Mental Health Terms

All | A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V

There are currently 20 names in this directory beginning with the letter A.
Acculturation problem

Problem involving adjustment to a different culture (eg. following migration).


Recent onset of severe clinical symptoms of mental illness.

Acute inpatient service

A service that provides assessment and short-term intensive treatment, as a part of the continuum of care, for people experiencing acute episodes of mental illness who cannot be treated more appropriately in other community settings.


A state of dependence produced by the habitual taking of drugs, including alcohol, characterised by compulsion, loss of control and continued patterns of use despite negative consequences.

Adjustment disorder

Development of clinically significant emotional or behavioural symptoms in response to a psychological stressor such as family bereavement or break up of relationship.


Period of growth and development from puberty to maturity.


Stage of growth and development that follows adolescence.


Person who intercedes for and acts on behalf of a client when the client is unable to do so, and may be a professional or lay person.

Against medical advice (AMA)

Departure from inpatient psychiatric treatment that is initiated by a voluntaryclient, against the recommendation of the care givers.

Age-related cognitive decline

A decline in cognitive functioning, including memory and reasoning, as a result of the aging process.


Physical or verbal behaviour that is forceful or hostile and enacted to intimidate others.


Fear and anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape may be difficult (or embarrassing), or in which help may not be available in the event of having a panic attack. Fear of the outdoors or going out, especially alone. It is the most common phobia.

Alzheimer’s Disease

A disease characterised by confusion, memory failure, disorientation, restlessness, speech disturbances, and an inability to carry out purposeful movements. The disease usually begins in later middle life with slight defects in memory and behaviour and occurs with equal frequency in men and women. The only treatment is palliative care.


A prescribed drug that has a marked stimulant action on the central nervous system. It produces a feeling of mental alertness and well being. Tolerance to amphetamine develops rapidly and prolonged use may lead to dependence.

Amphetamine Use Disorder

Presence of inappropriate behaviour or physiological changes that develop during, or shortly after, use of amphetamines or related substances.

Anorexia Nervosa

Eating disorder in which the person starves him/herself or uses other techniques such as vomiting, to induce weight loss. It is motivated by a false perception of being fat and/or phobia about becoming fat. It can be life threatening.

Anxiety Disorder

A form of neurosis in which anxiety dominates the person’s life. Examples are Acute Stress Disorder, Agoraphobia, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Attack, Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Specific Phobia, Substance-induced Anxiety Disorder.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder

A disorder with a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity.


The right of designated people to make decisions and issue commands.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

The essential feature of Avoidant Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.

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