Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): A type of psychotherapy that helps a person recognize distorted/negative thinking with the goal of changing thought and behaviors to respond to changes in a more positive manner.[1]

Depressive episode: An episode where the person experiences a depressed mood (feeling sad, irritable, empty) or a loss of pleasure or interest in activities for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks. Several other symptoms are also present, which may include poor concentration, feelings of excessive guilt or low self-worth, hopelessness about the future, thoughts about dying or suicide, disrupted sleep, changes in appetite or weight, and feeling especially tired or low in energy.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): A medical treatment reserved for patients with severe major depression who have not responded to medications, psychotherapy, or other treatments. It involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia.

Group therapy: A type of psychotherapy that brings people with similar disorders together in a supportive environment to learn how others cope in similar situations.[2]

Hypertensive crisis: An acute rise and significantly elevated blood pressure, typically over 180/120 mm Hg, that causes acute end-organ damage such as stroke, myocardial infarction, or acute kidney damage. It can be caused by MAOIs, a class of antidepressants.

Light therapy: Therapy for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that involves sitting in front of a light therapy box that emits a very bright light. It usually requires 20 minutes or more per day, typically first thing in the morning during the winter months. Most people see some improvements from light therapy within one or two weeks of beginning treatment.

Perinatal depression: Depressive disorder that occurs during pregnancy.

Postpartum depression: Feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for mothers of newborns to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies. Severe postpartum depression can lead to postpartum psychosis.

Postpartum psychosis: Severe postpartum depression can cause delusions (thoughts or beliefs that are not true), hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or smelling things that are not there), mania (a high, elated mood that often seems out of touch with reality), paranoia, and confusion. Women who have postpartum psychosis are at risk for harming themselves or their child and should receive help as soon as possible by calling 911 or taking the mother to the emergency room.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): A type of depression causing symptoms during the fall and winter months when there is less sunlight and usually improves with the arrival of spring. SAD is more than just “winter blues.” The symptoms can be distressing and overwhelming and can interfere with daily functioning.[3]

Serotonin syndrome: A medical emergency that can occur in clients taking medications that affect serotonin levels.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): A noninvasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression when other depression treatments haven’t been effective.

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2020). What is depression?
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2020). What is depression?
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (2020). Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).


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Nursing: Mental Health and Community Concepts Copyright © by Chippewa Valley Technical College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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