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Affective (Mood) Disorders

  • Bipolar Disorder: Topic Page
    Formerly manic-depressive disorder or manic-depression, severe mental disorder involving manic episodes that are usually accompanied by episodes of depression.
  • Depression: Topic Page
    Depression is commonly used as a definition of an emotion like despondency, dejection or gloom.
  • Dysthymia
    From Encyclopedia of Women's Health
    Dysthymic disorder is a chronic mood disorder characterized by depressed mood (extreme irritability in children and teenagers) almost every day for most of the day for at least 2 years in adults and 1 year for children and teenagers.
  • Postpartum Depression
    From Mosby's Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Professions
    An abnormal psychiatric condition that occurs after childbirth, typically from 3 days to 6 weeks after birth. It is characterized by symptoms that range from mild “postpartum blues” to an intense suicidal depressive psychosis.
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    Any of various symptoms experienced by women of childbearing age in the days immediately preceding menstruation. It is most common in women in their twenties and thirties.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder: Topic Page
    Recurrent fall or winter depression characterized by excessive sleeping, social withdrawal, depression, overeating, and pronounced weight gain.

Organic Disorders

  • Aphasia
    From Encyclopedia of Special Education
    Everyone with the diagnosis of aphasia has an acquired language disorder, but the type of language disorder and the severity of these difficulties vary.
  • Alzheimer's disease
    Common manifestation of dementia , thought to afflict 1 in 20 people over 65.
  • Mental retardation: Topic Page
    Below average level of intellectual functioning, usually defined by an IQ of below 70 to 75, combined with limitations in the skills necessary for daily living.
  • Dementia
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    progressive deterioration of intellectual faculties resulting in apathy, confusion, and stupor. In the 17th cent. the term was synonymous with insanity, and the term dementia praecox was used in the 19th cent. to describe the condition now known as schizophrenia.
  • Delirium
    From Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary
    An acute, transient disturbance of consciousness accompanied by a change in cognition and having a fluctuating course.
  • Parkinson's disease: Topic Page
    Degenerative disease of the brain characterized by a progressive loss of mobility, muscular rigidity, tremor, and speech difficulties. The condition is mainly seen in people over the age of 50.
  • Epilepsy: Topic Page
    A chronic disorder of cerebral function characterized by periodic convulsive seizures. There are many conditions that have epileptic seizures.

Neurotic and Traumatic Disorders

  • Agoraphobia: Topic Page
    Agoraphobia is a psychiatric illness in which individuals are anxious about being in situations where escape may be difficult or embarrassing.
  • Anxiety: Topic Page
    Anticipatory tension or vague dread persisting in the absence of a specific threat. In contrast to fear, which is a realistic reaction to actual danger, anxiety is generally related to an unconscious threat.
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): Topic Page
    According to conventional definitions, it occurs when an individual acquires separate, multiple identities, some of which may be amnesic for others and some of which may have full awareness of the others.
  • Hysteria: Topic Page
    In psychology, a disorder commonly known today as conversion disorder, in which a psychological conflict is converted into a bodily disturbance.
  • Panic Disorder
    From Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Psychology
    Panic disorder is a condition in which the individual repeatedly experiences unexpected panic attacks, which may involve palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, depersonalization, derealisation and the fear of losing control.
  • Phobias
    From Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Psychology
    A phobia involves intense fear, triggered by the presence or anticipation of a particular stimulus. Many different kinds of phobias have received special names, including acrophobia (fear of heights), agoraphobia (fear of public places), and claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces).
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Topic Page
    (PTSD), mental disorder that follows an occurrence of extreme psychological stress, such as that encountered in war or resulting from violence, childhood abuse, sexual abuse, or serious accident.

Psychotic Disorders

  • Schizophrenia: Topic Page
    Group of severe mental disorders characterized by reality distortions resulting in unusual thought patterns and behaviors.
  • Psychosis: Topic Page
    In psychiatry, a broad category of mental disorder encompassing the most serious emotional disturbances, often rendering the individual incapable of staying in contact with reality.
  • Catatonia
    From The Columbia Encyclopedia
    Mental state generally characterized by statuesque posturing, muscular immobility, mutism, and apparent stupor. The muscles are held in a pliant state called waxy flexibility, and the catatonic person obediently permits himself to be rearranged into awkward positions that he may subsequently hold for hours.
  • Thought Disorder
    From Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Psychology
    Thought disorder is typically diagnosed when a patient’s speech is incoherent and unintelligible to the listener. Eugen Bleuler, (1911/1950), who coined the term ‘schizophrenia’, believed it to be the consequence of ‘loosening of the associations’, which he argued is a fundamental symptom of the disorder.

Compulsive Disorders

  • Anorexia: Topic Page
    Lack of desire to eat, or refusal to eat, especially the pathological condition of anorexia nervosa, most often found in adolescent girls and young women.
  • Coprolalia
    From Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of the Handicapped and Other Exceptional Children and Adults
    Coprolalia is a condition characterized by an irresistible urge to utter obscene words and phrases and uncontrollable performance of obscene gestures (Singer, 1997), which are frequently observed together.
  • Eating Disorders: Topic Page
    The eating disorders are characterised by overvalued beliefs about the importance of body weight and shape.
  • Echolalia
    From Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of the Handicapped and Other Exceptional Children and Adults
    Echolalia is a strong, almost mandatory, tendency to repeat spontaneously what has been said by another person (Benson & Ardila, 1996).
  • Gambling: Topic Page
    The wagering of either money or material goods of value on the outcome of a chance happening, such as roulette or dice-throwing, or where an element of skill can be used to judge the likelihood of an outcome, such as in horse racing or football.
  • Obesity: Topic Page
    Condition resulting from excessive storage of fat in the body. Obesity has been defined as a weight more than 20% above what is considered normal.

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Topic Page
    Obsessions and compulsions are fairly common mental phenomena that most people have experienced, but they can become severe enough to interfere with one's functioning.
  • Tourette's Syndrome
    From Webster's New World™ Medical Dictionary
    A genetic disorder that is characterized by the presence of chronic vocal and motor tics. The tics usually become evident between the ages of 6 and 18. The tics may be minor or debilitating.


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Developmental Disorders

  • Autism: Topic Page
    One of a spectrum of disorders defined by problems with communication, imagination, and social interaction. The symptoms may be present from birth or may develop in early childhood, around the third year.
  • Developmental Disabilities
    From Encyclopedia of Special Education
    A term representing an umbrella category referring to a diverse group of physical, cognitive, psychological, sensory, and speech impairments that begin anytime during an individual’s development up to 22 years of age.
  • Dyslexia
    From Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child Development
    Although the majority of children learn to read without difficulty, a substantial minority (between 4 and 10 percent) have significant problems.
  • Learning Disabilities
    From Encyclopedia of Special Education
    Children and adults classified as learning disabled (LD) are those individuals who are of normal intelligence but suffer mental information processing difficulties.
  • Selective Mutism
    From Encyclopedia of Special Education
    Selective mutism is a psychological disorder of childhood characterized by total and persistent lack of speech in at least one specific environment (such as the classroom), despite the presence of normal speech in other environments.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Topic Page
    (ADHD), formerly called hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction, a chronic, neurologically based syndrome characterized by any or all of three types of behavior: hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsivity.
  • Cerebral Palsy: Topic Page
    Disability caused by brain damage before or during birth or in the first years, resulting in a loss of voluntary muscular control and coordination.
  • Childhood Obesity: Topic Page
    Condition resulting from excessive storage of fat in the body. Obesity has been defined as a weight more than 20% above what is considered normal according to standard age, height, and weight tables, or by a complex formula known as the body mass index.