Mental Health Diagnosis Acronyms

An acronym is an abbreviation made from the initials of words.  This is a list of acronyms that apply to mental health diagnoses and what they mean: 

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – Condition or syndrome which means a person has a hard time paying attention, acting in a hectic way, or a lot of physical activity. This condition can lead to learning disorders.

ASD – Autism spectrum disorder – Developmental disability, found mostly in males where people withdraw from other people, repeat behaviors, and have trouble communicating.

BD – Behavioral Disorders – A pattern of disruptive behaviors in children that last for at least 6 months and cause problems in school, at home and in social situations. Behaviors may include inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, defiance, drug use or criminal activity.

BPD – Borderline Personality Disorder – A mental health disorder that impacts thoughts and feeling about yourself and others causing problems in everyday life. It includes self-image issues, trouble managing emotions and behavior and patterns of unstable relationships.

DD – Developmentally Disabled – Various conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability etc. which are usually noticed during infancy or childhood. Generally, people diagnosed with DD have delayed development and limitations in thinking such as learning, language, communication, behaviors, and sometimes movement.

EBD – Emotional or Behavioral Disorder – A condition characterized by mild to severe disruptive/acting out behaviors that are evident and persistent in different settings and environments.

ID – Intellectual Disability (formerly Mentally Retarded or MR) – A mild to severe impairment in intellectual ability equivalent to an IQ of 70 to 75 or below. People with ID generally have limitation in social, practical, and conceptual skill. It usually begins before the age of 18-years-old, and people with ID often struggle with communication, reasoning and self-care.

I/DD – Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities – Disorders that are usually present at birth and negatively affect a person’s physical, intellectual, and/or emotional development. Sometimes I/DD is also referred to as ID/DD.

LD – Learning Disability – A condition making it difficult to acquire knowledge and skills to the level of people the same age especially when there is no physical handicap.

MI – Mental Illness – A mental illness is a common health condition involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior. Mental illnesses are sometimes associated with distress or problems and can interfere with social situations, school activities, and family activities.

MI/I/DD – Major Mental Illness, and/or an Intellectual Developmental Disability – includes conditions from each of the different categories.

MMH – Mild-Moderate Mentally Impaired – A person with MMH are slower in all areas of conceptual development and social and daily living skills. These people can learn practical life skill and can function in ordinary life without much support.

MR/DD – Mental Retardation/Developmental Disability – This refers to a person with a group of severe, life long, chronic mental and physical conditions that affect language, learning, mobility and other functions occurring before age 22.

NOS – Not Otherwise-Specified – This term is used as a catch-all term to label symptoms that do not fit well into a well-defined diagnosis but indicates someone is dealing with an illness that is part of a specific family of diagnoses. According to the DSM 5, NOS is considered outdated.

OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – An anxiety disorder where people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations that make them feel driven to do something over and over, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning.

PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – A mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event – either through experience it or witnessing its. People with PTSD may have flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety.

SED – Serius Emotional Disturbance – A diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder in the past year, which resulted in functional impairment which substantially interferes with or limits the child’s role or functioning in family, school, or community.

SUD – Substance Use Disorder – A disorder which occurs when repeated use of alcohol and/or drugs causes a great deal of impairment, including health problems, disabilities and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, home, or school.

SMI – Serious Mental Illness – Refers to a group of biochemical/neurological conditions of the brain resulting in distorted perceptions, delusions, hallucinations, disordered/confused thinking, unstable emotions and behavior.

TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury – An injury to the brain caused by an external force such as a car accident. A person with a TBI often requires bout acute and long-term care rehabilitation. A TBI which occurs before age 22 may result in a developmental disability.

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