Glossary

Snowden at Fredericksburg - Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Termsaddiction - Dependence on a chemical substance to the extent that a physiological and/or strong psychological need is established.

AIDS-related dementia - One of the syndromes commonly associated with infection by the HIV virus. AIDS-related dementia, which is caused by the disease's effect on the central nervous system, usually begins with impaired concentration and mild memory loss and is often misdiagnosed as depression or as a psychological response to the threat of impending death. Over a period of several weeks or months, the syndrome causes severe deterioration in mental functioning and motor control.

alcoholism - A chronic illness evidenced by compulsive, repeated drinking that injures one's health and social and economic functioning.

Alzheimer's disease - A progressive, irreversible disease, most prevalent in late life, characterized by deterioration of the brain cells and leading to impaired mental functioning.

anorexia nervosa - An eating disorder characterized by severe and prolonged refusal to eat excessive exercise, extreme weight loss, distorted body image, termination of the menstrual cycle or impotence, and intense fear of becoming obese.

anxiety - When the word anxiety is used to discuss a group of mental illnesses (anxiety disorders), it refers to an unpleasant and overriding inner emotional tension that has not apparent identifiable cause. These disorders are severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning.

attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - A disorder characterized by short attention span and poor concentration. Symptoms begin in childhood and can persist into adulthood.

bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder - A major mood disorder in which there are episodes of both mania and depression.

bulimia - A disorder characterized by compulsive eating binges followed by some effort to counteract the weight gain that would result from these binges

compulsion - An insistent, repetitive, and unwanted urge to perform an act as a means of relieving anxiety. However, the repeated activity, such as hand washing, is not related realistically to what the person is trying to avoid.

confidentiality - The ethical principle that a clinician may not disclose information provided in the course of treatment.

delusion - A false belief persistently held despite strong and obvious proof to the contrary.

dementia - A disorder in which there is chronic loss or impairment of mental powers and memory due to organic causes (brain disease) and severe enough to interfere with work or social functioning.

depression - When used to describe a mood, depression refers to what ma be normal feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement. More serious depression may be a symptom of a variety of physical and mental disorders. However, clinical depression is a specific mental illness. This disorder is characterized by sadness and/or irritability, difficulty concentrating, social withdrawal, slowed thinking, decreased purposeful physical activity, sleep and appetite disturbances, low self-esteem, loss of sex drive, unwarranted feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and thoughts of death and suicide.

eating disorders - Marked disturbance in eating behavior, including, among others, overeating, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and pica.

euphoria - An exaggerated feeling of emotional and physical well being, out of proportion to circumstances.

family therapy - A form of psychotherapy which treats the family rather than the individual, bringing the entire family together for therapeutic sessions.

group therapy - A form of psychotherapy for a group of patients

hallucination - The false perception of a sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch when no actual stimulus is present.

insane - An obsolete term used colloquially to describe a person with a psychotic disorder. Now a legal term applied by the courts to a person who, because of mental disease or developmental disability, is unable to appreciate the wrongfulness or criminality of his or her conduct at the time of an offense, or in some jurisdictions, is unable to control his or her actions.

insomnia - The unusually prolonged inability to fall asleep or difficulty staying asleep.

mania - A mood disorder characterized by excessive elation or irritability, hyperactivity, hypersexuality, poor concentration, and accelerated thinking and speaking, and resulting in impairment.

manic-depressive disorder - See bipolar disorder.

mental illnesses - A broad range of medical illnesses with symptoms involving disorders of thought, feeling, and behavior, and/or impairment in functioning due to a social, psychological, genetic, chemical, or biological disturbance.

mental retardation - The lack of intellectual functioning present in the normal individual. The preferred term is "developmental disability."

obsessive-compulsive disorder - A type of anxiety disorder consisting of the persistent intrusion of unwanted and uncontrollable thoughts and compulsions (repeated, senseless activities).

panic disorder - A type of anxiety disorder in which a person suffers intense, overwhelming terror suddenly and for no apparent reason. The fear is accompanied by physical symptoms.

paranoia - A condition characterized by the gradual development of a delusion

Parkinson's disease - A disorder of the nervous system characterized by rapid tremors, pill-rolling movements, masklike expression, rigidity, drooling, reduced movement, slowness of physical and mental responses, and disturbance of gait.

personality disorder - A deeply ingrained, non-psychotic, inflexible, maladaptive pattern of relating, perceiving and behaving, serious enough to cause distress or impaired functioning.

phobia - An obsessive, persistent, unrealistic fear of an object or situation.

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - A disorder that develops after a person experiences and extremely psychologically distressing event.

psychosis - A symptom of a major mental disorder in which the personality is seriously disorganized and contact with reality is usually impaired.

schizophrenia - A group of severe mental disorders characterized by disturbances of language and communication; thought disturbances that may involve distortion of reality, misperceptions, delusions and hallucinations; mood changes and withdrawn, regressive, or bizarre behavior, lasting longer than six months.

senility - A term used to refer to senile dementia, a chronic progressive mental disorder associated with general deterioration of the brain resulting from the death of neurons.

sign - A physical or behavioral change observed by another person, especially a health care professional, and considered to indicate the presence of a disease.

symptom - A personal mental or physical event or feeling that the person considers abnormal and indicative of underlying disease.

Tourette's syndrome - A disorder usually beginning in early childhood and characterized by repetitive movements, uncontrolled grunts, unintelligible sounds, echoing, and, occasionally, verbal obscenities.

withdrawal symptoms - Physical and mental effects resulting from withdrawal of addictive substances by patients who have become habituated or addicted to them.