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.

Advocacy organizations:

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

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

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).

Family doctors:

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


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

Heredity (genetics):

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

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.

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.

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.

Occupational and vocational therapists:

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


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


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


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.


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


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.


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


The return of symptoms.

Schizoaffective disorder:

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


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.


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.


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

Important Safety Information


INVEGA® (paliperidone) is used for the short-term treatment of schizoaffective disorder in adults and for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults and in adolescents (12-17 years of age).

INVEGA® is not approved for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis in elderly patients. Elderly patients who were given oral antipsychotics like INVEGA® in clinical studies for psychosis caused by dementia (memory problems) had a higher risk of death.

Do not receive INVEGA® if you are allergic to paliperidone, risperidone, or any of the ingredients in INVEGA®

Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) is a rare but serious side effect that could be fatal and has been reported with INVEGA® and similar medicines. Call your doctor right away if you develop symptoms such as a high fever, rigid muscles, shaking, confusion, sweating more than usual, increased heart rate or blood pressure, or muscle pain or weakness. Treatment should be stopped if you are being treated for NMS.

Tardive Dyskinesia (TD) is a rare but serious and sometimes permanent side effect reported with INVEGA® and similar medicines. Call your doctor right away if you start to develop twitching or jerking movements that you cannot control in your face, tongue, or other parts of your body. The risk of developing TD and the chance that it will become permanent is thought to increase with the length of therapy and the total dose received. This condition can also develop after a short period of treatment at low doses, but this is less common. There is no known treatment for TD, but it may go away partially or completely if the medicine is stopped.

One risk of INVEGA® is that it may change your heart rhythm. This effect is potentially serious. You should talk to your doctor about any current or past heart problems. Because these problems could mean you're having a heart rhythm abnormality, contact your doctor IMMEDIATELY if you feel faint or feel a change in the way that your heart beats (palpitations).

Atypical antipsychotic drugs have been associated with metabolic changes that can increase cardiovascular/cerebrovascular risks. These changes may include:

  • High blood sugar and diabetes have been reported with INVEGA® and similar medicines. If you already have diabetes or have risk factors such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes, blood sugar testing should be done at the beginning and during the treatment. The complications of diabetes can be serious and even life-threatening. Call your doctor if you develop signs of high blood sugar or diabetes, such as being thirsty all the time, having to urinate or "pass urine" more often than usual, or feeling weak or hungry.
  • Changes in cholesterol and triglycerides have been noted in patients taking atypical antipsychotics. Check with your doctor while on treatment.
  • Weight gain has been reported in patients taking atypical antipsychotics. Monitor weight gain while on treatment. For adolescent patients (12-17 years of age) weight gain should be assessed against that expected with normal growth.

People with narrowing or blockage of the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, or small or large intestine) should talk to their healthcare professional before taking INVEGA®.

Some people may feel faint, dizzy, or may pass out when they stand up or sit up suddenly. Be careful not to get up too quickly. It may help if you get up slowly and sit on the edge of the bed or chair for a few minutes before you stand up. These symptoms may decrease or go away after your body becomes used to the medicine.

Patients (particularly the elderly) taking antipsychotics with certain health conditions or those on long-term therapy should be evaluated by their healthcare provider for the potential risk of falls.

INVEGA® and similar medicines have been associated with decreases in the counts of white cells in circulating blood. If you have a history of low white blood cell counts or have unexplained fever or infection, then please contact your doctor right away.

INVEGA® and similar medicines can raise the blood levels of a hormone called prolactin, and blood levels of prolactin remain high with continued use. This may result in some side effects, including missed menstrual periods, leakage of milk from the breasts, development of breasts in men, or problems with erection.

If you have a prolonged or painful erection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical help to avoid long-term injury.

INVEGA® should be used cautiously in people with a seizure disorder, who have had seizures in the past, or who have conditions that increase their risk for seizures.

Call your doctor right away if you start thinking about suicide or wanting to hurt yourself.

INVEGA® can make some people feel dizzy, sleepy, or less alert. Until you know how you are going to respond to INVEGA®, be careful driving a car, operating machines, or doing things that require you to be alert.

This medicine may make you more sensitive to heat. You may have trouble cooling off or be more likely to become dehydrated. Be careful when you exercise or spend time doing things that make you warm.

INVEGA® should be swallowed whole. Tablets should not be chewed, divided, or crushed. Do not be worried if you see something that looks like a tablet in your stool. This is what is left of the tablet after all the medicine has been released.

Do not drink alcohol while you are taking INVEGA®.

The most common side effects that occurred with INVEGA® in the treatment of schizophrenia in adults were: abnormal muscle movements (including tremor [shaking]), shuffling, uncontrolled involuntary movements, and abnormal movements of the eyes); feeling of inner restlessness or needing to be constantly moving; and fast heartbeat. The most common side effects that occurred with INVEGA® in the treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents were: drowsiness, abnormal muscle movement (including a feeling of inner restlessness or needing to be constantly moving, tremor [shaking], involuntary muscle contractions, stiff muscles making your movements jerky); feeling of inner restlessness or needing to be constantly moving; fast heartbeat, and anxiety (nervousness). The most common side effects that occurred with INVEGA® in the treatment of schizoaffective disorder in adults were: abnormal muscle movements (including tremor [shaking]), shuffling, uncontrolled involuntary movements, and abnormal movements of the eyes), sleepiness, heartburn, constipation, weight increase, and sore throat.

This is not a complete list of all possible side effects. Ask your doctor or treatment team if you have any questions or want more information.

If you have any questions about INVEGA® or your therapy, talk with your doctor.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see full Prescribing Information including Boxed WARNING for INVEGA®.