Glossary

The following glossary has not been updated recently. We are undertaking a project to consider plain language definitions of conditions in our scope and the output of that project will lead to revisions of this glossary in due course.

Adjustment Disorder
Maladaptive reactions to identifiable psychosocial stressors occurring within a short time after onset of the stressor. They are manifested by either impairment in social or occupational functioning or by symptoms (depression, anxiety, etc.) that are in excess of a normal and expected reaction to the stressor.

Affective Disorders
Long-standing illnesses characterized by either sustained or intermittent disturbance in mood with no psychotic features, such as delusions, hallucinations, etc.

Affective symptoms
Mood or emotional responses dissonant with or inappropriate to the behavior and/or stimulus.

Anorexia Nervosa
Syndrome in which the primary features include excessive fear of becoming overweight, body image disturbance, significant weight loss, refusal to maintain minimal normal weight, and amenorrhea. This disorder occurs most frequently in adolescent females. (APA Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, 7th ed)

Anxiety
Persistent feeling of dread, apprehension, and impending disaster.

Anxiety Disorders
Disorders in which anxiety (persistent feelings of apprehension, tension, or uneasiness) is the predominant disturbance.

Attempted Suicide
The unsuccessful attempt to kill oneself.

Bipolar Disorder
A major affective disorder marked by severe mood swings (manic or major depressive episodes) and a tendency to remission and recurrence.

Bulimia
Episodic binge eating associated with the fear of not being able to stop eating, depressed mood, and self-deprecating thoughts. Binges are frequently terminated by self-induced vomiting. The bulimic episodes are not due to ANOREXIA NERVOSA or any known physical disorder.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Syndrome of unknown cause, characterized by clinically evaluated, unexplained persistent or relapsing chronic fatigue of at least six months' duration which is not the result of ongoing exertion; is not substantially alleviated by rest; and results in substantial reduction of previous levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities. Common concurrent symptoms (of sixmonths duration) include impairment of memory or concentration, diffuse pain, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity, and unrefreshing sleep. The etiology is suspected to be viral or immunologic. There are suggestions that chronic fatigue syndrome (sometimes called myalgicencephalomyelitis) may be identical to neurasthenia and fibromyalgia.

Combat Disorder
Neurotic reactions to unusual, severe, or overwhelming military stress.

Conversion Disorder
A disorder whose predominant feature is a loss or alteration in physical functioning that suggests a physical disorder but that is actually a direct expression of a psychological conflict or need.

Depression
Depressive states usually of moderate intensity in contrast with major depression present in neurotic and psychotic disorders.

Depressive Disorder
An affective disorder manifested by either a dysphoric mood or loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities. The mood disturbance is prominent and relatively persistent.

Dysthymic Disorder
Chronically depressed mood that occurs for most of the day more days than not for at least 2 years. The required minimum duration in children to make this diagnosis is 1 year. During periods of depressed mood, at least 2 of the following additional symptoms are present: poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or hypersomnia, low energy or fatigue, low self esteem, poor concentration or difficulty making decisions, and feelings of hopelessness (DSM-IV).

Eating Disorders
A group of disorders characterized by physiological and psychological disturbances in appetite or food intake. They include ANOREXIA NERVOSA, BULIMIA, HYPERPHAGIA, PICA, and rumination.

Frigidity
Psychogenically inhibited female sexual response manifested by a variety of difficulties ranging from complete lack of sexual response to incomplete orgastic climax.

Hypochondriasis
Persistent overconcern with the state of physical or emotional health accompanied by various bodily complaints without demonstrable organic pathology.

Hysteria (conversion disorder)
A chronic, but fluctuating, disorder beginning in early life and characterized by recurrent and multiple somatic complaints for which medical attention is sought, but which are not apparently due to physical illness.

Impotence
The inability of the male to perform sexual intercourse.

Manic Disorder
An affective psychotic disorder in which the predominant mood is either elevated, expansive, or irritable. Associated symptoms include hyperactivity, flight of ideas, inflated self-esteem, etc.

Mental Disorders
Psychiatric illness or diseases manifested by breakdowns in the adaptational process expressed primarily as abnormalities of thought, feeling, and behavior producing either distress or impairment of function.

M√ľnchausens Syndromes
A factitious disorder characterized by habitual presentation for hospital treatment of an apparent acute illness, the patient giving a plausible and dramatic history, all of which is false.

Neurasthenia
A neurosis characterized by chronic fatigue and concomitant physiologic symptoms.

Neurotic Disorder
Disorders in which the symptoms are distressing to the individual and recognized by him or her as being unacceptable. Social relationships may be greatly affected but usually remain within acceptable limits. The disturbance is relatively enduring or recurrent without treatment.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
An anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, persistent obsessions orcompulsions. Obsessions are the intrusive ideas, thoughts, or images that are experienced as senseless or repugnant. Compulsions are repetitive and seemingly purposeful behavior which the individual generally recognizes as senseless and from which the individual does not derive pleasure although it may provide a release from tension

Panic
A state of extreme acute, intense anxiety and unreasoning fear accompanied by disorganization of personality function.

Panic Disorder
A type of anxiety disorder characterized by unexpected panic attacks that last minutes or, rarely, hours. Panic attacks begin with intense apprehension, fear or terror and, often, a feeling of impending doom. Symptoms experienced during a panic attack include dyspnea or sensations of being smothered; dizziness, loss of balance or faintness; choking sensations; palpitations or accelerated heart rate; shakiness; sweating; nausea or other form of abdominal distress; depersonalization or derealization; paresthesias; hot flashes or chills; chest discomfort or pain; fear of dying and fear of not being in control of oneself or of 'going crazy'. Agoraphobia may also develop. Similar to other anxiety disorders, it may be inherited as an autosomal dominant trait.

Phobic Disorder
Anxiety disorders in which the essential feature is persistent and irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that the individual feels compelled to avoid. The individual recognizes the fear as excessive or unreasonable.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Anxiety disorders manifested by the development of characteristic symptoms following a psychologically traumatic event that is outside the normal range of usual human experience. Symptoms include re-experiencing the traumatic event and numbing of responsiveness to or reduced involvement with the external world.

Psychological stress
Stress wherein emotional factors predominate.

Psychosexual Disorders
Sexual disorders which are assumed to be due to psychological factors. They include transsexualism, the paraphilias, and the psychosexual dysfunctions--dyspareunia, frigidity, and impotence.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
A syndrome characterized by depressions that recur annually at the same time each year, usually during the winter months. Other symptoms include anxiety, irritability, decreased energy, increased appetite (carbohydrate cravings), increased duration of sleep, and weight gain. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) can be treated by daily exposure to bright artificial lights (PHOTOTHERAPY), during the season of recurrence.

Self-injurious Behaviour
Behaviour in which persons hurt or harm themselves without the motive of suicide or of sexual deviation. The most common expressions of this behavior are head-banging, biting, head-hitting, body-hitting, and scratching. The most frequently encountered injuries are excoriations, scars/callus formation, hematomas, and local infections.

Self-mutilation
The act of injuring one's own body to the extent of cutting off or permanently destroying a limb or other essential part of a body.

Somatoform Disorders
Disorders characterized by physical symptoms suggesting a physical disorder for which there are no demonstrable organic findings and for which there is strongor positive evidence that they are linked to psychological factors. Unlike the factitious disorders, the symptom production is not under voluntary control.