An organism's psychological or physical dependence on a drug, characterised by tolerance and withdrawal.
A pathological psychological reaction to trauma, loss or severe stress. Usually these last less than six
months, but may be prolonged if the stressor e.g. pain or scarring is enduring.
A person's affect is their immediate emotional state which the person can recognise subjectively and which can also be
recognised objectively by others. A person's mood is their predominant current affect.
An inability to organise sensory information so as to recognise objects (e.g. visual agnosia) or sometimes even parts
of the body, (e.g. hemisomatoagnosia).
Fear of the marketplace literally; taken now to be a fear of public of public places associated with panic
An inner feeling of excessive restlessness which provokes the sufferer to fidget in their seat or pace about.
A partial of complete loss of memory. Anterograde amnesia is a loss of memory subsequent to any cause e.g. brain
trauma. Retrograde amnesia is a loss of memory for a period of time prior to any cause.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by excess control - a morbid fear of obesity leads the
sufferer to try and limit or reduce their weight by excessive dieting, exercising, vomiting, purging and use of diuretics. Sufferers are typically
more than 15% below the average weight for their height/sex/age. Typically they have amenorrhoea (if female) or low libido (if male). 1-2% of
female teenagers are anorexic.
Anxiety is provoked by fear or apprehension and also results from a tension caused by conflicting ideas or
motivations. Anxiety manifests through mental and somatic symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, hyperventilation, and faintness.
Asthenia is a weakness or debility of some form, hence neurasthenia, a term for an illness seen by dctors around the
turn of the century, a probable precursor to chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
Described by Russell in 1979, bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by lack of control.
Abnormal eating behaviour including dieting, vomiting, purging and particularly bingeing may be associated with normal weight or obesity. The
syndrome is associated with guilt, depressed mood, low self-esteem and sometimes with childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism and promiscuity. May be
asociated with oesophageal ulceration and parotid swelling (Green's chubby chops sign).
The behavioural component of an obsession. The individual feels compelled to repeat a behaviour which has no
immediate benefit beyond reducing the anxiety associated with the obsessional idea. For instance for a person obsessed by the idea that they are
dirty, repeated ritual handwashing may serve to reduce anxiety.
Changing, loosely held and false memories created to fill in organically-derived amnesia
A variability of mood over days or weeks, cycling from positive to negative mood states. The variability is not
as severe in amplitude or duration as to be classified as a major affective disorder.
Haven't you been here before?
An abnormal experience where an individual feels that a particular or unique event
has happened before in exactly the same way.
An acute organic brain syndrome secondary to physical causes in which consciousness is affected and disorientation
results often associated with illusions, visual hallucinations and persecutory ideation.
An incorrect belief which is out of keeping with the person's cultural context, intelligence and social background
and which is held with unshakeable conviction.
Also known as wahnstimmung, a feeling that something unusual is about to happen of special significance for
A normal perception which has become highly invested with significance and which has become
incorporated into a delusional system, e.g. 'when I saw the traffic lights turn red I knew that the dog I was walking was a Nazi and a lesbian Nazi
An chronic organic mental illness which produces a global deterioration in cognitive abilities and which usually
runs a deteriorating course.
An experience where the self is felt to be unreal, detached from reality or different in some way.
Depersonalisation can be triggered by tiredness, dissociative episodes or partial epileptic seizures.
An affective disorder characterised by a profound and persistent sadness.
An experience where the person perceives the world around them to be unreal. The experience is linked to
Abnormal movements as in tardive dyskinesia a late onset onet of abnormal involuntary movements. Tardive
dyskinesia is conventionally thought a late side effect of first generation antipsychotics, but some abnormal movements were seen in schizophrenia
before the introduction of antipsychotics.
A dyspraxia is a difficulty with a previously learnt or acquired movement or skill. An example might be a dressing
dyspraxia or a constructional dyspraxia. Dyspraxias tend to indicate cortical damage, particularly in the parietal lobe region.
A speech disorder in which the person inappropriately and automatically repeats the last words he or she has heard.
Palilalia is a form of echolalia in which the last syllable heard is repeated endlessly.
A movement disorder in which the person automatically and inappropriately imitates or mirrors the movements of
First rank symptoms
Schneider classified the most characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia as first-rank features of
schizophrenia. These included third person auditory hallucinations, thought echo, thought interference (insertion, withdrawal, and broadcasting),
delusional perception and passivity phenomena.
Flight of ideas
In mania and hypomania thoughts become pressured and ideas may race from topic to topic, guided sometimes
only by rhymes or puns. Ideas are associated though, unlike thought disorder.
Frontal lobe syndrome
This follows frontal lobe damage or may be consequent upon a lesion such as a tumour of infarction.
There is a lack judgement, a coarsening of personality, disinhibition, pressure of speech, lack of planning ability, and sometimes apathy.
Perseveration and a return of the grasp reflex may occur.
An abnormal sensory experience that arises in the absence of a direct external stimulus, and which has the
qualities of a normal percept and is experienced as real and usually in external space. Hallucinations may occur in any sensory modality.
An affective disorder characterised by elation, overactivity, an insomnia.
An abnormal perception caused by a sensory misinterpretation of and actual stimulus, sometimes precipitated by
strong emotion, e.g. fear provoking a person to imagine they have seen an intruder in the shadows.
In psychotic mental disorders and organic brain syndromes a patient's insight into whether or not they are ill and
therefore requiring treatment may be affected. In depression a person may lack insight into their best qualities and in mania a person may
overestimate their wealth and abilities.
An abnormal experience where an individual feels that a routine or familiar event has never happened before. (See
A syndrome of amnesia and confabulation following chronic alcoholism. Short-term memory is particularly
affected.Named after the Russian psychiatrist Korsakoff.
See 'Passivity phenomena'.
An affective disorder characterised by intense euphoria, overactivity and loss of insight.
A novel word often invented and used in schizophrenic thought disorder.
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
A syndrome ascribed to neuroleptics. The syndrome includes hyperpyrexia (temperature over 39
degrees Celsius), autonomic instability and muscular rigidity. The syndrom is not dose related and appears to be related to a very wide variety of
substances including antidepressants, antipsychotics and lithium. There is a significant risk of mortality. Whether the syndrome is a variant of
the lethal catatonia syndrome (described before the advent of modern neuroleptics) is a debated point.
An unpleasant or nonsensical thought which intrudes into a person's mind, despite a degree of resistance by the
person who recognises the thought as pointless or senseless, but nevertheless a product of their own mind. Obsessions may be accompanied by
compulsive behaviours which serve to reduce the associated anxiety.
Parietal Lobe signs
Parietal lobe signs include various agnosias (such as visual agnosias, sensory neglect, and tactile
agnosias), dyspraxias (such as dressing dyspraxia), body image disturbance, and hemipareses or hemiplegias.
In these phenomena the individual feels that some aspect of themselves is under the external control of
another or others. These may therefore include 'made acts and impulses' where the individual feels they are being made to do something by another,
'made movements' where their arms or legs feel as if they are moving under another's control, 'made emotions' where they are experiencing someone
else's emotions, and 'made thoughts' which are categorised elsewhere as thought insertion and withdrawal.
Describes an inappropriate repetition of some behaviour or thought or speech. Echolalia is an example of
perseverative speech. Talking exclusively on one subject might be described as perseveration on a theme. Perseveration of thought indicates an
inability to switch ideas, so that in an interview a patient may continue to give the same responses to later questions as he did to earlier ones.
Perseveration is sometimes a feature of frontal lobe lesions.
A severe form of thought disorder.
Seasonal Afective Disorder (SAD)
A form of depressive illness only occurring during winter months, associated with overeating
and sleepiness. Responsive to antidepressants and phototherapy. Little researched and scientifically controversial.
An abnormal involuntary movement disorder which may manifest as lipsmacking bucco-lingual movements or
grimacing, truncal movements or athetoid limb movements.
The unpleasant experience of having one's train of thought curtailed absolutely, often more a sign than a
The experience that one's thoughts are being transmitted from one's mind and broadcast to everyone.
A disorder of the form of thought, where associations between ideas are lost or loosened.
Where thoughts are heard as if spoken aloud, when there is some delay these are known as echo de la pensée and
when heard simultaneously, Gedankenlautwerden.
The experience of alien thoughts being inserted into the mind.
The experience of thoughts being removed or extracted from one's mind.
A severe form of thought disorder.