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Commonly Used Terms

These descriptions provide brief definitions of some of the more common psychological disorders and terms. This listing is not meant to be all-inclusive; no doubt you will have heard of others. However, we thought you might find this information useful.

  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse
    • The regular reliance on alcohol and/or drugs to achieve relaxation, a "high," or relief from tension or emotional distress.
  • Anxiety
    • An uncomfortable feeling of fear or uneasiness generally associated with a sense of danger.
  • Panic Attacks
    • Panic attacks are extreme episodes of anxiety that may occur spontaneously or in connection with certain events or depression. They are usually accompanied by physical symptoms such as shakiness, dizziness, sweaty palms, or shortness of breath.
  • Phobias
    • Phobias are specific fears and avoidance of a particular thing or activity, such as driving, heights, public speaking, snakes, bridges, or crowds.
  • Biofeedback
    • Biofeedback is a technique combining deep relaxation exercises and mental imagery to learn how to manage certain physical symptoms such as pain or the body's reaction to stress.
  • Depression
    • Depressionis a mood disorder associated with feeling down, pessimistic, gloomy, worried, or irritable. Sleep or appetite changes may accompany feelings of depression, as well as fatigue, indecisiveness, impaired concentration, and loss of interest in activities formerly enjoyed. While occasional feelings of depression are considered normal, persistent feelings of depression lasting more than two weeks may indicate clinical depression.
  • Developmental Disabilities (Mental Retardation)
    • A developmental disability (mental retardation) is a disorder in which there is lowered intelligence and impairment of the ability to adapt to one's environment.
  • Learning Disability
    • A learning disability is an impaired ability to understand or make use of information that is seen or heard. Dyslexia refers to an impaired ability to read and comprehend written language.
  • Speech and Language Disability
    • Speech and language disabilities include delays or impairments in developing speech, articulation, and hearing.
  • Eating Disorders
    • Anorexia Nervosa is deliberate starvation associated with an abnormal fear of being fat, even though weight is 25% below normal.
    • Bulimia is a pattern of binge eating (the consumption of large quantities of food in a short period of time) usually followed by purging episodes brought on by self-induced vomiting or laxatives.
  • Hypnosis
    • Hypnosis is a technique of altering consciousness and focusing attention to enhance relaxation, learning, or memory.
  • Psychosis
    • Psychosis is the extreme disturbance of thought and perception that impairs a person's ability to think and behave normally and may produce unreal experiences such as hearing voices or imagining events that did not happen.
  • Stress
    • Stress is the physical and emotional cost of making adjustments and changes, whether good or bad. Stress symptoms can take almost any form and can be disabling.
  • Stress Management
    • Stress management is a combination of treatment and preventative measures, such as relaxation, mindfulness or meditation, to reduce the harmful effects of stress.


If you have any other questions, please ask us. We're here to help.


Copyright 2017 by Anita L Auerbach, Ph.D. All rights reserved.