Definition of terms in Psychiatry

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1. Speech: Ideas, thoughts, feelings expressed through language

2. Emotion: Complex phenomenon involving reactions in 3 different components:

  • Feeling experienced by subject (joy, sadness, anger)
  • Behavioral (expressive component)
  • Autonomic and endocrine component

3. Affect: Objective outward expression of the immediate cross-section emotion at a given time

4. Mood: Sustained pervasive feeling tone and colors the total experience of the person

5. Thought:

  • Goal-directed flow of ideas, symbols, and associations
  • Initiated by a problem or task
  • Leading toward a reality-oriented conclusion
  • Characterized by rational connection between successive ideas/thoughts

6. Delusion: False belief with following features:

  • Certainty: held with absolute conviction
  • Incorrigibility: not changeable bu counterargument or proof or contrary
  • Impossibility/falsity of content
  • Not consistent with patient’s intelligence and cultural background
  • Have personal significance

7. Over-valued ideas: Strongly held, dominate live (and conversation) but are not always illogical or culturally inappropriate

8. Phobias: Exaggerated, irrational and persistent fears when exposed to specific stimuli which are unreasonable and interfering with normal function

9. Obsessions:

  • Recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are experienced as intrusive and inappropriate that cause marked anxiety or distress
  • Are not simply excessive worries about real life problems
  • Person attempts to ignore or suppress or to neutralize them with some other thought or action
  • Recognizes them as a product of his/her own mind (not imposed from without as insertion)

10. Compulsions:

  • Repetitive behaviors/mental acts that the person feels driven to perform in response to obsession, or according to rules that must be applied rigidly
  • Aimed at preventing/reducing distress or preventing some dreaded event or situation – but are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize or prevent

11. Circumstantiality:disturbed pattern of speech or writing characterized by delay in getting to the point because of the interpolation of unnecessary details and irrelevant remarks (results from non-linear thought pattern)

12. Tangentiality: Speech is oblique, irrelevant and doesn’t come back to original point

13. Flight of ideas: Quickly skipping from one idea to another where ideas are marginally connected

14. Perception: Process of being aware of a sensory experience and being able to recognize it by comparing it with previous experience

15. Hallucinations:

  • Perceptions arising within mind without any external stimulation of sense organs
  • As intrusive as obsessions but patient doesn’t recognize them as arising from themselves

16. Illusions: Misinterpretation of existent external stimuli

17. Consciousness: Awareness of self and environment

18. Orientation: Awareness of one’s position in time, place and person

19. Attention: Ability to focus on a particular stimulus

20. Concentration: Ability to sustain attention for a period of time

21. Memory: Process of acquisition (registration), retention (storage) and retrieval (reproduction) of information

22. Intelligence: Ability to thing logically, act rationally and deal effectively with environment

23. Insight: Patient’s degree of awareness and understanding about being ill

24. Abstract thinking: Ability to –

  • Assume a mental set voluntarily
  • Shift voluntarily from one object of stimulation to another
  • Keep in mind simultaneously various aspects of situation
  • Grasp essentials of a “whole”
  • To break a whole into point

25. Judgement: Ability to assess a situation correctly and act appropriately within situation

26. Echolalia: Repetition by the patient of the interviewer’s words/phrases

27. Echopraxia: Imitation by the patient of interviewer’s movements

28. Stereotypy: Regular, repetitive, non-goal directed movement (purposeless)

29. Mannerisms: Abnormal, repetitive goal directed movement (of some functional significance)

30. Waxy flexibility: Patient’s limb can be placed in awkward posture and remain fixed in position for long time despite asking to relax

31. Mitmachen: Patient’s body can be placed in any posture; when relaxed, patient returns to resting position

32. Catalepsy: Motor symptom of schizophrenia same as waxy flexibility

33. Cataplexy: Symptom of narcolepsy in which there is sudden loss of muscle tone leading to collapse, occurs in emotional state

34. Automatic obedience: Patient does whatever the interviewer asks of him irrespective of consequences

35. Gegenhalten (Opposition): Patient opposes attempts at passive movement with force equal to that being applied

36. Mitgehen: An extreme form of mitmachen in which patient will move in any direction with very slight pressure

37. Negativism: Extreme form of gegenhalten – motiveless resistance to suggestion/attempts at movements

38. Ambivalence: Marked inability to decide for and against

39. Ambitendence: Patient begins to make a movement but before completing it, starts the opposite movement

40. Preservation: Senseless repetition of a previously requested movement, even after the stimulus is withdrawn

41. Neologisms: Patient uses words or phrases invented by himself. eg. headshoe for hat

42. Metonyms: Use of ordinary words in unusual ways – ‘stand ins for other words’ e.g. pen for written word, crown for royal person

43. Verbigeration: Disappearance of understandable speech which is replaced by mere utterance

44. Vorbeireden (talking past point): Patient seems always about to get near to the matter in hand but never quite reaches it

45. Loosening of association: Thought process with series of ideas without apparent logical connections

46. Depersonalization: A change in self awareness such that person feels unreal

47. Derealization: A change in self awareness such that the environment feel unreal

48. Euthymia: A normal mood state

49. Euphoria: Sustained and unwarranted cheerfulness

50. Dystonia: Maximal contraction of muscle group

51. Akathasia: Restlessness – usually lower limbs

52. Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS): Life-threatening idiosyncratic reaction to neuroleptic medicactions due to massive dopamine blockade (hypodopaminergic state in hypothalamus) and characterized by FARM:

  • Fever
  • Autonomic dysfunction (Increased heart rate, labile BP, sweating)
  • Rigidity
  • Mental status altered (1st to occur – Loss of conscioussness, mutism, dysphagia)

53. Delusional misidentification syndrome:

  • Capgras: replaced by identical or near identical imposter
  • Fregoli: someone they know is in disguise and harming them

54. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): Induction of a GTCS (Generalized Clonic Tonic Seizure) using an electrical impulse through the brain while patient is under General Anesthesia or a muscle relaxant.

55. Deliberate Self Harm (DSH): Deliberate, non fatal act – physical, drug overdose/poisoning, done in knowledge that it was potentially harmful

56. Dissociation: Apparent dissociation between different mental activities

57. Conversion: Mental energy can be converted in certain physical symptoms

58. Hypochondriasis: Preoccupation with fear of having a serious disease which persists despite negative investigations


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