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Sun, Aug. 18

Mental health has its own alphabet

It happened again - one of the West Yavapai Guidance Clinic staffers was sharing her knowledge regarding a certain mental health issue when a lady piped up: "What's PTSD?" and "How do I know if my son might qualify for something called SMI?"

Like the rest of the health care world, mental health care contains its own share of acronyms. It is important when consumers of health care hear jargon in their medical professionals' offices that they ask for clarification.

Below you will find a little bit of the 'alphabet soup' common in the world of mental health.

• PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can develop when a person experiences life-threatening or life-changing situations that are so distressing or cruel that the memory does not fade.

• DSM-IV - This stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, which is an official manual of mental health problems developed by the American Psychiatric Association. Psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other health/mental health care providers use this reference book to understand and diagnose mental health problems.

• CD - This stands for chemical dependency and

relates to the outpatient or residential services provided to someone who has drug and alcohol abuse issues.

• SMI stands for a serious mental illness, a designation in Arizona that looks at an adult's mental health diagnosis such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, along with his or her level of functioning, to arrive at the status of SMI.

• MD - This indicates that the prescriber is a psychiatrist - a medical doctor - and a person with extensive training, schooling and expertise

• CBT, which stands for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is a commonly-used approach in counseling.

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