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any pattern of emotions, behaviors, or thoughts inappropriate to the situation and leading to personal distress or the inability to achieve important goals. Other terms having essentially the same meaning include mental illness, mental disorder, and psychological disorder


False sensory experiences that may suggest mental disorder. hallucinations can have other causes, such as drugs or sensory isolation


extreme disorders of thinking, involves persistent false beliefs; are the hallmark of paranoid disorders


term referring to emotion or mood

Medical model

The view that mental disorders are diseases that, like ordinary physical diseases, have objective physical causes and require specific treatments

Social-cognitive-behavioral approach

A psychological alternative to the medical model that views psychological disorder through the combination of the social, cognitive, and behavioral perspectives


The 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association; the most widely accepted


Before the DSM IV, this term was used as a label for subjective distress or self-defeating behavior that did not show signs of brain abnormalities or grossly irrrational thinking


A disorder involving profound disturbances in perception, rational thinking, or affect

Mood disorders

abnormal disturbances in motion or mood, including bipolar disorder and unipolar disorder. Mood disorders are also called affective disorders

Major depression

A form of depression that does not alternate with mania

Seasonal pattern specifier

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) this DSM IV course specifier for mood disorders id believed to be a form of depression caised by deprivation of sunlig

Bipolar disorder

mental abnormality involving swings of mood from mania to depression

Anxiety disorders

mental problems characterized mainly by anxiety; include panic disorder, specific phobias, and OCD

Generalized anxiety disorder

A psychological problem characterized by persistent and pervasive feelings of anxiety, without any serious chronic stressor

Panic disorder

A disturbance marked by panic attacks that have no obvious connection with events in the person's present experience. Unlike generalized anxiety disorder, the victim is usually free if anxiety between panic attacks


a fear of public places and open space, commonly accompanying panic disorder


A group of anxiety disorders involving a pathological fear of a specific object or situation

Preparedness hypothesis

The notion that we have an innate tendency, acquired through natural selection, to respond quickly and automatically to stimuli that posed a survival threat to our ancestors

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

condition characterized by patterns of persistent, unwanted thoughts and behaviors

Somatoform disorders

Psychological problems appearing in the form of bodily symptoms or physical complaints, such as weakness or excessive worry about disease; include conversion disorder and hypochondriasis

Conversion disorder

A type of somatoform disorder, marked by paralysis, weakness, or loss of sensation but with no discernible physical cause


A somatoform disorder involving excessive concern about health and disease; also called hypochondria

Dissociative disorders

A group of pathologies involving "fragmentation" of the personality, in which some parts of the personality have become detached.

Dissociative amnesia

A psychologically induced loss of memory for personal information, such as one's identity or residence

Dissociative fugue

Essentially the same as dissociative amnesia, but with the addiction to flight from one's home, family, and job

Depersonalization disorder

an abnormality involving the sensation that mind and body have separated, as in an "out-of-body" experience

Dissociative identity disorder

A condition in which and individual displays multiple identities, or personalities, formerly called "multiple personality disorder"

Anorexia nervosa

an eating disorder that involves persistent loss of appetite that endangers an individual's health and stems from emotional or psychological reasons rather than from organic causes

Bulimia nervosa

An eating disorder characterized by eating binges followed by "purges" induced by vomiting or laxatives; typically initiated as a weight-control measure


A psychotic disorder involving distortions in thoughts, perceptions, and/or emotions

Diathesis-stress hypothesis

In reference to schizophrenia, the proposal that says that genetic factors transform this potential into an actual schizophrenic disorder

Personality disorders

conditions involving a chronic, pervasive, inflexible, and maladaptive pattern of thinking, emotion, social relationships, or impulse control

Narcissistic personality disorder

Characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a preoccupation with fantasies of success or power, and a need for constant attention or admiration

Antisocial personality

disorder characterized by a longstanding pattern of irresponsible behavior indicating a lack of conscience and a diminished sense of responsibility to others

Borderline personality disorder

An unstable personality given to impulsive behavior


developmental disorder marked by disabilities in language, social interaction, and the ability to understand another persons state of mind.


reading disability, thought by some experts to involve a brain disorder

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

a developmental disability involving short attention span, distractibility, and extreme difficulty in remaining inactive for any period; a common problem in children who have difficulty controlling their behavior and focusing their attention


A legal term, not a psychological or psychiatric one, referring to a person who is unable, because of a mental disorder or defect, to conform hos or her behavior to the law

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