Glossary of Common Terms


A neurological condition in which the patient is unaware of their neurological deficit or psychiatric condition. It is associated with mental illness, dementia, and structural brain lesions as seen in right hemisphere stroke patients.


Medication used to treat depression and other mood and anxiety disorders


Medication used to treat psychosis spectrum disorders

Assisted outpatient treatment (AOT):

The practice of providing community-based mental health treatment under civil court commitment as a means to (1) motivate an adult with mental illness who struggles with voluntary treatment adherence to engage fully with their treatment plan, (2) focus the attention of treatment providers on the need to work diligently to keep people engaged in effective treatment, and (3) divert individuals into treatment without ordering them into a hospital. This option is a less restrictive, less expensive, and more humane form of “commitment” than inpatient commitment.

Auditory hallucinations:

Hearing something that is not real

Bipolar disorder (manic depression):

A disorder that causes severe and unusually high and low shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels as well as unusual shifts in the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks


Persisting for a long time or constantly recurring

Clinical trial:

A scientific study using human volunteers (also called participants) that looks at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Treatments may include new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways of using existing treatments.


Conscious mental activities such as thinking, communicating, understanding, solving problems, processing information, and remembering. These activities are associated with gaining knowledge and understanding.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):

Treatment that helps people focus on solving current problems. A therapist helps the patient learn to identify distorted or unhelpful thinking patterns, recognize and change inaccurate beliefs, relate to others in more positive ways, and change behaviors accordingly.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for psychosis (CBT-P):

Cognitive behavioral therapy that specifically addresses symptoms of psychosis spectrum disorders

Cognitive impairment:

Experiencing difficulty with cognition like having trouble paying attention, thinking clearly, or remembering new information

Cognitive remediation:

Training designed to strengthen underlying brain functions that help support cognitive skills such as memory, attention, and problem solving through a variety of techniques including computer exercises and adaptive strategies to improve cognition


The existence of two or more physical or mental illnesses in the same person

Coordinated speciality care (CSC) for first episode psychosis:

A type of treatment that uses a team of specialists to create a personal treatment plan. Specialists offer psychotherapy, medication management, CSC case management, family education/support, and supported employment/education, depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. The patient and this team work together to make treatment decisions, involving family members as much as possible.


Beliefs that have no basis in reality


Lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities, sadness, feelings of worthlessness, or excessive guilt severe enough to interfere with work, sleep, school, appetite, and quality of life

Dual diagnosis:

Coexisting mental health disorder and alcohol or drug problem

Duration of untreated psychosis (DUP):

The length of time between the beginning symptoms of psychosis spectrum disorders and the beginning of antipsychotic treatment

Early intervention:

Diagnosing and treating a mental illness when it first develops

Early treatment program (RAISE-ETP):

Study comparing a coordinated specialty care program for first episode psychosis spectrum disorders called NAVIGATE to care typically found in community clinics

Evidence-based practice:

Treatments supported by clinical research

Family education/support:

An element of coordinated specialty care that teaches family members and friends about first episode psychosis and helps them support the patient’s recovery

First episode psychosis (FEP):

The first time an individual experiences an episode of psychosis


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

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA):

A federal law requiring the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge

Individual resiliency training (IRT):

One part of the NAVIGATE treatment program that promotes recovery by identifying client strength and resiliency factors, enhancing illness management, and teaching skills to help functional recovery in order to achieve and maintain personal wellness


Healthcare treatment for someone who is admitted to a hospital


An action intended to help treat or cure a condition

Long-acting injectable (LAI):

A shot of medication administered once or twice a month that serves as an alternative to daily doses of medication


An abnormally elevated or irritable mood associated with bipolar disorder

Manic depression:

See “Bipolar Disorder”

Mood disorders:

Mental disorders primarily affecting a person’s mood

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

The nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. NAMI is one of over 80 national nonprofit organizations that participate in the NIMH Outreach Partnership Program.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

The lead federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


A coordinated specialty care treatment program for people experiencing first episode psychosis. NAVIGATE is a team-based approach for treatment options that include medication management, case management, individual resiliency training, family psychoeducation, and supported employment/education.

Negative symptoms:

Symptoms of schizophrenia that “take away” from life including social withdrawal, lost interest in life, low energy, emotional flatness, as well as reduced ability to concentrate and remember


A coordinated specialty care treatment program in New York for youth and young adults experiencing first episode psychosis. OnTrackNY is based on the work of Lisa Dixon and her team on the RAISE Implementation and Evaluation Study (RAISE-IES), part of the RAISE research study.


Health care treatment given to individuals who are not admitted to a hospital


Medication selection, dosing, and management. Pharmacotherapy for first episode psychosis typically involves a low dose of a single antipsychotic medication and careful monitoring for side effects.

Positive symptoms:

Psychotic symptoms that “add to” a person’s experiences including delusions and hallucinations


Learning about mental illness and ways to communicate, solve problems, and cope


Conditions that affect the mind and cause some loss of contact with reality. During a period of psychosis, a person’s thoughts and perceptions are disturbed and the individual may have difficulty understanding what is real and what is not. Symptoms of psychosis spectrum disorders include delusions, hallucinations, incoherent or nonsense speech, behavior that is inappropriate for the situation, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and difficulty functioning overall.

Psychosocial interventions:

Non-medication therapies for people with mental illness and their families including psychotherapy, coping skills, training, and supported employment and education services.


Treatment that includes talking about problems rather than using medication. Treatment for first episode psychosis is based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles and emphasizes resilience training, illness and wellness management, and coping skills.


The process by which people with mental illness return or begin to work, learn, and participate in their communities. For some individuals and their families, recovery means the ability to live a fulfilling and productive life.

Schizoaffective disorder:

A mental condition that causes both a loss of contact with reality (psychosis spectrum disorders) and mood problems (depression or mania)


A severe mental disorder that appears in late adolescence or early adulthood and includes symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, loss of personality, confusion, agitation, social withdrawal, psychosis spectrum disorders, and/or extremely odd behavior

Schizophreniform disorder:

Symptoms consistent with schizophrenia but that last less than six months

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

The agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Tardive dyskinesia (TD):

A side effect of antipsychotic medications used to treat schizophrenia and other mental health disorders. TD causes stiff, jerky, uncontrollable movements in the face and body.