Glossary of terms

TermDefinition
acute Symptoms that are short lasting but require urgent treatment because they tend to be more intense or severe. The opposite of acute is chronic.
acute symptoms Symptoms that are short lasting but require urgent treatment because they tend to be more intense or severe. The opposite of acute is chronic.
adjunct/adjunctive treatments Treatments that supplement or are added on to the main treatment.
adjunctive Treatment that supplements or has been added on to the main treatment
bipolar disorder A type of mental health condition that affects a person’s mood, energy, thoughts and behaviour. There are two types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder.
chronic symptoms Symptoms that are long-lasting and have long-term effects. The opposite of chronic is acute.
circadian rhythms Changes to your body, behaviour and thinking that follow a roughly 24-hour (daily) cycle. These changes occur mainly in response to light and darkness in a person’s environment.
clinical consensus When a group of experts agree on a particular area of clinical knowledge, for example the use of a particular treatment in BPII. These experts agree that this knowledge is based on the latest evidence.
clinician A health professional who sees patients.
Clinicians Health professionals who see patients.
complementary treatment A type of treatment that gets used together with conventional or mainstream treatment, such as medications and psychological treatments. An example of a complementary treatment is taking fish oil supplements in addition to medication to help lessen symptoms of depression.
cons The disadvantages of a particular option. Cons of a type of treatment might include the risks, side effects, safety concerns or harms, or other negative features.
cycle Experiencing an episode of depression, mania or hypomania followed by a period of wellness or by another episode. This may be called a mood swing and can happen periodically over time.
delayed effects When there is a period of time or ‘delay’ between starting to take a new medication and that medication starting to produce results or ‘work’.
depression A ‘low’ mood lasting two weeks or more, characterised by sadness or flatness as well as a loss of interest or pleasure in most things.
episode/mood episode An instance or period of time when a person experiences symptoms of depression, mania or hypomania.
family-focussed therapy A type of psychological treatment and is a therapy that involves both the person with BPII and their family; they are considered a “unit”. It is based on evidence that stress and interactions in the family have an influence on relapse, and aims to improve communication and problem-solving skills in the family to avoid relapse.
full manic episode A ‘high’ mood which is characterised by feeling excessively happy, elevated or irritable or more ‘wired’ and ‘hyper’ than usual. Mania is longer and more severe than hypomania, and may include psychotic experiences or require hospitalisation. Mania does not occur in BPII, it only occurs in bipolar I (BPI) disorder.
hypomania A ‘high’ mood characterised by feeling excessively happy, elevated or irritable or more wired and hyper than usual. Hypomania is shorter and less severe than mania, and does not include psychotic experiences. It occurs in BPII, but may also occur in bipolar I disorder.
interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) A type of psychological therapy based on the idea that stressful life events and unstable or disrupted daily routines can interfere with circadian rhythms in people with BPII. Unstable circadian rhythms are linked to poor wake/sleep cycles which can trigger hypomania or depression. IPSRT aims to manage illness symptoms and prevent relapse by introducing routines aimed at stabilising circadian rhythms via stabilising social rhythms (e.g., fixing wake time across 7 days of the week, keeping regula
mania A ‘high’ mood which is characterised by feeling excessively happy, elevated or irritable or more ‘wired’ and ‘hyper’ than usual. Mania is longer and more severe than hypomania, and may include psychotic experiences or require hospitalisation. Mania does not occur in BPII, it only occurs in bipolar I (BPI) disorder.
mixed episodes When a person experiences symptoms of depression or hypomania at the same time.
mixed states When a person experiences symptoms of depression or hypomania at the same time.
omega-3 fatty acids A type of polyunsaturated fatty acids that occur naturally in certain fish (e.g. salmon, swordfish, tuna) and plants (e.g. flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil).
pharmacological Treatment options that involve medication.
prophylaxis/prophylactic A preventative approach to treatment that involves maintaining wellness and preventing illness (for example, symptoms of depression and hypomania). This is rather than treating symptoms when they occur.
pros The advantages of a particular option. Pros of treatment might include the benefits, safety, or other positive aspects of a treatment.
psychological treatments Treatments that help a person to understand and work through problems by identifying and changing patterns of thinking and behaviour. These treatments also help people to learn skills so they can cope with challenges in their life as they arise. These are also called psychotherapies or talking therapies.
psychotic (experiences) or psychosis When a person perceives or interprets things (hallucinations or delusions) so differently from other people around them that they are said to be disconnected from reality.
psychotic experiences When a person perceives or interprets things (hallucinations or delusions) so differently from other people around them that they are said to be disconnected from reality.
rapid cycling When a person experiences four or more episodes of depression or hypomania in a year.
recurrent When symptoms return or happen time-after-time.
recurrent symptoms When symptoms return or happen time-after-time.
remission When symptoms have improved or subsided so that they can be managed and are not getting any worse.
Steven-Johnson’s A rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucus membranes. It appears as a red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters. It is associated with high fever and a general sense of feeling unwell. The rash usually begins on the upper torso, upper extremities and/or face.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome A rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucus membranes. It appears as a red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters. It is associated with high fever and a general sense of feeling unwell. The rash usually begins on the upper torso, upper extremities and/or face.
subsyndromal symptoms Milder symptoms that are not severe enough to be diagnosed as a full episode of depression or hypomania.
talking therapies A general term for psychological treatments that involve talking to someone (e.g. a psychologist) who is trained to help address difficulties or problems in your life and manage them better through developing strategies.