4.8 Psychiatry

Psychiatry is another specialty area that uses a wide range of abbreviations. This section will introduce you to some of the more common abbreviations used on a psychiatric unit. The focus is on the most common abbreviations, but there may be more used in this specialty area that are not covered here. As well as psychiatry-related abbreviations and definitions, some key concepts related to the abbreviations will be discussed.


Table 4.30. Psychiatry

ADHD attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
ADD attention deficit disorder
BAD bipolar affective disorder
CA chronological age
CBT cognitive behavioural therapy
IQ intelligence quotient

Key Concept

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a form of treatment that is thought to be effective in treating such conditions as anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol use, and severe mental illness, among others (American Psychological Association, 2017). This therapy works to help patients by changing their thinking and behavioural patterns.

Example of orders related to psychiatry :

  1. Patient to attend CBT today at 1200

Explanation of orders related to psychiatry:

  1. Patient to attend cognitive behavioural therapy today at noon.


Table 4.31. Psychiatry

M.A. mental age
MDD major depressive disorder
OCD obsessive-compulsive disorder
PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder
SAD seasonal affective disorder
SSRI selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
light therapy
Fig. 4.18








Key Concept

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as the “winter blues,” is a form of depression that usually occurs in late fall and early winter. The cause is not truly known, but it is thought that the lack of sunlight, biological clock changes, and vitamin D deficiency could play a role. The symptoms can range from feelings of sadness and lack of energy to suicidal thoughts. There are several treatments that can be used, including CBT, light therapy, vitamin D, and antidepressants. Fig. 4.18 shows a person using light therapy for SAD.

Example of orders related to psychiatry :

  1. Dx OCD and MDD

Explanation of orders related to psychiatry:

  1. Diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder and major depressive disorder.




Unless otherwise indicated, material on this page has been adapted from the following resource:

Carter, K., & Rutherford, M. (2020). Building a medical terminology foundation. eCampusOntario. https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/medicalterminology/ licensed under CC BY 4.0



American Psychological Association (APA). (2017). What is cognitive behavioral therapy? https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral


Image Credits (images are listed in order of appearance)

Light Therapy for SAD by Lou Sander, CC BY-SA 4.0


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The Language of Medical Terminology Copyright © 2022 by Lisa Sturdy and Susanne Erickson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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