic episode:

A condition marked by an "up" feeling, rapidly changing ideas, and impulsive behavior. Different people will experience the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder in different ways.

Mental illness:

Medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Mental illnesses are medical conditions.

Mood stabilizer:

A type of medication that is used to treat the symptoms of a mood disorder.

Mood symptoms:

Disturbances in a person's mood, such as an "up feeling" of excessive excitement, or a "down feeling" of excessive sadness.

N
Negative symptoms:

The absence of behaviors or feelings, such as being less able to show feelings; being less able to speak or think clearly; and losing an interest in or ability to do tasks or activities.

O
Occupational and vocational therapists:

Professionals who can help you learn skills to find a job.

P
Paranoia:

Mistrust or suspicion, even when there is no reason to be suspicious.

Pharmacist:

A professional trained and licensed to dispense medications. Pharmacists can answer questions you have about your medicines.

Placebo:

Sometimes called a sugar pill, a placebo is a substance that contains no medicine. Placebos are often given to a portion of patients participating in clinical trials. Placebos help researchers see how patients react to a substance that does not contain medicine. Researchers can then compare the patients who took medicine to the patients on placebo in order to study how well the medicine performs.

Positive symptoms:

False thoughts, ideas, and behaviors, such as delusions and hallucinations; having unclear or confused thoughts or speech; and acting in unusual, nonsensical ways.

Psychiatrist:

A type of doctor who has been specially trained to help people with mental illness.

Psychologists:

Counselors who can help you gain insight into your disease and show you ways to cope with your symptoms.

Psychosis/psychotic symptoms:

A mental and behavioral disorder that can change a person's thinking, mood, or perception, and affects the person's everyday life.

R
Recovery:

An ongoing process in which a person works to manage his or her symptoms.

Relapse:

The return of symptoms.

S
Schizoaffective disorder:

A mental illness that disturbs a person’s thinking and emotions, and causes psychotic and mood symptoms.

Schizophrenia:

A complex, lifelong mental illness that can affect a person's ability to think clearly, manage feelings, make decisions, and relate to others.

Sensory overload:

The feeling that too much is happening at once, causing feelings of being overwhelmed.

Side effect:

An unwanted added effect that may occur from taking a drug. Your doctor will talk with you about the side effects of a medication prior to prescribing it. Always be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you are having a side effect from taking your medication.

T
Therapist:

A healthcare professional who can help a person with a mental disorder set goals and work toward them.

Therapy groups:

A group of people who share something in common, such as a mental disorder, who meet regularly to talk and support one another.

Time-release tablet:

A form of a medication that is specially designed to release medicine at a constant rate throughout the day.

Treatment plan:

A plan developed by your doctor, caregiver, and you. It may include medications, therapy (such as cognitive behavioral therapy), therapy groups, and other community services.

Triggers:

Certain situations or environments that make symptoms of an illness more likely to happen or become worse.