A-Z: Acronyms used in Mental Health Field

Even though I have been reading and writing about mental health for the past 3 years, I still get confused from time to time with the overwhelming amount of acronyms used in the mental health field (job/degree titles, meds, treatment centers, etc).


I decided to make a list of some that I have come across (DEFINITELY NOT A COMPREHENSIVE LIST- states even have their own acronyms!).

Hope this helps the people who need it!



AA- Alcoholics Anonymous

AD- Alzheimer’s Disease

ADHD- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

AN- Anorexia Nervosa

APA- American Psychological Association or American Psychiatric Association

ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorders



BD [have also seen BP]- Bipolar Disorder

BN- Bulimia Nervosa

BPD- Borderline Personality Disorder



CAS- Certificate of Advanced Study (i.e. part of school psychologist’s training)

CBT- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CD- Conduct Disorder

CIT- Crisis Intervention Team –> Get CIT trained!



DBT- Dialetical Behavioral Therapy

DMDD- Disruptive Mood Disregulation Disorder

DSM-  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders



EBP- Evidence Based Practice

ECT- Electroconvulsive  therapy

Ed.D.- Doctor of Education degree



FFT- Family-Focused Therapy

FGA- First Generation Antipsychotic



GAD- Generalized Anxiety Disorder



HAM-A- Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale

HAM-D- Hamilton Depression Rating Scale

HIPAA- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act



IPSRT- Interpersonal social rhythm therapy

IPT- Interpersonal Therapy

IVC- Involuntary Commitment



LCSW- Licensed Clinical Social Worker

LMFT- Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor

LMHC- Licensed Mental Health Counselor

LP(C)C- Licensed Professional (Clinical) Counselor

^Yeah, these can get confusing. This site can help.



MA- Master of Arts

MD- Doctor of Medicine

MDD- Major Depressive Disorder

MH- Mental Health

MDQ- Mood Disorder Questionnaire

MS- Multiple Sclerosis



NAMI- National Alliance on Mental Illness

NASP- National Association of School Psychologists

NIMH- National Institute of Mental Health

NP- Nurse Practitioner

NSSI- Non-suicidal Self-injury



OCD- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

ODD- Oppositional Defiant Disorder

OCPD- Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder



PA- Physician Assistant

PD- Parkinson’s Disease

PhD- Doctor of Philosophy

PMDD- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

PPD- Postpartum Depression

PsyD- Doctor of Psychology (PhD vs PsyD)

PTSD- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder



QMHP- Qualified Mental Health Professional



RN- Registered Nurse



SI- Suicidal Ideation

SGA- Second Generation Antipsychotics

SNRI- Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor

SSP- Specialist in School Psychology degree

SSRI- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor



TBI- Traumatic Brain Injury

TCA- Tricyclic Antidepressant


If you think there is some term that really needs to be added to the list, let me know!


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