Breathing-related sleep disorder

Breathing-related sleep disorder is marked by sleep disruption caused by abnormal breathing during sleep. The most common complaint of individuals with breathing-related sleep disorder is excessive daytime sleepiness, brought on by frequent interruptions of nocturnal, or nighttime, sleep.

Brief psychotic disorder

Brief psychotic disorder is a short-term, time-limited disorder. An individual with brief psychotic disorder has experienced at least one of the major symptoms of psychosis for less than one month.

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by binge eatingand engaging in inappropriate ways of counteracting the bingeing (using laxatives, for example) in order to prevent weight gain. The word "bulimia" is the Latin form of the Greek word boulimia, which means "extreme hunger." A binge is consuming a larger amount of food within a limited period of time than most people would eat in similar circumstances.


Bupropion is an antidepressant drug used to elevate mood and promote recovery of a normal range of emotions in patients with depressive disorders. In addition, bupropion is used to as an aid in smoking cessation treatment.


Buspirone is an anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) drug sold in the United States under the brand name of BuSpar. It is also available under its generic name.

Caffeine-related disorders

Caffeine is a white, bitter crystalline alkaloid derived from coffee or tea. It belongs to a class of compounds called xanthines, its chemical formula being 1,3,7-trimethylxanthine.

Cannabis and related disorders

Cannabis, more commonly called marijuana, refers to the several varieties of Cannabis sativa, or Indian hemp plant, that contains the psychoactive drug delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis-related disorders refer to problems associated with the use of substances derived from this plant.


Carbamazepine is an anticonvulsant that is structurally related to tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline and imipramine. In the United States, carbamazepine is sold under the trade names Tegretol and Carbatrol.

Case management

Case management assigns the administration of care for an outpatient individual with a serious mental illness to a single person (or team); this includes coordinating all necessary medical and mental health care, along with associated supportive services.


Catatonia is a disturbance of motor behavior that can have either a psychological or neurological cause. Its most well-known form involves a rigid, immobile position that is held by a person for a considerable length of time— often days, weeks, or longer.

Catatonic disorders

Catatonic disorders are a group of symptoms characterized by disturbances in motor (muscular movement) behavior that may have either a psychological or a physiological basis. The best-known of these symptoms is immobility, which is a rigid positioning of the body held for a considerable length of time.


Chamomile is a plant that has been used since ancient Egypt in a variety of healing applications. Chamomile is a native of the Old World; it is related to the daisy family, having strongly scented foliage and flowers with white petals and yellow centers.

Child Depression Inventory

The Child Depression Inventory (CDI) is a symptom-oriented instrument for assessing depression in children between the ages of seven and 17 years. The basic CDI consists of 27 items, but a 10-item short form is also available for use as a screener.

Childhood disintegrative disorder

Thomas Heller, an Austrian educator, first described childhood disintegrative disorder in 1908. It is a complex disorder that affects many different areas of the child's development.

Children's Apperception Test

The Children's Apperception Test, often abbreviated as CAT, is an individually administered projective personality test appropriate for children aged three to 10 years.

Chloral hydrate


Chlordiazepoxide is used for the treatment of anxiety. It is a member of the benzodiazepine family of compounds, which slow the central nervous system in order to ease tension or nervousness.


Chlorpromazine is an antipsychotic drug. It is a member of the phenothiazine family of compounds and is used to alleviate the symptoms and signs of psychosis.

Circadian rhythm sleep disorder

Circadian rhythm sleep disorder is a persistent or recurring pattern of sleep disruption resulting either from an altered sleep-wake schedule or an inequality between a person's natural sleep-wake cycle and the sleep-related demands placed on him or her. The term circadian rhythm refers to a person's internal sleep and wake-related rhythms that occur throughout a 24-hour period.


Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant drug that is sold in the United States under brand name Celexa.

Clinical Assessment Scales for the Elderly

The Clinical Assessment Scales for the Elderly, often abbreviated as CASE, is a diagnostic tool used to deter mine the presence of mental disorders and other conditions in elderly adults.


Clomipramine is an antidepressant drug used primarily to alleviate obsessions and compulsions in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Clomipramine is also used in the treatment of depressive disorders and in a number of other psychiatric and medical conditions.


Clonazepam belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are medications that help relieve nervousness, tension, symptoms of anxiety, and some types of seizures by slowing the central nervous system.


Clonidine belongs to a class of drugs called central alpha-adrenergic agonists. In the United States, clonidine tablets are sold under the brand name Catapres and clonidine skin patches are sold under the brand name Catapres-TTS.


Clorazepate is a medication that belongs to a family of drugs called benzodiazepines—a group of pharmacologically active compounds used to produce a calming effect by relieving anxiety and tension. In the United States, clorazepate is sold under brand names Tranxene and Gen-XENE.


Clozapine is an antipsychotic drug used to alleviate the symptoms and signs of schizophrenia—a form of severe mental illness— which is characterized by loss of contact with reality, hallucinations, delusions, and unusual behavior. In the United States, the drug is also known by the brand name Clozaril.

Cocaine and related disorders

Cocaine is extracted from the coca plant, which grows in Central and South America. The substance is processed into many forms for use as an illegal drug of abuse.


The Cognistat is a standardized neurobehavioral screening test. It is a test that examines neurological (brain and central nervous system) health in relation to a person's behavior.

Cognitive problem-solving skills training

Cognitive problem-solving skills training (CPSST) attempts to decrease a child's inappropriate or disruptive behaviors by teaching the child new skills for approaching situations that previously provoked negative behavior. Using both cognitive and behavioral techniques and focusing on the child more than on the parents or the family unit, CPSST helps the child gain the ability to self-manage thoughts and feelings and interact appropriately with others by developing new perspectives and solutions.

Cognitive remediation

Cognitive remediation is a teaching process that targets areas of neuropsychological functioning involved in learning and basic day-to-day functioning.

Cognitive retraining

Cognitive retraining is a therapeutic strategy that seeks to improve or restore a person's skills in the areas of paying attention, remembering, organizing, reasoning and understanding, problem-solving, decision making, and higher level cognitive abilities. These skills are all interrelated.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive therapy is a psychosocial (both psychological and social) therapy that assumes that faulty thought patterns (called cognitive patterns) cause maladaptive behavior and emotional responses. The treatment focuses on changing thoughts in order to solve psychological and personality problems.

Communication skills and disorders

Communication skills are the skills needed to use language (spoken, written, signed, or otherwise communicated) to interact with others, and communication disorders are problems related to the development of these skills.

Community mental health

Community mental health is a decentralized pattern of mental health, mental health care, or other services for people with mental illnesses. Community-based care is designed to supplement and decrease the need for more costly inpatient mental health care delivered in hospitals.


Compliance with appropriate, recommended, and prescribed mental health treatments simply means that a person is following a doctor's orders. Compliance is more likely when there is agreement and confidence regarding the medical diagnosis and prognosis.


A compulsion is a repetitive, excessive, meaningless activity or mental exercise that a person performs in an attempt to avoid distress or worry.

Computed tomography

Computed tomography scanning, also called CT scan, CAT scan, or computerized axial tomography, is a diagnostic tool that provides views of internal body structures using x rays. In the field of mental health, a CT scan may be used when a patient seeks medical help for symptoms that could possibly be caused by a brain tumor.

Conduct disorder

Conduct disorder is a childhood behavior disorder characterized by aggressive and destructive activities that cause disruptions in the child's natural environments such as home, school, church, or the neighborhood. The overriding feature of conduct disorder is the repetitive and persistent pattern of behaviors that violate societal norms and the rights of other people.

Conners' Rating Scales-Revised

Developed by C. Keith Conners, Ph.D., the Conners' Rating Scales-Revised (CRS-R) are paper and pencil screening questionnaires designed to be completed by parents and teachers to assist in evaluating children for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Conversion disorder

Conversion disorder is defined by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision, also known as the DSM-IV-TR,as a mental disorder whose central feature is the appearance of symptoms affecting the patient's senses or voluntary movements that suggest a neurological or general medical disease or condition. Somatoform disorders are marked by persistent physical symptoms that cannot be fully explained by a medical condition, substance abuse, or other mental disorder, and seem to stem from psychological issues or conflicts.

Couples therapy

Couples therapy is a form of psychological therapy used to treat relationship distress for both individuals and couples.

Covert sensitization

Covert sensitization is a form of behavior therapy in which an undesirable behavior is paired with an unpleasant image in order to eliminate that behavior.

Creative therapies

Creative therapy refers to a group of techniques that are expressive and creative in nature. The aim of creative therapies is to help clients find a form of expression beyond words or traditional therapy, such as cognitive or psychotherapy.

Crisis housing

Crisis housing (or crisis residential services) are supervised short-term residential alternatives to hospitalization for adults with serious mental illnesses or children with serious emotional or behavioral disturbances.

Crisis intervention

Crisis intervention refers to the methods used to offer immediate, short-term help to individuals who experience an event that produces emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral distress or problems. A crisis can refer to any situation in which the individual perceives a sudden loss of his or her ability to use effective problem-solving and coping skills.

Cyclothymic disorder

Cyclothymic disorder, also known as cyclothymia, is a relatively mild form of bipolar II disorder characterized by mood swings that may appear to be almost within the normal range of emotions. These mood swings range from mild depression, or dysthymia, to mania of low intensity, or hypomania.


Deinstitutionalization is a long-term trend wherein fewer people reside as patients in mental hospitals and fewer mental health treatments are delivered in public hospitals. This trend is directly due to the process of closing public hospitals and the ensuing transfers of patients to community-based mental health services in the late twentieth century.


Delirium is a medical condition characterized by a vascillating general disorientation, which is accompanied by cognitive impairment, mood shift, self-awareness, and inability to attend (the inability to focus and maintain attention). The change occurs over a short period of time— hours to days— and the disturbance in consciousness fluctuates throughout the day.

Delusional disorder

Delusional disorder is characterized by the presence of recurrent, persistent non-bizarre delusions.


A delusion is a belief that is clearly false and that indicates an abnormality in the affected person's content of thought. The false belief is not accounted for by the person's cultural or religious background or his or her level of intelligence.