A problem stemming from an inability to appropriately adapt to a different
culture or environment. The problem is not based on any coexisting mental
A neurotransmitter in the brain, which helps to regulate memory, and in
the peripheral nervous system, where it affects the actions of skeletal
and smooth muscle.
acting out This is
the process of expressing unconscious emotional conflicts or feelings via
actions rather than words. The person is not consciously aware of the meaning
or etiology of such acts. Acting out may be harmful or, in controlled situations,
therapeutic (e.g., children's play therapy).
The realization of one's full potential - intellectual, psychological,
The inability to perform rapid alternating movements of one or more of
the extremities. This task is sometimes requested by physicians of
patients during physical examinations to determine if there exists neurological
refers to neuronal or neurologic activity caused by neurotransmitters such
as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
affect This word
is used to described observable behavior that represents the expression
of a subjectively experienced feeling state (emotion). Common examples
of affect are sadness, fear, joy, and anger. The normal range of expressed
affect varies considerably between different cultures and even within the
same culture. Types of affect include: euthymic, irritable, constricted;
blunted; flat; inappropriate, and labile.
affective disorders Refers
to disorders of mood. Examples would include Major Depressive Disorder,
Dysthymia, Depressive Disorder, N.O.S., Adjustment Disorder with Depressed
Mood, Bipolar Disorder...
age-associated memory impairment
(AAMI) The mild disturbance in memory function that occurs normally with
aging; benign senescent forgetfulness. Such lapses in memory are
lately humorously referred to as representing "a senior moment".
agitation) Excessive motor activity that accompanies and is associated
with a feeling of inner tension. The activity is usually nonproductive
and repetitious and consists of such behavior as pacing, fidgeting, wringing
of the hands, pulling of clothes, and inability to sit still.
agnosia Failure to
recognize or identify objects despite intact sensory function; This may
be seen in dementia of various types. An example would be the failure
of someone to recognize a paper clip placed in their hand while keeping
their eyes closed.
agonist medication A
chemical entity that is not naturally occuring within the body which acts
upon a receptor and is capable of producing the maximal effect that can
be produced by stimulating that receptor. A partial agonist is capable
only of producing less than the maximal effect even when given in a concentration
sufficient to bind with all available receptors.
A chemical entity that is not naturally occuring within the body which
acts on a family of receptors (such as mu, delta, and kappa opiate receptors)
in such a fashion that it is an agonist or partial agonist on one type
of receptor while at the same time it is also an antagonist on another
about being in places or situations in which escape might be difficut or
embarrassing or in which help may not be available should a panic attack
occur. The fears typically relate to venturing into the open, of leaving
the familiar setting of one's home, or of being in a crowd, standing in
line, or traveling in a car or train. Although agoraphobia usually occurs
as a part of panic disorder, agoraphobia without a history of panic disorder
has been described as also occuring without other disorders.
loss of a pre-existing ability to express one's self through the act of
of restlessness accompanied by movements such as fidgeting of the legs,
rocking from foot to foot, pacing, or inability to sit or stand. Symptoms
can develop within a few weeks of starting or raising the dose of traditional
neuroleptic medications or of reducing the dose of medication used to treat
extrapyramidal symptoms. akathisia is a state of motor restlessness ranging
from a feeling of inner disquiet to inability to sit still or lie quietly.
akinesia A state
of motor inhibition or reduced voluntary movement.
akinetic mutism A
state of apparent alertness with following eye movements but no speech
or voluntary motor responses.
alexia Loss of
a previously intact ability to grasp the meaning of written or printed
words and sentences.
disturbance in affective and cognitive function that can be present in
an assortment of diagnostic entities. Is common in psychosomatic
disorders, addictive disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder. The
chief manifestations are difficulty in describing or recognizing one's
own emotions, a limited fantasy life, and general constriction in affective
estrangement felt in a setting one views as foreign, unpredictable, or
unacceptable. For example, in depersonalization phenomena, feelings of
unreality or strangeness produce a sense of alienation from one's self
to adaptation by means of altering the external environment. This can be
contrasted to autoplastic, which refers to the alteration of one's own
behavior and responses.
alogia An impoverishment
in thinking that is inferred from observing speech and language behavior.
There may be brief and concrete replies to questions and restriction in
the amount of spontaneous speech (poverty of speech). Sometimes the speech
is adequate in amount but conveys little information because it is overconcrete,
overabstract, repetitive, or stereotyped (poverty of content).
coexistence of contradictory emotions, attitudes, ideas, or desires with
respect to a particular person, object, or situation. Ordinarily, the ambivalence
is not fully conscious and suggests psychopathology only when present in
an extreme form.
development of the mind, with particular reference to intellectual capacities;
a type of severe mental retardation.
amimia A disorder
of language characterized by an inability to make gestures or to understand
the significance of gestures.
compounds containing the amino group. Amines such as epinephrine and norepinephrine
are significant because they function as neurotransmitters.
amnesia Loss of memory.
Types of amnesia include: anterograde Loss of memory of events that occur
after the onset of the etiological condition or agent. retrograde Loss
of memory of events that occurred before the onset of the etiological condition
amok A culture specific
syndrome from Malay involving acute indiscriminate homicidal mania .
is a structure of the brain which is part of the basal ganglia located
on the roof of the temporal horn of the lateral ventricle at the inferior
end of the caudate nucleus. It is a structure in the forebrain that is
an important component of the limbic system.
amyloid Any one
of various complex proteins that are deposited in tissues in different
disease processes. These proteins have an affinity for Congo red dye. In
neuropsychiatry, of particular interest are the beta-amyloid (A4) protein,
which is the major component of the characteristic senile plaques of Alzheimer's
disease, and the amyloid precursor protein (APP).
psychoanalytic terminology, dependence of the infant on the mother or mother
substitute for a sense of well-being. This is considered normal behavior
in childhood, but pathologic in later years.
anal stage The period
of pregenital psychosexual development, usually from 1 to 3 years, in which
the child has particular interest and concern with the process of defecation
and the sensations connected with the anus. The pleasurable part of the
experience is termed anal eroticism.
developmental history of a patient and of his or her illness, especially
anankastic personality Synonym
for obsessive-compulsive personality.
androgyny A combination
of male and female characteristics in one person.
to experience pleasure from activities that usually produce pleasurable
feelings. Contrast with hedonism.
anima In Jungian
psychology, a person's inner being as opposed to the character or persona
presented to the world. Further, the anima may be the more feminine "soul"
or inner self of a man, and the animus the more masculine soul of a woman.
alienation, and personal distress resulting from the loss of goals previously
valued. Emile Durkheim popularized this term when he listed it as a principal
reason for suicide.
apparent unawareness of or failure to recognize one's own functional defect
(e.g., hemiplegia, hemianopsia).
A chemical entity that is not naturally occuring within the body which
occupies a receptor, produces no physiologic effects, and prevents endogenous
and exogenous chemicals from producing an effect on that receptor.
anxiety The apprehensive
anticipation of future danger or misfortune accompanied by a feeling of
dysphoria or somatic symptoms of tension. The focus of anticipated danger
may be internal or external. Anxiety is often distinguished from
fear in that fear is a more appropriate word to use when there exists threat
or danger in the real world. Anxiety is reflective more of a threat
that is not apparent or imminent in the real world, at least not to the
apathy Lack of
feeling, emotion, interest, or concern.
aphasia An impairment
in the understanding or transmission of ideas by language in any of its
forms--reading, writing, or speaking--that is due to injury or disease
of the brain centers involved in language.
anomic or amnestic aphasia
Loss of the ability to name objects.
aphonia An inability
to produce speech sounds that require the use of the larynx that is not
due to a lesion in the central nervous system.
as modified and enhanced by one's own emotions, memories, and biases.
to carry out previously learned skilled motor activities despite intact
comprehension and motor function; this may be seen in dementia.
Piagetian term describing a person's ability to comprehend and integrate
to recognize familiar objects by touch that cannot be explained by a defect
of elementary tactile sensation.
ataxia Partial or complete
loss of coordination of voluntary muscular movement.
attention The ability
to focus in a sustained manner on a particular stimulus or activity. A
disturbance in attention may be manifested by easy distractibility or difficulty
in finishing tasks or in concentrating on work
A hallucination involving the perception of sound, most commonly of voices.
Some clinicians and investigators would not include those experiences perceived
as coming from inside the head and would instead limit the concept of true
auditory hallucinations to those sounds whose source is perceived as being
aura A premonitory, subjective
brief sensation (e.g., a flash of light) that warns of an impending headache
or convulsion. The nature of the sensation depends on the brain area in
which the attack begins. Seen in migraine and epilepsy.
self-gratification. Characteristic of, but not limited to, an early stage
of emotional development. Includes satisfactions derived from genital play,
masturbation, fantasy, and oral, anal, and visual sources.
and apparently undirected nonpurposeful behavior that is not consciously
controlled. Seen in psychomotor epilepsy.
to adaptation by changing the self.
to localize and name the parts of one's own body. finger agnosia would
be autotopagnosia restricted to the fingers.
avolition An inability
to initiate and persist in goal-directed activities. When severe enough
to be considered pathological, avolition is pervasive and prevents the
person from completing many different types of activities (e.g., work,
intellectual pursuits, self-care).
of neurons located deep in the brain; they include the caudate nucleus
and the putamen (corpus striatum), the globus pallidus, the subthalamic
nucleus, and the substantia nigra. The basal ganglia appear to be involved
in higher-order aspects of motor control, such as planning and execution
of complex motor activity and the speed of movements. Lesions of the basal
ganglia produce various types of involuntary movements such as athetosis,
chorea, dystonia, and tremor. The basal ganglia are involved also in the
pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and tardive
dyskinesia. The internal capsule, containing all the fibers that ascend
to or descend from the cortex, runs through the basal ganglia and separates
them from the thalamus.
sexual relations between a human being and an animal. See also paraphilia.
An agent that inhibits the action of beta-adrenergic receptors, which modulate
cardiac functions, respiratory functions, and the dilation of blood vessels.
Beta-blockers are of value in the treatment of hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias,
and migraine. In psychiatry, they have been used in the treatment of aggression
and violence, anxiety-related tremors and lithium-induced tremors, neuroleptic-induced
akathisia, social phobias, panic states, and alcohol withdrawal.
bizarre delusion A
delusion that involves a phenomenon that the person's culture would regard
as totally implausible.
blind spot Visual
scotoma, a circumscribed area of blindness or impaired vision in the visual
field; by extension, an area of the personality of which the subject is
unaware, typically because recognition of this area would cause painful
blocking A sudden
obstruction or interruption in spontaneous flow of thinking or speaking,
perceived as an absence or deprivation of thought.
blunted affect An
affect type that represents significant reduction in the
intensity of emotional expression
body image One's
sense of the self and one's body.
Neurologic condition characterized by a generalized slowness of motor activity.
Broca's aphasia Loss
of the ability to comprehend language coupled with production of inappropriate
bruxism Grinding of
the teeth, occurs unconsciously while awake or during stage 2 sleep. May
be secondary to anxiety, tension, or dental problems.
Capgras' syndrome The
delusion that others, or the self, have been replaced by imposters. It
typically follows the development of negative feelings toward the other
person that the subject cannot accept and attributes, instead, to the imposter.
The syndrome has been reported in paranoid schizophrenia and, even more
frequently, in organic brain disease.
catalepsy Waxy flexibility--rigid
maintenance of a body position over an extended period of time.
of sudden bilateral loss of muscle tone resulting in the individual collapsing,
often in association with intense emotions such as laughter, anger, fear,
catatonic behavior Marked
motor abnormalities including motoric immobility (i.e., catalepsy or stupor),
certain types of excessive motor activity (apparently purposeless agitation
not influenced by external stimuli), extreme negativism (apparent motiveless
resistance to instructions or attempts to be moved) or mutism, posturing
or stereotyped movements, and echolalia or echopraxia
catharsis The healthful
(therapeutic) release of ideas through "talking out" conscious material
accompanied by an appropriate emotional reaction. Also, the release into
awareness of repressed ("forgotten") material from the unconscious. See
conscious or unconscious, of emotional feeling and significance to an idea,
an object, or, most commonly, a person.
sensation of intense pain of either organic or psychological origin.
cerea flexibilitas The
"waxy flexibility" often present in catatonic schizophrenia in which the
patient's arm or leg remains in the position in which it is placed.
Pattern of speech that is indirect and delayed in reaching its goal because
of excessive or irrelevant detail or parenthetical remarks. The speaker
does not lose the point, as is characteristic of loosening of associations,
and clauses remain logically connected, but to the listener it seems that
the end will never be reached.
clanging A type of
thinking in which the sound of a word, rather than its meaning, gives the
direction to subsequent associations.
period in women. Sometimes used to refer to the corresponding age period
in men. Also called involutional period.
to thoughts or thinking. Cognitive disorders are disorders of thinking,
for example, schizophrenia.
simultaneous appearance of two or more illnesses, such as the co-occurrence
of schizophrenia and substance abuse or of alcohol dependence and depression.
The association may reflect a causal relationship between one disorder
and another or an underlying vulnerability to both disorders. Also, the
appearance of the illnesses may be unrelated to any common etiology or
A defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, by which one attempts to
make up for real or fancied deficiencies. Also a conscious process in which
one strives to make up for real or imagined defects of physique, performance
skills, or psychological attributes. The two types frequently merge. See
ritualistic behavior such as hand washing or ordering or a mental act such
as praying or repeating words silently that aims to prevent or reduce distress
or prevent some dreaded event or situation. The person feels driven to
perform such actions in response to an obsession or according to rules
that must be applied rigidly, even though the behaviors are recognized
to be excessive or unreasonable.
to one's basic strivings as expressed in behavior and actions
Thinking characterized by immediate experience, rather than abstractions.
It may occur as a primary, developmental defect, or it may develop secondary
to organic brain disease or schizophrenia.
psychological process, often present in dreams, in which two or more concepts
are fused so that a single symbol represents the multiple components.
Fabrication of stories in response to questions about situations or events
that are not recalled.
communication that deliberately pressures or invites another to self-examine
some aspect of behavior in which there is a discrepancy between self-reported
and observed behavior.
Affect type that represents mild reduction in the range and intensity of
An acquired difficulty in drawing two-dimensional objects or forms, or
in producing or copying three-dimensional arrangements of forms or shapes.
In operant or instrumental conditioning, ensuring that desired behavior
is followed by positive consequences and that undesired behavior is not
conversion A defense
mechanism, operating unconsciously, by which intrapsychic conflicts that
would otherwise give rise to anxiety are instead given symbolic external
expression. The repressed ideas or impulses, and the psychological defenses
against them, are converted into a variety of somatic symptoms. These may
include such symptoms as paralysis, pain, or loss of sensory function.
coping mechanisms Ways
of adjusting to environmental stress without altering one's goals or purposes;
includes both conscious and unconscious mechanisms.
of filth or feces.
Deliberately seeking out and exposing onself to, rather than avoiding,
the object or situation that is consciously or unconsciously feared.
The therapist's emotional reactions to the patient that are based on the
therapist's unconscious needs and conflicts, as distinguished from his
or her conscious responses to the patient's behavior. Countertransference
may interfere with the therapist's ability to understand the patient and
may adversely affect the therapeutic technique. Currently, there is emphasis
on the positive aspects of countertransference and its use as a guide to
a more empathic understanding of the patient.
cretinism A type
of mental retardation and bodily malformation caused by severe, uncorrected
thyroid deficiency in infancy and early childhood.
cri du chat A type
of mental retardation. The name is derived from a catlike cry emitted by
children with this disorder, which is caused by partial deletion of chromosome
A loss of, or alteration in, voluntary motor or sensory functioning suggesting
a neurological or general medical condition. Psychological factors are
judged to be associated with the development of the symptom, and the symptom
is not fully explained by a neurological or general medical condition or
the direct effects of a substance. The symptom is not intentionally produced
or feigned and is not culturally sanctioned.
Forms of disturbed behavior specific to certain cultural systems that do
not conform to western nosologic entities. Some commonly cited syndromes
are the following: amok; koro; latah; piblokto, and windigo.
Da Costa's syndrome
Neurocirculatory asthenia; "soldier's heart"; a functional disorder of
the circulatory system that is usually a part of an anxiety state or secondary
The deterioration of existing defenses, leading to an exacerbation of pathological
Automatic psychological process that protects the individual against anxiety
and from awareness of internal or external stressors or dangers. Defense
mechanisms mediate the individual's reaction to emotional conflicts and
to external stressors. Some defense mechanisms (e.g., projection, splitting,
and acting out) are almost invariably maladaptive. Others, such as suppression
and denial, may be either maladaptive or adaptive, depending on their severity,
their inflexibility, and the context in which they occur.
A paramnesia consisting of the sensation or illusion that one is seeing what
one has seen before
delusion A false belief
based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained
despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible
and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily
accepted by other members of the person's culture or subculture (e.g., it
is not an article of religious faith). When a false belief involves a value
judgment, it is regarded as a delusion only when the judgment is so extreme
as to defy credibility. Delusional conviction occurs on a continuum and can
sometimes be inferred from an individual's behavior. It is often difficult
to distinguish between a delusion and an overvalued idea (in which case the
individual has an unreasonable belief or idea but does not hold it as firmly
as is the case with a delusion). Delusions are subdivided according to their
content. Some of the more common types are: bizarre; delusional jealousy;
grandiose; delusion of reference; persecutory; somatic; thought broadcasting;
The delusion that one's sexual partner is unfaithful. erotomanic A delusion
that another person, usually of higher status, is in love with the individual.
delusion of reference A
delusion whose theme is that events, objects, or other persons in one's immediate
environment have a particular and unusual significance. These delusions are
usually of a negative or pejorative nature, but also may be grandiose in content.
This differs from an idea of reference, in which the false belief is not as
firmly held nor as fully organized into a true belief.
A defense mechanism where certain information is not accessed by the conscious
mind. Denial is related to repression, a similar defense mechanism, but denial
is more pronounced or intense. Denial involves some impairment of reality.
Denial would be operating (as an example) if a cardiac patient who
has been warned about the potential fatal outcome of engaging in heavy work,
decides to start building a wall of heavy stones.
An alteration in the perception or experience of the self so that one feels
detached from, and as if one is an outside observer of, one's mental processes
or body (e.g., feeling like one is in a dream).
of associations") A pattern of speech in which a person's ideas slip off
one track onto another that is completely unrelated or only obliquely related.
In moving from one sentence or clause to another, the person shifts the
topic idiosyncratically from one frame of reference to another and things
may be said in juxtaposition that lack a meaningful relationship. This
disturbance occurs between clauses, in contrast to incoherence, in which
the disturbance is within clauses. An occasional change of topic without
warning or obvious connection does not constitute derailment.
An alteration in the perception or experience of the external world so
that it seems strange or unreal (e.g., people may seem unfamiliar or mechanical).
activity that is not in accordance with reality, logic, or experience.
detachment A behavior
pattern characterized by general aloofness in interpersonal contact; may
include intellectualization, denial, and superficiality.
diplopia Double vision
due to paralysis of the ocular muscles; seen in inhalant intoxication and
other conditions affecting the oculomotor nerve.
Term coined by Norman Geschwind (1926¾1984) to describe the interruption
of information transferred from one brain region to another.
to act according to one's inner drives or feelings, with less regard for
restraints imposed by cultural norms or one's superego; removal of an inhibitory,
constraining, or limiting influence, as in the escape from higher cortical
control in neurologic injury, or in uncontrolled firing of impulses, as
when a drug interferes with the usual limiting or inhibiting action of
GABA within the central nervous system.
Confusion about the time of day, date, or season (time), where one is (place),
or who one is (person).
dysphoric mood An
unpleasant mood, such as sadness, anxiety, or irritability.
A defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, in which emotions, ideas,
or wishes are transferred from their original object to a more acceptable
substitute; often used to allay anxiety.
disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory,
identity, or perception of the environment. The disturbance may be sudden
or gradual, transient or chronic.
The inability to maintain attention, that is, the shifting from one area
or topic to another with minimal provocation, or attention being drawn
too frequently to unimportant or irrelevant external stimuli.
double bind Interaction
in which one person demands a response to a message containing mutually
contradictory signals, while the other person is unable either to comment
on the incongruity or to escape from the situation.
drive Basic urge, instinct,
motivation; a term used to avoid confusion with the more purely biological
concept of instinct.
dyad A two-person relationship,
such as the therapeutic relationship between doctor and patient in individual
articulation of speech due to disturbances of muscular control or incoordination.
of the sense of taste.
of voluntary movements with involuntary muscular activity.
or difficulty in reading, including word-blindness and a tendency to reverse
letters and words in reading and writing.
disorders of sleep or wakefulness characterized by insomnia or hypersomnia
as the major presenting symptom. Dyssomnias are disorders of the amount,
quality, or timing of sleep.
tonicity of muscles.
pathological, parrotlike, and apparently senseless repetition (echoing)
of a word or phrase just spoken by another person. echolalia Parrot-like
repetition of overheard words or fragments of speech.
by imitation of the movements of another. The action is not a willed or
voluntary one and has a semiautomatic and uncontrollable quality.
ego In psychoanalytic
theory, one of the three major divisions in the model of the psychic apparatus,
the others being the id and the superego. The ego represents the sum of
certain mental mechanisms, such as perception and memory, and specific
mechanisms. It serves to mediate between the demands of primitive instinctual
drives (the id), of internalized parental and social prohibitions (the
superego), and of reality. The compromises between these forces achieved
by the ego tend to resolve intrapsychic conflict and serve an adaptive
and executive function. Psychiatric usage of the term should not be confused
with common usage, which connotes self-love or selfishness.
ego ideal The part
of the personality that comprises the aims and goals for the self; usually
refers to the conscious or unconscious emulation of significant figures
with whom one has identified. The ego ideal emphasizes what one should
be or do in contrast to what one should not be or not do.
Referring to aspects of a person's behavior, thoughts, and attitudes that
are viewed by the self as repugnant or inconsistent with the total personality.
eidetic image Unusually
vivid and apparently exact mental image; may be a memory, fantasy, or dream.
unconscious process consisting of expansion and embellishment of detail,
especially with reference to a symbol or representation in a dream.
elevated mood An
exaggerated feeling of well-being, or euphoria or elation. A person with
elevated mood may describe feeling "high," "ecstatic," "on top of the world,"
or "up in the clouds."
engram A memory
trace; a neurophysiological process that accounts for persistence of memory
from the Greek "epi" (on, upon, on top of) and "genesis" (origin); the
theory that the embryo is not preformed in the ovum or the sperm, but that
it develops gradually by the successive formation of new parts. The concept
has been extended to other areas of medicine, with different shades of
meaning. Some of the other meanings are as follows: 1. Any change in an
organism that is due to outside influences rather than to genetically determined
ones. 2. The occurrence of secondary symptoms as a result of disease. 3.
Developmental factors, and specifically the gene-environment interactions,
that contribute to development. 4. The appearance of new functions that
are not predictable on the basis of knowledge of the part-processes that
have been combined. 5. The appearance of specific features at each stage
of development, such as the different goals and risks that Erikson described
for the eight stages of human life (trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. doubt,
etc.). The life cycle theory adheres to the epigenetic principle in that
each stage of development is characterized by crises or challenges that
must be satisfactorily resolved if development is to proceed normally.
science that concerns itself with the division of human beings into races
and their origin, distribution, relations, and characteristics.
in the "normal" range, which implies the absence of depressed or elevated
expansive mood Lack
of restraint in expressing one's feelings, frequently with an overvaluation
of one's significance or importance. irritable Easily annoyed and provoked
weakening of a reinforced operant response as a result of ceasing reinforcement.
See also operant conditioning. Also, the elimination of a conditioned response
by repeated presentations of a conditioned stimulus without the unconditioned
stimulus. See also respondent conditioning.
A state in which attention and energies are largely directed outward from
the self as opposed to inward toward the self, as in introversion.
fantasy An imagined
sequence of events or mental images (e.g., daydreams) that serves to express
unconscious conflicts, to gratify unconscious wishes, or to prepare for
anticipated future events.
flashback A recurrence
of a memory, feeling, or perceptual experience from the past.
flat affect An affect
type that indicates the absence of signs of affective expression.
flight of ideas
A nearly continuous flow of accelerated speech with abrupt changes from
topic to topic that are usually based on understandable associations, distracting
stimuli, or plays on words. When severe, speech may be disorganized and
A behavior therapy procedure for phobias and other problems involving maladaptive
anxiety, in which anxiety producers are presented in intense forms, either
in imagination or in real life. The presentations, which act as desensitizers,
are continued until the stimuli no longer produce disabling anxiety.
folie à deux
A shared psychotic disorder between 2 people, usually people who are mutually
dependent upon each other.
formal thought disorder
An inexact term referring to a disturbance in the form of thinking rather
than to abnormality of content. See blocking; loosening of associations;
poverty of speech.
tactile hallucination or illusion that insects are crawling on the body
or under the skin.
into different parts, or preventing their integration, or detaching one
or more parts from the rest. A fear of fragmentation of the personality,
also known as disintegration anxiety, is often observed in patients whenever
they are exposed to repetitions of earlier experiences that interfered
with development of the self. This fear may be expressed as feelings of
falling apart, as a loss of identity, or as a fear of impending loss of
one's vitality and of psychological depletion.
In psychoanalytic therapy, spontaneous, uncensored verbalization by the
patient of whatever comes to mind.
of the paraphilias, consisting of recurrent, intense sexual urges involving
touching and rubbing against a nonconsenting person; common sites in which
such activities take place are crowded trains, buses, and elevators. Fondling
the victim may be part of the condition and is called toucherism.
fusion The union and
integration of the instincts and drives so that they complement each other
and help the organism to deal effectively with both internal needs and
resistance to passive movement of the extremities that does not appear
to be under voluntary control.
The disturbing sensation of a lump in the throat.
speech or "speaking in tongues."
gender dysphoria A
persistent aversion toward some or all of those physical characteristics
or social roles that connote one's own biological sex.
gender identity A
person's inner conviction of being male or female.
gender role Attitudes,
patterns of behavior, and personality attributes defined by the culture
in which the person lives as stereotypically "masculine" or "feminine"
inflated appraisal of one's worth, power, knowledge, importance, or identity.
When extreme, grandiosity may be of delusional proportions.
A delusion of inflated worth, power, knowledge, identity, or special relationship
to a deity or famous person.
gustatory hallucination A
hallucination involving the perception of taste (usually unpleasant).
A sensory perception that has the compelling sense of reality of a true
perception but that occurs without external stimulation of the relevant
sensory organ. Hallucinations should be distinguished from illusions, in
which an actual external stimulus is misperceived or misinterpreted. The
person may or may not have insight into the fact that he or she is having
a hallucination. One person with auditory hallucinations may recognize
that he or she is having a false sensory experience, whereas another may
be convinced that the source of the sensory experience has an independent
physical reality. The term hallucination is not ordinarily applied to the
false perceptions that occur during dreaming, while falling asleep (hypnagogic),
or when awakening (hypnopompic). Transient hallucinatory experiences may
occur in people without a mental disorder.
behavior. Contrast with anhedonia.
5-HIAA (5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid)
A major metabolite of serotonin, a biogenic amine found in the brain and
other organs. Functional deficits of serotonin in the central nervous system
have been implicated in certain types of major mood disorders, and particularly
in suicide and impulsivity.
brain; a sea-horse¾shaped structure located within the brain that
is an important part of the limbic system. The hippocampus is involved
in some aspects of memory, in the control of the autonomic functions, and
in emotional expression.
sensitivity to sounds; it may be on an emotional or an organic basis.
sleepiness, as evidenced by prolonged nocturnal sleep, difficulty maintaining
an alert awake state during the day, or undesired daytime sleep episodes.
ideas of reference The feeling that casual incidents and external events
have a particular and unusual meaning that is specific to the person. This
is to be distinguished from a delusion of reference, in which there is
a belief that is held with delusional conviction
to the semiconscious state immediately preceding sleep; may include hallucinations
that are of no pathological significance.
to the state immediately preceding awakening; may include hallucinations
that are of no pathological significance.
id In Freudian theory,
the part of the personality that is the unconscious source of unstructured
desires and drives. See also ego; superego.
A mental mechanism in which the person attributes exaggeratedly positive
qualities to the self or others.
ideas of reference
Incorrect interpretations of casual incidents and external events as having
direct reference to oneself. May reach sufficient intensity to constitute
A defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, by which one patterns oneself
after some other person. Identification plays a major role in the development
of one's personality and specifically of the superego. To be differentiated
from imitation or role modeling, which is a conscious process.
A person with gross mental retardation who nonetheless is capable of performing
certain remarkable feats in sharply circumscribed intellectual areas, such
as calendar calculation or puzzle solving.
illusion A misperception
or misinterpretation of a real external stimulus, such as hearing the rustling
of leaves as the sound of voices. See also hallucination.
imprinting A term
in ethology referring to a process similar to rapid learning or behavioral
patterning that occurs at critical points in very early stages of animal
development. The extent to which imprinting occurs in human development
has not been established.
An affect type that represents an unusual affective expression that does
not match with the content of what is being said or thought.
or thinking that is essentially incomprehensible to others because words
or phrases are joined together without a logical or meaningful connection.
This disturbance occurs within clauses, in contrast to derailment, in which
the disturbance is between clauses. This has sometimes been referred to
as "word salad" to convey the degree of linguistic disorganization. Mildly
ungrammatical constructions or idiomatic usages characteristic of particular
regional or cultural backgrounds, lack of education, or low intelligence
should not be considered incoherence. The term is generally not applied
when there is evidence that the disturbance in speech is due to an aphasia.
A primitive defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, in which the psychic
representation of a person, or parts of the person, is figuratively ingested.
A process of differentiation, the end result of which is development of
the individual personality that is separate and distinct from all others.
of a group of biogenic amines (e.g., serotonin) that contains a five-membered,
nitrogen-containing indole ring and an amine group within its chemical
structure. inhibition Behavioral evidence of an unconscious defense against
forbidden instinctual drives; may interfere with or restrict specific activities.
insomnia A subjective
complaint of difficulty falling or staying asleep or poor sleep quality.
Types of insomnia include:
Difficulty in falling asleep.
instinct An inborn
drive. The primary human instincts include self-preservation, sexuality,
and according to some proponents the death instinct, of which aggression
is one manifestation.
useful organization and incorporation of both new and old data, experience,
and emotional capacities into the personality. Also refers to the organization
and amalgamation of functions at various levels of psychosexual development.
A mental mechanism in which the person engages in excessive abstract thinking
to avoid confrontation with conflicts or disturbing feelings.
A condition in which an individual shows intermingling, in various degrees,
of the characteristics of each sex, including physical form, reproductive
organs, and sexual behavior.
Self-observation; examination of one's feelings, often as a result of psychotherapy.
Preoccupation with oneself and accompanying reduction of interest in the
outside world. Contrast to extraversion.
isolation A defense
mechanism operating unconsciously central to obsessive-compulsive phenomena
in which the affect is detached from an idea and rendered unconscious,
leaving the conscious idea colorless and emotionally neutral.
Chromosomal defect in males in which there is an extra X chromosome; manifestations
may include underdeveloped testes, physical feminization, sterility, and
koro A culture
specific syndrome of China involving fear of retraction of penis into abdomen
with the belief that this will lead to death.
la belle indifférence
Literally, "beautiful indifference." Seen in certain patients with conversion
disorders who show an inappropriate lack of concern about their disabilities.
labile Rapidly shifting (as applied to emotions); unstable.
labile affect An affect
type that indicates abnormal sudden rapid shifts in affect.
latah A culture specific
syndrome of Southeast Asia involving startle-induced disorganization, hypersuggestibility,
automatic obedience, and echopraxia.
latent content The
hidden (i.e., unconscious) meaning of thoughts or actions, especially in
dreams or fantasies. In dreams, it is expressed in distorted, disguised,
condensed, and symbolic form.
A condition in which a person attempts to establish and maintain contact
with another by adopting a helpless, powerless stance.
inability to remember a proper noun or name.
libido The psychic
drive or energy usually associated with the sexual instinct. (Sexual is
used here in the broad sense to include pleasure and love-object seeking.)
A small area in the brain stem containing norepinephrine neurons that is
considered to be a key brain center for anxiety and fear.
The final phase of memory in which information storage may last from hours
to a lifetime.
loosening of associations
A disturbance of thinking shown by speech in which ideas shift from one
subject to another that is unrelated or minimally related to the first.
Statements that lack a meaningful relationship may be juxtaposed, or speech
shift suddenly from one frame of reference to another. The speaker gives
no indication of being aware of the disconnectedness, contradictions, or
illogicality of speech.
macropsia The visual
perception that objects are larger than they actually are.
A conviction that thinking equates with doing. Occurs in dreams in children,
in primitive peoples, and in patients under a variety of conditions. Characterized
by lack of realistic relationship between cause and effect.
manifest content The
remembered content of a dream or fantasy, as contrasted with latent content,
which is concealed and distorted.
derived from physical or psychological pain inflicted on oneself either
by oneself or by others. It is called sexual masochism and classified as
a paraphilia when it is consciously sought as a part of the sexual act
or as a prerequisite to sexual gratification. It is the converse of sadism,
although the two tend to coexist in the same person.
The physical and psychological changes that take place as the brain organizes
and restructures information that may become a permanent part of memory.
A major group of disorders of infancy, childhood, or adolescence characterized
by intellectual functioning that is significantly below average (IQ of
70 or below), manifested before the age of 18 by impaired adaptive functioning
(below expected performance for age in such areas as social or daily living
skills, communication, and self-sufficiency). Different levels of severity
are recognized: an IQ level of 50/55 to 70 is Mild; an IQ level of 35/40
to 50/55 is Moderate; an IQ level of 20/25 to 35/40 is Severe; an IQ level
below 20/25 is Profound.
A major metabolite of brain norepinephrine excreted in urine.
The erroneous belief that one's thoughts, words, or actions will cause
or prevent a specific outcome in some way that defies commonly understood
laws of cause and effect. Magical thinking may be a part of normal child
micropsia The visual
perception that objects are smaller than they actually are.
Awakening in the middle of the night followed by eventually falling back
to sleep, but with difficulty.
mirroring 1) The
empathic responsiveness of the parent to the developing child's grandiose-exhibitionistic
needs. Parental expressions of delight in the child's activities signal
that the child's wishes and experiences are accepted as legitimate. This
teaches the child which of his or her potential qualities are most highly
esteemed and valued. Mirroring validates the child as to who he or she
is and affirms his or her worth. The process transforms archaic aims to
realizable aims, and it determines in part the content of the self-assessing,
self-monitoring functions and their relationships to the rest of the personality.
The content of the superego is the residue of the mirroring experience.
2) A technique in psychodrama in which another person in the group plays
the role of the patient, who watches the enactment as if gazing into a
mirror. The first person may exaggerate one or more aspects of the patient's
behavior. Following the portrayal, the patient is usually encouraged to
comment on what he or she has observed.
mood A pervasive and