Information for the public

Explanation of technical terms


Medication used to treat depression and also anxiety.


Medication used primarily in the treatment of psychosis. Examples include aripiprazole, olanzapine, quetiapine and risperidone.


Medication used to treat sleep problems, agitation, seizures and muscle spasms. Examples include chlordiazepoxide, diazepam and lorazepam.

Carer's assessment

An assessment by social services of a carer's physical and mental health and their needs in their role as a carer. Anyone aged 16 years and older who cares for someone on a regular and substantial basis has the right to request such an assessment. There should be a written carer's support plan, which is given to the carer.


A common mental health problem, the main symptoms of which are losing pleasure in things that were once enjoyable and losing interest in everyday activities and other people.

Obsessive–compulsive disorder

A type of anxiety disorder in which a person has thoughts, images or impulses that keep coming into their mind and are difficult to get rid of (called obsessions) and a strong feeling that they must carry out or repeat certain physical acts or mental processes (called compulsions).

Post-traumatic stress disorder

A type of anxiety disorder that can sometimes follow a threatening or traumatic event.


A type of medication called an 'anticonvulsant' used to treat seizures, which is also used to treat GAD.

Primary care

A part of the healthcare service that includes GPs, nurses and mental health teams (such as mental health workers, mental health practitioners and psychologists).

Psychological treatments

Treatments that involve meeting with a mental health professional to talk about feelings and thoughts and how these affect behaviour and wellbeing.


A serious mental health problem. The main symptoms are hearing voices and sometimes seeing things that are not really there (called hallucinations), and having fixed beliefs that are false but that the person believes in completely (called delusions).

Sedative antihistamine

Medication used to treat allergic reactions that can have a calming effect on the brain.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

A type of antidepressant. Examples include sertraline, fluoxetine, citalopram, escitalopram, fluvoxamine and paroxetine.

Serotonin–noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)

A type of antidepressant. Examples include venlafaxine and duloxetine.

Structured problem solving

An approach to solving problems that goes through several distinct steps: problem presented, problem negotiated, problem agreed, solution presented, solution negotiated, solution agreed.

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