Psychiatric Terms

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  1. Addiction
    Habitual psychological and physiologic dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control. Commonly abused substances include alcohol and drugs, although gasoline intoxication has been found among Aboriginal youth in Nunavit in northern Canada and among poor Hispanics in the U.S. [L. ad-dico, pp. -dictus, consent, fr. ad- + dico, to say]
  2. Affect
    • The external, visible expression of emotion or mood state.
    • The emotional feeling, tone, and mood attached to a thought, including its external manifestations; especially as demonstrated by postural and facial expressions. [L. affectus, state of mind, fr. afficio, to have influence on]
  3. Akathisia
    • A potential side effect of the antipsychotic agents consisting of physical restlessness and extreme difficulty remaining still.
    • A syndrome characterized by an inability to remain in a sitting posture, with motor restlessness and a feeling of muscular quivering; may appear as a side effect of antipsychotic and neuroleptic medication. [G. a- priv. + kathisis, a sitting]
  4. Akathisia
    see # 3
  5. Alcoholics Anonymous
    Mutual support group that helps its members remain sober.
  6. Al-Anon
  7. Agitation
  8. Antagonist
    Something opposing or resisting the action of another; any structure, agent, disease, or physiologic process that tends to neutralize or impede some action or effect.
  9. Antidepressants
    • 1) Counteracting depression.
    • 2) An agent or medication used in treating depression.
  10. Anxiety
    1) Apprehension of danger and dread accompanied by restlessness, tension, tachycardia, and dyspnea unattached to a clearly identifiable stimulus. 2) EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY a drive or motivational state learned from and thereafter associated with previously neutral cues. [L. anxietas, anxiety, fr. anxius, distressed, fr. ango, to press tight, to torment]
  11. Ataxia
    An inability to coordinate muscle activity, causing jerkiness, and inefficiency of voluntary movement. Often due to disorders of the cerebellum or the posterior columns of the spinal cord; may involve limbs, head, or trunk. SYN incoordination [G. a-prov. + taxis, order]
  12. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
    A disorder of childhood and adolescence manifested at home, in school, and in social situations by developmentally inappropriate degrees of inattention, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity; also called hyperactivity or hyperactive child syndrome.
  13. Alogia
    • Decreased thought content and use of language, often seen in persons with schizophrenia.
    • 1) SYN aphasia;
    • 2) Inability to speak due to mental deficiency or an episode of dementia.
  14. Agranulocytosis
    An acute condition characterized by pronounced leukopenia; infected ulcers are likely to develop in the throat, intestinal tract, and other mucous membranes, as well as in the skin. Condition is an immunocompromised state.
  15. Amygdala
    • An almond-shaped front portion of the brain’s temporal lobe that plays a role in memory processing.
    • Denoting the cerebellar tonsil, as well as the lymphatic tonsils (pharyngeal, palatine, lingual, laryngeal, and tubal). [L. fr. G. amygdale, almond; in Mediev. & Mod. L., a tonsil]
  16. Anhedonia
    Absence of pleasure from the performance of acts that would ordinarily be pleasurable. [G. an- priv. + hedone, pleasure]
  17. Antianxiety [agent]
    A functional category of drugs useful in the treatment of anxiety and able to reduce anxiety at dosage that does not cause excessive sedation (e.g., diazepam). SYN anxiolytic (1)
  18. Anticholinergic
    • 1) Antagonistic to the action of parasympathetic or other cholinergic nerve fibers (e.g., atropine).
    • 2) Any of a class of compounds exerting anticholinergic effects. Some of these compounds (e.g., atropine) are used medicinally.
  19. Antidepressant
    • 1) Counteracting depression.
    • 2) An agent or medication used in treating depression.
  20. Antipsychotic
    • 1) SYN antipsychotic agent;
    • 2) Denoting the actions of such an agent.
  21. Battered Partner Syndrome
    Condition that involves a victim who is exposed to multiple physical and/or emotional traumas; characterized by passive and socially isolated behavior and difficulty leaving the batterer.
  22. Beck Depression Scale
    Standardized psychiatric questionnaire in which the subject rates statements on a sliding scale; used in the diagnosis of depression.
  23. Bereavement
    The usual response to loss and grief. The bereavement process may involve a sense of suffering and distress as an individual goes through the stages of grieving.
  24. Bipolar ( Manic and Depressed)
    A pattern of severe mood instability in childhood or early adolescence that is characterized by typical or atypical mania, overactivity, a decreased need for sleep, affective storms, and in some cases hypersexuality and grandiosity.
  25. Borderline Personality
    A serious mental disorder characterized by pervasive instability in mood and affect, interpersonal relationships, and self-image, with marked impulsivity.
  26. Boundaries
    Limits that permit the client and mental health practitioner to have a therapeutic relationship based on the needs of the client.
  27. Burnout
    An individual’s unproductive response to an overwhelming and chronically stressful work situation that limits his or her productivity on and off the job.
  28. Catatonia
    A decreased reactivity to the environment that can be expressed as mutism, waxy flexibility, extreme negativism, echolalia, or echopraxia in an agitated or almost coma-like state.
  29. Counter-transference
    Displacement or projection of unconscious feelings that the mental health professional has toward a client.
  30. Crisis
    A self-limited transitional period of disequilibrium and functional impairment experienced by an individual or family when confronted with a dangerous or threatening situation.
  31. Depersonalization
    Feelings of unreality or strangeness concerning self-identity or body image.
  32. Depression
    A temporary mental state or chronic mental disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, loneliness, despair, low self-esteem, and self-reproach; accompanying signs include psychomotor retardation or less frequently agitation, withdrawal from social contact, and vegetative states such as loss of appetite and insomnia.
  33. Differential Diagnosis
    The process of differentiating one disorder from another that presents similarly.
  34. Dissociation
    An unconscious defense mechanism in which the person sustains an alteration in the integrative functions of consciousness or identity. Dissociative symptoms involve temporary changes in consciousness, identity, and motor function to protect and distance the individual from painful emotions or thoughts associated with anxiety, conflict, or trauma.
  35. DSM-IV (Axis I, Axis II, Axis III, Axis IV, Axis V)
    A comprehensive diagnostic system used widely in the United States; includes major psychiatric disorders, personality disorders/mental retardation, physical/medical conditions, psychosocial and environmental stressors, and a global assessment of functioning for each client.
  36. Dystonia
    A muscular side effect of the antipsychotics consisting of muscle spasms in any part of the body.
  37. Delusions
    False belief not held by others in the same culture that can be nonbizarre and potentially possible, such as some jealous or persecutory false beliefs, or bizarre and not reality based, such as thought broadcasting or thought insertion. They may be paranoid, grandiose, somatic, erotic, nihilistic, guilty, bizarre, or referential in nature.
  38. Dementia
    Chronic, usually progressive, cognitive disorders associated with changes in brain structure and functioning.
  39. DT's (delirium tremens)
    Also known as withdrawal delirium, a life-threatening complication of alcohol withdrawal characterized by agitation, disorientation, visual hallucinations, elevated temperature, and cardiac arrhythmias.
  40. Elderly Abuse
    The physical or emotional abuse, including financial exploitation, of an old person, by one or more of the person's children, nursing facility caregivers, or any others.
  41. Electroencephalography (EEG)
    The measurement of electrical currents at the scalp that reflect events within the brain.
  42. Extrapyramidal Symptoms (EPS)
    Muscular side effects usually associated with antipsychotic medications as a result of blocking the dopamine receptor sites in the brain. These symptoms include muscle cramps (dystonia), lack of movement (akinesia), tremors, motor restlessness (akathisia), twitching or overactivity of the tongue, changes in posture, and tic-like movements.
  43. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
    The induction of a brief convulsion by passing an electric current through the brain, primarily for the treatment of affective disorders.
  44. Flat Affect
    A blunted or constricted facial expression making an individual appear immobile, masklike, and unresponsive. It is often seen in persons with schizophrenia.
  45. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FSA)
    Growth, physical, and mental problems that may result when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. It is the severe end of the fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
  46. Forensic
    Pertaining or applicable to personal injury, murder, and other legal proceedings. [L. forensis, of a forum]
  47. Global Assessment of functioning (GAF) Scale
    The fifth axis in a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis; a rating scale used by the mental health practitioner to gauge a client’s total psychologic, social, and occupational or academic well-being on a scale of 1 to 100.
  48. Hallucinations
    False sensory perceptions in the absence of an external stimulus. They may be auditory, visual, tactile, olfactory, or gustatory (relating to gustation, or taste) in nature.
  49. Hypertensive Crisis
    A life-threatening condition caused by eating foods that are high in the amino acid tyramine or taking restricted medications.
  50. Hypersomnia
    A dyssomnia characterized by prolonged or excessive sleep at night or during the day; can be related to depression or central nervous system dysfunction.
  51. Grief
    Subjective feelings and affect that are experienced as a result of a loss or disappointment.
  52. Group Therapy
    An intervention in which three or more persons interact for the purpose of altering their behavior patterns and developing new and more effective ways of dealing with the stressors of daily living.
  53. Ideas of Reference
    The delusional misinterpretation that other people's statements, acts, or neutral objects in the environment are directed toward oneself when, in fact, they are not.
  54. Illusions
    A false perception; the mistaking of something for what it is not. Unlike a hallucination, it requires an external trigger.
  55. Impulsiveness
    • Relating to or actuated by an impulse, rather than controlled by reason or careful deliberation.
    • ant: Impulse control: The ability to delay, modulate, or inhibit the expression of behaviors and feelings.
  56. Korsakoff's Syndrome
    A cognitive disorder of anterograde amnesia (an inability to form new memories) and confabulation associated with a deficiency of thiamine, and usually found in chronic alcoholism. It follows the acute phase of Wernicke’s encephalopathy.
  57. Mental Health
    Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
  58. Mental Status
    A client’s present state, including the client’s behavior and general appearance, mood and affect, speech, thought process and content, perceptual disturbances, impulse control, cognition, knowledge, judgment, and insight.
  59. Milieu
    People and society surrounding you. The particular people and society that surround you and influence the way in which you behave.
  60. Mood
    The internal feeling of emotion; a person’s pervasive, subjective emotional state.
  61. Mood Disorder
    Mental illness involving a disturbance of mood, accompanied by either a full or partial manic or depressive syndrome that is not due to any other mental disorder.
  62. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors MAOIs)
    A group of antidepressants that requires dietary restrictions and avoidance of certain other medications.
  63. Myoclonus
    One or a series of shocklike contractions of a group of muscles, of variable regularity, synchrony, and symmetry, generally due to a central nervous system lesion. [myo- + G. klonos, tumult].
  64. Negative Symptoms
    Psychotic symptoms that represent a loss or restriction of normal functioning and expression and include affective flattening, alogia, anhedonia, attention problems, and avolition.
  65. Mood Disorder
    Mental illness involving a disturbance of mood, accompanied by either a full or partial manic or depressive syndrome that is not due to any other mental disorder.
  66. Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
    A rare but potentially life-threatening side effect of the antipsychotic medications that causes elevated creatinine phosphokinase levels, fever, diaphoresis, muscle rigidity, and autonomic instability.
  67. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    A pattern of recurrent obsessions or compulsions, recognized by a person as excessive or unreasonable, that are severe enough to be time-consuming or cause significant impairment in relationships with others, education, or other important areas of functioning.
  68. Parataxic Distortion
    A distorted attitude towards a person based on an inaccurate perception often related to identification of the person or event with a past experience; described by Harry Stack Sullivan.
  69. Paradoxical Reaction (insomnia, irritability, nervousness)
    With regard to pharmacology, a paradoxical reaction is a drug response which contradicts the predicted effect, for instance, worsening of anxiety following the deliverance of an anxiolytic drug.
  70. Paranoia
    A disorder characterized by the presence of systematized delusions, often of a persecutory character involving being followed, poisoned, or harmed by other means, in an otherwise intact personality. [G. derangement, madness, fr. para- + noeo, to think]
  71. Personality Disorders
    An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from cultural expectations, is pervasive and inflexible, begins in adolescence or young adulthood, and leads to distress and impairment.
  72. Phobia
    Irrational, involuntary, and inappropriate fear associated with certain objects or situations.
  73. Photosensitivity
    • An abnormally heightened reactivity of the skin to sunlight.
    • Responding to light. [photo + L. sensus, a feeling, fr. sentio, to feel]
  74. Positive Symptoms
    Psychotic symptoms that reflect an exaggeration or distortion of normal functions and include hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech.
  75. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    A psychiatric disorder occurring at any point following a threatened or actual traumatic event that involves combinations of affective, behavioral, cognitive, physiologic, and relational symptoms as well as dissociative symptoms and traumatic flashbacks that impair normal functioning.
  76. Right to Refuse Treatment
    The right to decline inpatient hospitalization or other mental health care unless one is a danger to self or others.
  77. Right to a Least Restrictive Environment
    Treatment provided in a setting that meets the client’s needs with the least restrictions imposed.
  78. Seclusion
    Situation in which a person is involuntarily confined in a room or an area and is physically not permitted to leave.
  79. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI)
    A group of antidepressant medications that alter the serotonin system in the brain by blocking the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin.
  80. Schizophrenia
    A common type of psychosis, characterized by abnormalities in perception, content of thought, and thought processes (hallucinations and delusions), and extensive withdrawal of one's interest from other people and the outside world, the investment of it being instead in one's own mental life. [G. schizo, split + G. phren, mind]
  81. Schizoaffective Disorders
    Illness manifested by an enduring major depressive, manic, or mixed episode along with delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and behavior, and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. In the absence of a major depressive, manic, or mixed episode, there must be delusions or hallucinations for several weeks.
  82. Seizures Social Isolation
    The stress of dealing with society’s often hostile attitudes toward disability in general and epilepsy in particular, can cause one with a seizure disorder to hide their condition so as not to be stigmatized. Isolation becomes preferable to social interaction.
  83. Serotonin
    A brain chemical or neurotransmitter affected by the atypical antipsychotic and antidepressant medications. It has been implicated in a number of disorders such as anxiety, depression, and migraine.
  84. Sociopath
    Former designation for a person with an antisocial personality disorder.
  85. Spiritually
  86. Stress
    stressor: Any experience or stimulus that is experienced by an individual as a challenge, threat, or as potentially harmful.
  87. Suicide
    Intentional termination of one’s own life.
  88. Substance Abuse
    Brief or chronic episodes of substance use that result in failure to meet major role obligations, legal problems, or recurrent social or interpersonal problems. There is no evidence of physiologic or psychologic dependence.
  89. Tardive Dyskinesia
    A late-occurring, irreversible side effect of antipsychotics that involves involuntary, unwanted, repetitious movements of the muscles of the face, limbs and trunk. The risk of this problem is greatly reduced with the newer atypical antipsychotics.
  90. Tics
    Habitual, repeated contraction of certain muscles, resulting in stereotyped individualized actions that can be voluntarily suppressed for only brief periods (e.g., clearing the throat, sniffing, pursing the lips, excessive blinking); especially prominent when the person is under stress; there is no known pathologic substrate.
  91. Therapeutic communication
  92. Tourette
    Tourette’s Disorder (TD): A disorder involving multiple motor tics and one or more vocal tics occurring many times a day over a period of at least 1 year and during which there is never a period of more than 3 consecutive months tic free.
  93. Transference
    A client’s projection or displacement of unconscious feelings, desires, and actions from a person in his or her life onto the nurse or other therapist.
  94. Tremors
    • 1) Repetitive, often regular, oscillatory movements caused by alternate, or synchronous, but irregular contraction of opposing muscle groups; usually involuntary.
    • 2) Minute ocular movement occurring during fixation on an object.
  95. Tricyclic Antidepressants
    Drug that works by blocking the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin at the nerve synapse.
  96. Racing Thoughts
  97. Restraint
    Pertains to both physical restraints and drugs that are used as a means to restrain a person.
  98. Unclear Thoughts
  99. 99. Uncontrollable Hostility
  100. 100. Wernicke's Encephalopathy
    A serious neurotoxic effect of alcohol abuse, related to thiamine deficiency; It is characterized by mental confusion, eye movement disturbances, and ataxia. It is the first stage of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
Card Set:
Psychiatric Terms
2014-05-19 11:50:33
psychiatric terms

Terms from Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Patricia O'Brien, et. al.
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