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psychological disorder

deviant, distressful, and dysfunctional behavior patterns

attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

a psychological disorder marked by the appearance by age 7 of one or more of three key symptoms: extreme inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity

medical model

the concept that diseases have physical causes that can be diagnosed, treated, and, in most cases, cured; when applied to psychological disorders, it assumes that these mental illnesses can be diagnosed on the basis of their symptoms and cured through therapy, which may include treatment in a psychiatric hospital


the American Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (fourth edition), a widely used system for classifying psychological disorders

anxiety disorders

psychological disorders characterized by distressing, persistent anxiety or maladaptive behaviors that reduce anxiety

generalized anxiety disorder

an anxiety disorder in which a person is continually tense, apprehensive, and in a state of autonomic nervous system arousal

panic disorder

an anxiety disorder marked by unpredictable minutes-long episodes of intense dread in which a person experiences terror and accompanying chest pain, choking, or other frightening sensations


an anxiety disorder marked by a persistent, irrational fear and avoidance of a specific object or situation

obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and/or actions (compulsions)

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

an anxiety disorder characterized by haunting memories, nightmares, social withdrawal, jumpy anxiety, and/or insomnia that lingers for four weeks or more after a traumatic experience

mood disorders

psychological disorders characterized by emotional extremes

major depressive disorder

a mood disorder in which a person experiences, in the absence of drugs or a medical condition, two or more weeks of significantly depressed moods, feelings of worthlessness, and diminished interest or pleasure in most activities


a mood disorder marked by a hyperactive, wildly optimistic state

bipolar disorder

a mood disorder in which the person alternates between the hopelessness and lethargy of depression and the overexcited state of mania


a group of severe disorders characterized by disorganized and delusional thinking, disturbed perceptions, and inappropriate emotions and actions


false beliefs, often of persecution or grandeur, that may accompany psychotic disorders

personality disorders

psychological disorders characterized by inflexible and enduring behavior patterns that impair social functioning

antisocial personality disorder

a personality disorder in which the person (usually a man) exhibits a lack of conscience for wrongdoing, even toward friends and family members; may be aggressive and ruthless or a clever con artist

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