(Please note we are updating this glossary)

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)


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.


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 

Cochrane has recently created eight new Networks of Cochrane Review Groups (CRGs). The formation of these networks provides a timely opportunity to review the scope of all CRGs and to consider changes where appropriate. In response to concerns raised by members of the CFS/ME community, Cochrane has been considering repositioning the editorial oversight of CFS/ME reviews. The Cochrane Common Mental Disorders Review Group currently sits within the Brain, Nerves and Mind (BNM) Network. In the future, reviews on this topic might sit with another Cochrane Review Group within the BNM Network, or they might transfer to another Network altogether, such as the Long Term Conditions and Ageing 2 Network. This is currently under consideration and a decision is anticipated before the end of 2018.

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.


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.


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


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.


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.

Münchausens 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.


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


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.


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.