Depression Encyclopaedia: Glossary of Depression-Related Terms - How To Overcome Depression Naturally | What Causes Depression | Dealing With Depression | How To Get Rid Of Depression | Depression Help Online

Depression Encyclopaedia: Glossary of Depression-Related Terms

Wondering about certain terms or specialist jargon used in relation to depression?

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

On this page you will find general terms used in the mental health industry.  Including, various treatments and types of antidepressants.   In no way, does simply listing these terms imply that I support or encourage any of these diagnoses, practices, manuals, treatments or procedures.

The terms are merely listed to give you a better understanding of the world of mental health, so you can better ‘arm yourself’ with the knowledge needed to make informed choices when it comes to your own health and well-being.

NOTE: If you believe we’re missing a specific term and you would like to see it added, do let us know by reaching out to us via our Support Tab (or simply click here).


    • Acupuncture: A branch of holistic, natural medicine and a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in which fine needles are inserted into the body at specific points along meridian lines (energy pathways) to treat various physical, mental and emotional conditions.
    • Akathisia: A movement disorder characterised by a feeling of inner restlessness and inability to stay still. May be a side effect of antidepressant use.
    • Anxiolytic: A medication or other intervention that inhibits/reduces anxiety.
    • Antidepressants: Antidepressants are drugs used for the treatment of major depressive disorder and of other conditions, including some anxiety disorders, some chronic pain conditions and to help manage some addictions.


    • Bipolar: Was once called: Manic Depression. It’s characterised by extreme lows and highs (mania) in mood.


    • Circadian Rhythm: A circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours.
    • Clinical Depression: Severe depression, commonly known as major depression or major depressive disorder (MDD).
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A type of psychotherapy in which negative thought patterns about the self and the world are challenged, in order to change unwanted behavioural patterns.
    • Curcumin: A compound found in turmeric which scientific studies have shown has antidepressant properties.


    • Dopamine:  Dopamine functions as both; a hormone and a neurotransmitter.  It plays several vital roles in our brain-body system, including being responsible for transmitting signals in between the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain.
    • DSM:  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 


    • ECT:  Electroconvulsive therapy is a procedure done under general anaesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT is said to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental health conditions.  However, it can lead to permanent brain damage and memory loss.
    • Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): A therapeutic method which draws upon various aspects of alternative medicine including; acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine and Thought Field Therapy (TFT).
    • Endorphins: A chemical naturally, released in the brain to reduce pain as they activate the body’s opiate receptors.


    • Gut-Brain Axis (GBA): The Gut-Brain Axis is the biochemical signalling that occurs between the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) and the central nervous system (CNS).


    • Half-Life: The half-life of a drug is defined by the time it takes for a drugs presence to be reduced by half within your body. A long half-life means the drugs takes longer to be removed from your system than a drug with a short half-life.


    • Iatrogenic Condition: A condition relating to medical or therapeutic procedures undertaken by a patient. For example, lymphoedema as a result of breast cancer surgery, PSSD as a result of antidepressant use, or a scar created by surgery.


    • Ketamine: Ketamine hydrochloride is an anaesthetic and analgesic (pain killer).


    • Magnetic seizure therapy (MST): A procedure that uses transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to induce seizures.
    • MAOIs: Monoamine oxidase inhibitors are a class of drugs which inhibit the activity of one or both monoamine oxidase enzymes: Monoamine Oxidase A and Monoamine Oxidase B. They are best known as powerful anti-depressants, and are also used for panic disorder and social phobia.
    • MDD:  Major Depressive Disorder. Also commonly known as Clinical Depression.


    • NDRI: Norepinephrine-Dopamine Re-uptake Inhibitor
    • Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP): Introduced in the 1970’s by Dr Richard Bandler. Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (eg. thought patterns) underlying them. It’s a system which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to transform their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.
    • Neurotransmitters:  Also known as chemical transmitters or a chemical messengers, are any of a group of chemical agents released by neurons (nerve cells) to stimulate neighbouring neurons, muscle or gland cells, thus allowing impulses to be passed from one cell to the next throughout your nervous system.


    • Oxidative Stress: Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects via antioxidant defences.


    • Postnatal depression / Postpartum depression (PPD): Postnatal depression is a type of depression that affects around 10% of women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers.
    • PSSD: Post-SSRI sexual dysfunction (PSSD) is a condition which can arise after antidepressant use, in which sexual function does not completely return to normal after the discontinuation of SSRIs, SNRIs and some tricyclic antidepressants.
    • Psychotherapy: There are countless different forms of psychotherapy. However, in general terms psychotherapy is the use of psychological, rather than medical methods to improve a persons life, behaviour, mindset, etc.  It’s sometimes referred to as “talk therapy”.


    • Quercetin: A bioflavonoid (vitamin) found in many fruits, vegetables, leaves and grains. Quercetin has been shown to contain antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties.


    • SAD:  Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
    • Serotonergic Receptor: A nerve ending which releases and is stimulated by serotonin.
    • Serotonin:  Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) is a chemical that has a wide variety of functions in the human body. It’s sometimes called the “happy chemical” due to it’s contribution to wellbeing and happiness, although its actual biological function is complex and multifaceted, modulating cognition, reward, learning, memory, and numerous physiological processes.
    • Serotonin Syndrome: Serotonin syndrome is an increasingly common adverse drug reaction which can be life-threatening. Serotonin syndrome occurs when the neurotransmitter Serotonin has accumulated within your system causing unnaturally high levels.  This can occur from taking one antidepressant (especially SSRI’s and SNRI’s).
    • Side Effects: An undesirable effect of a drug or medical treatment.
    • SNRI: Serotonin Norepinephrine Re-uptake Inhibitor
    • SSRI: Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor


    • TCA:  Tricyclic Antidepressant
    • TMS:  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain, temporarily exciting or inhibiting specific areas.
    • Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD):  The definition given when people do not adequately respond to a course of antidepressant medication within a certain time.
    • Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an amino acid which is essential for humans, however our body cannot synthesise it. Which means, it must be obtained from our diet. Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, the hormone melatonin and vitamin B3.


    • Vagus Nerve: The vagus nerve is one of the cranial nerves which connects the brain to the body. The vagus nerve has two bunches of sensory nerve cell bodies and it connects the brainstem to the body. It transmits information to or from the surface of the brain to tissues and organs elsewhere in the body.
    • VNS: Vagus Nerve Stimulation is a medical procedure that involves delivering electrical impulses to the vagus nerve.


    • WHO: World Health Organisation


    • Yoga: Yoga is an ancient discipline from India. It is both spiritual and physical in nature and consists of breathing techniques, mantras, exercise and meditation. Yoga is the ancient science of uniting you with your true self (divine nature or higher consciousness), which gives you mastery over the mind. Yoga naturally improves the health, happiness and overall well-being of those who practise all aspects of it sincerely.