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psychological disorder

a "harmful dysfunction" in which behavior is judged to by atypical, disturbing, maladaptive, and unjustifiable

medical model

the concept that diseases have physical causes that can be diagnosed, treated, and, in most cases, cured; when applied to psychological disorders, the medical model 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

bio-psycho-social perspective

a contemporary perspective which assumes that biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors combine and interact to produce psychological disorders


the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 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 a minutes-long episode 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

an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted repetitive thoughts and/or actions

dissociative disorders

disorders in which conscious awareness becomes separated (dissociated) from previous memories, thoughts, and feelings

dissociative identify disorder

a rare dissociative disorder in which a person exhibits two or more distinct and alternating personalities

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

mood disorders

psychological disorders characterized by emotional extremes

major depressive disorder

a mood disorder in which a person, for no apparent reason, experiences two or more weeks of depressed moods, feelings of worthlessness, and diminishes interest or pleasure in most activities

manic episode

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

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