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Depression Glossary

Terms used to explain Depression can sometimes be confusing. To help you fully understand the articles and features related to this very important health topic, we have compiled a glossary of terms that can help.

Adrenal Gland

adrenal gland
Function: noun
: either of a pair of complex endocrine organs near the anterior medial border of the kidney consisting of a mesodermal cortex that produces glucocorticoid, mineralocorticoid, and androgenic hormones and an ectodermal medulla that produces epinephrine and norepinephrine —called also adrenal, suprarenal gland

Anorexia Nervosa

anorexia ner*vo*sa
Pronunciation: \-(ˌ)nər-ˈvō-sə, -zə\

Function: noun
: a serious eating disorder primarily of young women in their teens and early twenties that is characterized esp. by a pathological fear of weight gain leading to faulty eating patterns, malnutrition, and usu. excessive weight loss


Pronunciation: \aŋ-ˈzī-ət-ē\

Function: noun
pl -eties

1 a: a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usu. over an impending or anticipated ill
b: a cause of anxiety
2: an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one's capacity to cope with it

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Function: noun
1: see: cognitive therapy


Pronunciation: \ˈdō-pə-ˌmēn\

Function: noun
1: a monoamine C8H11NO2 that is a decarboxylated form of dopa and occurs esp. as a neurotransmitter in the brain and as an intermediate in the biosynthesis of epinephrine see intropin

Electroconvulsive Therapy

electroconvulsive therapy
Function: noun
: the treatment of mental disorder and esp. depression by the application of electric current to the head of a usu. anesthetized patient that induces unconsciousness and convulsive seizures in the brain abbr. ECT—called also electric shock, electric shock therapy, electroshock therapy


Pronunciation: \ˈglüt-ə-ˌmāt\

Function: noun
: a salt or ester of glutamic acid; specif: a salt or ester of levorotatory glutamic acid that functions as an excitatory neurotransmitter see monosodium glutamate


Pronunciation: \ˌhī-pə-ˈmā-nē-ə, -nyə\

Function: noun
: a mild mania esp. when part of bipolar disorder


Pronunciation: \-ˈthal-ə-məs\

Function: noun
pl -mi
Pronunciation: \-ˌmī\
: a basal part of the diencephalon that lies beneath the thalamus on each side, forms the floor of the third ventricle, and includes vital autonomic regulatory centers (as for the control of food intake)

Manic Depression

manic depression
Function: noun
: see: bipolar disorder


Pronunciation: \ˌn(y)ur-ō-tran(t)s-ˈmit-ər, -tranz-\

Function: noun
: a substance (as norepinephrine or acetylcholine) that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse see false neurotransmitter

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

obsessive–compulsive disorder
Function: noun
: a psychoneurotic disorder in which the patient is beset with obsessions or compulsions or both and suffers extreme anxiety or depression through failure to think the obsessive thoughts or perform the compelling acts abbr. OCD—called also obsessive-compulsive neurosis, obsessive-compulsive reaction


Pronunciation: \-ˈther-ə-pē\

Function: noun
pl -pies
: the application of light for therapeutic purposes

Seasonal Affective Disorder

sea*son*al affective disorder
Pronunciation: \ˌsēz-ən-əl-\

Function: noun
: depression that tends to recur as the days grow shorter during the fall and winter abbr. SAD


Pronunciation: \ˌsir-ə-ˈtō-nən, ˌser-\

Function: noun
: a phenolic amine neurotransmitter C10H12N2O that is a powerful vasoconstrictor and is found esp. in the brain, blood serum, and gastric mucous membrane of mammals —called also 5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine


Pronunciation: \ˈther-ə-pəst\

Function: noun
: a person specializing in therapy; esp: one trained in methods of treatment and rehabilitation other than the use of drugs or surgery

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© 2011 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Inc.

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Research shows that more women than men experience depression. This could be because women are more likely than men to report and seek help for depressed feelings.