Psychiatric Glossary

Affect – the external expression of a patient’s mood (sadness, anger, joy, fear). May be inconsistent with patient’s mood, depending on the disorder.

Anorexia – loss of decrease of appetite.

Catatonia – various strong motor anomalies, for instance catatonic stupor (slowed activity to the point of immobilization); cera flexibilitas (the person can be molded into strange  postures that are maintained), and catatonic excitement (agitated, purposeless movements).

Delirium – A reversible syndrome of bewilderment, restlessness, confusion, and disorientation, associated with fear and hallucinations, all caused by some underlying medical condition.

Delusion –  a firmly fixed false belief, one not based in reality.  It can be bizarre, as in schizophrenia, or systematized as in delusional disorders.

Dementia – a loss cognitive function, often first manifesting in memory loss.

Depersonalization – subjective feeling of being unreal, or unfamiliar to self.

Derealization – a subjective feeling that the environment is strange or unreal; for instance, feeling the world to be a stage or two-dimensional painting.

Dissociation – confusion in the unitary sense of self and identity.

Formication – the feeling that insects are crawling all over one’s body, a tactile hallucination caused by cocaine and delirium tremens.

Hallucination – a perception of a sensory stimulus in the absence of sensory stimulus.

Illusion – the misperception of a sensory stimulus; for instance, seeing the rustling of branches of a tree as tentacles.

Logorrhea – copious, coherent, logical speech.

Mania – a mood characterized by elation and increased activity.

Mood – a pervasive feeling that is experienced internally.

Neurosis – this term refers to the theory of intrapsychic conflicts resulting in symptoms of depression, anxiety, ect.  The neurotic patient is in relatively good mental health compared to schizophrenic.

Noesis – a revelation in which immense illumination occurs in association with a sense that one has been chosen to lead a command.

Obsession – an idea or thought that constantly intrudes into consciousness.

Paranoia – persistent, consistent, plausible, and ingenious delusions of persecution or jealousy.  New information always seems to support the increasing threat of some great conspiracy.  Paranoia is more a symptom than a disorder, as it can appear in schizophrenia, manic, ect.

Psychosis – symptoms consisting of thoughts and perceptions that are out of touch with reality.

Somnambulism – sleepwalking.

Somnolence – abnormal drowsiness.

Synthesia – sensation caused by another sensation; for instance, seeing sound.

Tic – involuntary spasmodic motor movement.

Trailing phenomenon – perceptual abnormality associated with hallucinations in which moving objects are seen in a series of discrete discontinuous images.

Trance – focuses attention and altered consciousness, usually seen in hypnosis, dissociative disorders, and ecstatic religious experiences.