Glossary of Mental Health Terms

A-Z Glossary

Table of Contents

Our A-Z Glossary of all the mental Health Terms pulled from the APA Dictionary of Psychology, the DSM-IV-TR, and the DSM-5.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

A type of cognitive behavior therapy based on the idea that trying to suppress, manage, or control one’s thoughts and feelings can lead to unwanted behaviors. ACT teaches mindfulness to address these challenges and accept difficult thoughts.

ACT therapists teach clients to identify personal values and goals and make behavioral changes to align with those values and goals. ACT is often applied to many mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, stress, and substance abuse.


Refers to symptoms or conditions that begin suddenly, only last for a short time, and are usually extremely intense.


A type of condition characterized by a mental or physical dependence on alcohol or other drugs. Individuals can also experience behavioral addictions, such as sexual, internet, and gambling addictions.

Adjustment Disorder

A disorder characterized by issues with daily functioning and a severe emotional or behavioral response to a specific stressful event, such as a divorce, job loss, or family issues, within three months of the event.

Symptoms of an adjustment disorder can include anxiety, depression, and issues with social functioning. These symptoms usually go away once the stressors are gone, or new coping skills are put into place.

A chronic adjustment disorder occurs when symptoms last longer than six months because of the stressor’s persistence or severity.


An irrational and extreme fear of being in unfamiliar places. Someone who experiences agoraphobia will avoid public situations they might be unable to escape. Agoraphobia can occur alongside a panic disorder which causes an individual to experience panic attacks in triggering situations. It can also occur without a panic disorder, in which case an individual may experience limited symptom attacks or have panic-like symptoms.

Alzheimer's Disease

A progressive disease that involves cortical atrophy, neuronal death, synapse loss, and more. These issues create memory loss that worsens over time and eventually causes dementia.

Early symptoms include rapid forgetting of new information, impaired recall and recognition, depressive symptoms, and slight personality changes, including decreased energy, social withdrawal, indifference, and impulsivity.

When the disease progresses, symptoms begin to include cognitive issues including intellectual decline, aphasia, agnosia, and apraxia, and behavioral changes, such as apathy, emotional blunting, delusions based on mood, trouble sleeping, decreased appetite, increased restlessness, and wandering.

The main risk factors include old age, family history, and genetic factors.

Anorexia Nervosa

A type of eating disorder characterized by food refusal, fear of weight gain, weight loss, inability to maintain an appropriate body weight for height and age, and distorted body image.

Anorexia can affect people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, and ethnicities, but it is most common among adolescent girls. The eating disorder can also cause amenorrhea in girls, which is the absence of at least three menstrual periods.


Drugs that are prescribed as a part of the treatment of depression. Many of them increase the availability of monoamine neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, serotonin, or dopamine.

Antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) inhibit monoamine oxidase, one of the enzymes that metabolize the monoamine neurotransmitters. Antidepressants called tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) block serotonin or norepinephrine reuptake into the presynaptic neuron.

The way antidepressants work allows more of the neurotransmitter to bind with postsynaptic receptors, creating the therapeutic effects of the antidepressant.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

A type of personality disorder characterized by a pattern of disregarding and violating the rights of others. This disorder begins in childhood or adolescence and continues into adulthood.

This disorder can manifest in repeated violations of the law, exploitation of others, lying, impulsivity, aggressiveness, disregard for the safety of self and others, and irresponsibility. People with Antisocial Personality Disorder usually experience a lack of guilt, remorse, and empathy when engaging in these behaviors.

Antisocial Personality disorder is one of the most challenging disorders to treat and one of the most heavily researched disorders.


Feelings of apprehension relating to anticipated dangerous, catastrophic, or unfortunate events. Physical symptoms include muscle tension, faster breathing, and a more rapid heartbeat.

Anxiety is different from fear in that it is a future-oriented and long-lasting response to a broad threat, while fear is a present-oriented and short-lived response to a specific threat.

Anxiety disorder

Any disorder that is characterized by an emotional state of fear, worry, or excessive apprehension. Examples of anxiety disorders include panic disorders, different phobias, and generalized anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders are chronic and are one of the most common health problems in the United States. They can sometimes occur due to medical conditions such as endocrine disorders, respiratory disorders, cardiovascular disorders, metabolic disorders, and neurological disorders.

Art Therapy

A type of therapy that incorporates artistic activities like painting and clay modeling. Making art can be a healing experience and allows patients to express themselves creatively, authentically, and spontaneously.

Art that is made in art therapy can be symbolic and help resolve conflicts and create new perceptions that help create growth and rehabilitation. Making art can also lead to personal fulfillment and transformation.

Asperger's Disorder

A neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by different degrees of difficulties with social interaction and nonverbal communication, issues transitioning from one task to another, challenges dealing with situational or environmental changes, and preference for repetitive behaviors and interests.

Individuals with Asperger’s disorder may engage in obsessive routines and experience difficulties reading body language and maintaining an appropriate social distance. Some people with Asperger’s disorder are overly sensitive to certain sounds, tastes, smells, and sights.

Those who have Asperger’s disorder have an IQ that ranges from standard to superior, and some individuals may have exceptional specific skills or talents.

Asperger’s disorder is different from autism as those with Asberger’s disorder develop language skills and do not display any clinically significant delay in cognitive or adaptive functioning other than in social situations. However, it is now considered a part of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder (ADHD)

A behavioral syndrome that is characterized by inattention and impulsivity or hyperactivity. People with ADHD experience at least six ADHD symptoms persistently.

Symptoms relating to inattention include failure to complete tasks and listen carefully, difficulty concentrating, and distractibility. Symptoms relating to impulsivity or hyperactivity include:

  • – blurting out answers
  • – impatience
  • – restlessness
  • – fidgeting
  • – organization difficulty
  • – challenges taking turns
  • – staying seated
  • – excessive talking
  • – running around
  • – climbing

ADHD symptoms begin before age seven and can impair social, academic, and occupational functioning. ADHD is also sometimes referred to as attention-deficit disorder (ADD).

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Any disorder that is characterized by difficulties with communication and social interaction, and onsets during preschool years.

ASD used to include separate disorders such as autism, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and Rett syndrome but is now used as the term for all symptoms associated with these disorders, and they are no longer considered distinct diagnoses.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

A personality disorder that is characterized by sensitivity to negative criticism and rejection, a strong desire for acceptance, social withdrawal and inhibition, low self-esteem, and feelings of inadequacy.

People with avoidant personality disorder can experience distress and may have difficulties working and maintaining relationships.


Behavioral Therapy

A type of therapy that identifies self-destructive and unhealthy behaviors and uses operant conditioning and classical conditioning to help change these behaviors. Behavioral therapy focuses on the behavior itself rather than the underlying causes of the behavior.

Techniques used in behavioral therapy include behavioral research, biofeedback, modeling, and systematic desensitization.


Drugs that work to calm or sedate by depressing activity in the central nervous system. They are used to treat generalized anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia.

Types of benzodiazepines include chlordiazepoxide, alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, estazolam, flurazepam, quazepam, temazepam, and triazolam.

Prolonged use of benzodiazepines can lead to tolerance and dependence upon the drug.

Binge Eating Disorder

A type of eating disorder characterized by recurring episodes of eating abnormally large quantities of food and feelings of shame, distress, and guilt associated with the behavior.

Binge eating disorder occurs without vomiting, laxative misuse, excessive exercise, or fasting.

Biological Therapy

A form of treatment that aims to change the biological functioning of a person. This type of therapy includes drug therapies, electroconvulsive therapy, and psychosurgery.

Bipolar disorder (manic depression)

A type of mood disorder in which someone alternates between symptoms of mania and depression. This disorder includes the following subtypes:

  • – Bipolar I Disorder: characterized by fluctuation between manic or hypomanic episodes and major depressive episodes
  • – Bipolar II Disorder: characterized by fluctuation between major depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes
  • – Cyclothymic disorder: characterized by shifts in mood that are not as severe as the mood shifts associated with bipolar I and II, but are still noticeable

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)

A type of disorder characterized by excessive preoccupation with a perceived defect in physical appearance or a minor appearance flaw. The individual will consistently check on the deficiency.

BDD is considered a somatoform disorder because it is similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder. An individual with BDD experiences obsessions with their appearance and compulsions related to those obsessions.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

A personality disorder characterized by a long-term pattern of mood instability, trouble with interpersonal relationships, and issues with self-image. This disorder can create problems in an individual’s social life and work life.

BPD can cause an individual to exhibit:

  • – Self-destructive behavior
  • – Intense and unstable relationships
  • – Uncontrollable outbursts
  • – Uncertainty regarding self-image, gender, and goals
  • – Changing moods
  • – Constant feelings of emptiness and boredom


Limits that are set to protect an individual in a relationship or during an activity. For example, a therapist may set a boundary that discussions of their personal life are off-limits, that there is no touching, etc. Respecting boundaries is an essential aspect of a therapeutic relationship.

Bulimia Nervosa

A type of eating disorder characterized by recurring binge-eating episodes, including uncontrollably ingesting abnormally large quantities of food. This binge-eating is followed by self-induced vomiting, misusing laxatives, or excessive exercise.


Case Manager

A professional health care worker who is responsible for assessing, coordinating, monitoring, and evaluating a patient’s medical services. They work with patients, providers, and health insurance plans. A case manager is usually a nurse or social worker.


Refers to symptoms or conditions that are persistent and get worse over time. Chronic symptoms do not have a cure.


A healthcare facility that is used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients in emergency situations.

A clinic is also a brief or instructional program or session. Clinics cover diagnostic, therapeutic, and remedial topics.


Refers to anything relating to the observation and treatment of patients. At one time, clinical methods only involved direct observations of patients. Clinical methods now also utilize biological and statistical factors to treat patients and diagnose disorders.

Clinical Psychologist

A doctorate-level mental health professional trained in the diagnosis and treatment of mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders.

Clinical psychologists work in various settings, including health and mental health clinics, research, academic settings, group practices, and independent practices. They are also consultants to medical, legal, social work, and community-relations professionals.


The action of knowing and understanding through perceiving, conceiving, remembering, reasoning, judging, imagining, and problem solving.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

A type of therapy that uses treatment techniques from cognitive therapy and behavior therapy. CBT is used to identify and change negative thought patterns and destructive behaviors through cognitive restructuring and behavioral methods.


Refers to more than one illness, disease, or disorder occurring simultaneously in one individual.


A behavior or mental activity that someone engages in to reduce distress or anxiety. The behavior or mental activity is often performed to minimize the distress or anxiety associated with an obsession or to prevent a future event that is perceived as stressful.

For example, someone who experiences an obsession with cleanliness or contamination may repetitively wash their hands to the point where their skin is cracked and bleeding.

Engaging in compulsions can provide temporary relief but does not provide any real gratification for the individual.

Conduct Disorder

A behavioral and emotional issue characterized by violation of others’ basic rights and an inability to adhere to age-appropriate social standards.

Conduct disorder can manifest in the following behaviors:

  • – Lying
  • – Theft
  • – Arson
  • – Running away from home
  • – Aggression
  • – Truancy
  • – Burglary
  • – Cruelty to animals
  • – Fighting

Those with conduct disorder are often callous and lack any feelings of guilt.

Coping Mechanisms

A psychological strategy or adaptation used to decrease tension or anxiety in stressful situations.

Psychological interventions often focus on getting rid of harmful coping mechanisms.

Cyclothymic Disorder

A type of disorder characterized by alternating periods of hypomanic and depressive symptoms and lasts at least two years. The hypomanic and depressive symptoms in cyclothymic disorder are not severe enough to be considered major depressive or hypomanic episodes. This disorder is typically considered a milder form of bipolar disorder.



A personal idea or belief that is firmly maintained with conviction despite contradicting what is generally accepted as reality. Delusions can be short-term and disconnected (delirium) or highly organized and detailed (delusional disorders) but are usually somewhere in between.

Common types of delusions include:

  • – Delusional jealousy
  • – Delusions of being controlled
  • – Delusions of grandeur
  • – Delusions of persecution
  • – Delusions of reference
  • – Nihilistic Delusions
  • – Somatic Delusions


A disorder of mental processes characterized by a deterioration of memory and at least one other cognitive function. Dementia is often severe enough to interfere with daily social life and work life.

Dementia is not the same as age-associated memory impairment or mild cognitive impairment, as it has a much more significant effect on daily functioning than those.


Refers to a type of drug that diminishes or slows the function or activity of a system or organ in the body.

Depressants reduce arousal and stimulation and slow down messages between the brain and body of an individual.


A negative state of being that ranges from feelings of sadness or discontentment to feelings of extreme sadness and pessimism.

Depression interferes with daily functioning and can cause various physical, cognitive, and social changes such as changes in eating habits, altered sleep patterns, lack of energy or motivation, difficulty with concentration or decision making, withdrawal from social activities.

Depression is a symptom of a variety of mental health disorders.


The process of identifying the nature of an illness or disorder by examination of the symptoms with assessment techniques like tests and examinations.

Diagnosis can also refer to the classification of an individual’s condition based on the disease, abnormality, or characteristic they have.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

A type of therapy that uses techniques from behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and mindfulness. DBT helps individuals accept their reality and behaviors and change destructive thoughts and behavioral patterns by tolerating and regulating emotions.

DBT was specifically developed for difficult patients, such as those who experience borderline personality disorder.


A type of stress that occurs as a reaction to feeling overwhelmed by any demands, unfortunate events, losses, or perceived threats. It can cause individuals to have difficulties adjusting physically and psychologically, which can create significant health risks.

Distress can also refer to a negative emotion that has an unidentified or unspecified specific quality.

Double Depression

Occurs when someone with dysthymic disorder experiences a major depressive episode concurrently.

Symptoms include:

  • – Hopelessness
  • – Low ability to behave in response to internal states and intentions
  • – Low self-esteem
  • – Issues with sleeping
  • – Inability to enjoy once pleasurable activities

Double depression is most easily distinguished from dysthymic disorder alone, minor depressive disorder, and single-episode depression by the presence of severe hopelessness. Hardly any other distinguishing symptoms are widely agreed upon among researchers and practitioners. Some say that there are very few clinical differences between double depression and other depressive conditions. Others claim that those who have double depression experience more severe symptoms, more significant comorbidity, and poorer prognosis and are not as responsive to treatment.

Dual Diagnosis

The diagnosis of two separate disorders that occur at the same time in one individual. An example of this is depression and substance use disorder coexisting simultaneously in the same person.


A learning disability characterized by significant challenges concerning reading, spelling, writing words, and sometimes arithmetic. Someone with dyslexia may experience an impaired ability to process sounds, make connections between written letters and what they sound like, and read or write things backward.

Dyslexia can be developmental or acquired and does not occur due to a lack of motivation, sensory impairment, a lack of opportunities, or emotional disturbances. It is also not indicative of intellectual ability and is not considered a speech or vision disorder, although one or both may be present.

Dysthymic Disorder

A mood disorder characterized by symptoms similar to those of major depressive disorder, but that is less severe and longer-lasting.

Symptoms include:

  • – Lack of enjoyment in once pleasurable activities
  • – Decrease or increase in appetite
  • – Issues with sleep
  • – Lack of energy
  • – Feeling worthless
  • – Inappropriate guilt
  • – Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • – Thoughts of death
  • – Suicidal ideation
  • – Suicide attempts


Eating Disorder

A disorder that is characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits and attitudes related to food. Examples of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.


A feeling of intense happiness or excitement and an increased sense of well-being. Exaggerated euphoria is a common symptom of a manic or hypomanic episode.

Experiential Psychotherapy

A type of therapy that helps a client change through experiencing what a client is going through and the feelings that occur on the surface and deeper.

In experiential therapy, clients access and express their current feelings and feelings from previous significant experiences. Experiential therapists offer the clients ways to integrate their experiences into realistic and healthy perspectives of themselves.

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)

A form of behavior therapy used for individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder. This kind of therapy involves exposing a client to situations that trigger obsessions and provoke compulsive behaviors. The client is encouraged to abstain from compulsions after the exposure for as long as they can.

The intensity of the exposures usually increases over time. For example, suppose a client experiences obsessions and compulsions related to cleanliness and germs. In that case, they may first be asked to touch a doorknob, then touch a floor, then sit on a public toilet seat, and so on, all without engaging in their preferred compulsions.

Another ERP method is called flooding, which takes the opposite approach and begins with the most feared exposure. In either method, the exposures occur until the client’s emotional responses are greatly reduced or no longer occur.

In ERP, clients are not actually prevented from engaging in compulsions. Instead, they are encouraged to continue experiencing the exposure until their urge to engage in their preferred compulsion noticeably diminishes.


A personality trait characterized by a predominant concern for and engagement of energy in what is happening outside of oneself instead of what is happening inside oneself.

Extroverted people are generally outgoing, gregarious, friendly, and openly expressive.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

A type of treatment characterized by visualization of a traumatic event while concentrating on rapid movements of a therapist’s finger. EMDR is used to decrease the impact of symptoms that occur as a result of trauma. These symptoms include anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, or intrusive thoughts.


Family Therapy

A type of therapy focused on improving relationships and behavioral patterns within a family and individuals in the family. Various forms of treatment and models of therapy are used in family therapy.


Gender Dysphoria

The feeling of discomfort or distress regarding the physical or social aspects of one’s sex assigned at birth.

Gender dysphoria replaces gender identity disorder which shifts the focus from gender identification itself to the distress that someone experiences because of the feelings that arise from the incongruence of their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth.

Children with gender dysphoria may believe that they are a different gender than assigned at birth, a preference for toys, games, roles, and activities typically associated with the opposite gender, and discontentment with their sexual anatomy.

Adults with gender dysphoria may experience a strong desire to undergo sex reassignment and replace their sex characteristics with those of the opposite gender, a belief that they exhibit the emotions of the opposite gender, and a preference to be treated and recognized as the alternative gender identity.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

A disorder characterized by persistent and excessive worry about various concerns, including current events, finances, appearance, health, activities of friends and family, work, and school.

Symptoms of GAD include:

  • – Restlessness
  • – Fatigue
  • – Difficulty concentrating
  • – Irritability
  • – Muscle tension
  • – Sleep disturbances

People diagnosed with GAD have difficulty controlling their worry and experience symptoms more often than not for six months or longer.

Genetic Predisposition

An increased likelihood of developing a physical or mental condition or disorder based on genetic makeup. Certain traits are inherited genetically. For example, schizophrenia has a genetic predisposition that affects less than 1% of the population, but larger percentages of relatives, siblings, and twins of the affected individuals.


Refers to an unrealistic and exaggerated sense of superiority. Someone who experiences grandiosity may believe they have more extraordinary abilities than they do or are more important than they are. These may be considered delusions of grandeur in extreme cases.


The deep sorrow that someone experiences after a significant loss, usually the death of a loved one. Grief is different from bereavement and mourning as these do not always result in grief, and grief is not always shown publicly.

Grief often causes distress, anxiety, confusion, obsession with the past, and apprehension of the future. Intense grief can cause disruption of the immune system, self-neglect, and thoughts of suicide.

Group Therapy

A type of therapy characterized by mental and emotional interaction between two or more participants. This type of therapy focuses on participant interaction, and one or more therapists facilitate and guide it.

The goal of group therapy is to create a supportive and encouraging environment and ultimately help patients develop self-respect and self-understanding and improve interpersonal relationship skills.



False sensory experiences that appear to be real but are created in the mind. The most common hallucinations are auditory hallucinations (hearing things that aren’t there) and visual hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there).

Hallucinations usually occur as a symptom of a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia, but can also occur due to the use of substances, neurological abnormalities, and other conditions.

A hallucination is different from an illusion, which is a misinterpretation of something that is actually occurring.

Holistic Psychology

A type of psychology that focuses on looking at things as a whole. Holistic psychology seeks to understand individuals biologically, psychologically, and culturally and claims that individual characteristics can not explain the whole of these components.


A regulatory substance produced in an organism and secreted into the bloodstream. Hormones include secretions from the pituitary gland, corticosteroids and epinephrine from the adrenal glands, and sex hormones from the reproductive glands. The hypothalamus and stomach also secrete hormones.

Hypomanic Episode

An episode characterized by an elevated or irritable mood, inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, increased speech, racing thought, increased activity, engagement in risky behaviors, and a tendency to be more easily distracted.

Someone diagnosed with bipolar II disorder experiences one or more hypomanic episodes. Hypomanic symptoms are also characteristic of cyclothymic disorder.


Individual Therapy

A type of therapy that occurs on a one-on-one basis between an individual and a therapist. Therapists seek to treat one client’s psychological problems at a time and focus on his or her unique needs.


In general, any action taken to interfere with a process. A drug and alcohol intervention is a technique in which loved ones express concerns regarding an individual’s addiction and behaviors associated with their addiction. Interventions usually take place with the guidance of and in the presence of a mental health professional.

The end goal of an intervention is for the client to seek treatment immediately. If the client refuses to seek treatment, participants share their interpersonal consequences for this decision. For example, the client’s mother may tell them they need to move out.


A personality trait characterized by a predominant concern for oneself and one’s inner thoughts and feelings rather than what is occurring outside of oneself.

Introverted people are generally more withdrawn, shy, fond of being alone, reserved, quiet, and deliberate. They tend to be more skeptical and prefer to work on their own.

Involuntary Hospitalization

A legal procedure used to confine someone with a serious mental illness to a mental hospital. Involuntarily hospitalized individuals are considered a danger to themselves or others and may not recognize their need for treatment or understand the severity of their illness. They also may not be able to survive without this medical attention.





Major Depressive Disorder

A mood disorder characterized by the symptoms of a major depressive episode. These symptoms include:

  • – A lack of interest in once enjoyable activities
  • – Persistent sadness
  • – Pessimism
  • – Overt negativity
  • – Changes in appetite and weight
  • – Issues with sleep
  • – Lack of energy
  • – Feelings of worthlessness
  • – Inappropriate guilt
  • – Difficulty concentrating and decision making
  • – Thoughts of death
  • – Suicidal ideation
  • – Attempted suicide

Symptoms of major depressive disorder occur without accompanying episodes of mania or hypomania. A major depressive episode may accompany episodes of mania or hypomania in someone with bipolar disorder.

Manic Episode

An episode characterized by an elevated or irritable mood, restlessness, talkativeness, racing thoughts, inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, engagement in risky behaviors, and a tendency to be more easily distracted.

Manic episodes are different from hypomanic episodes. Manic episodes last at least a week, while hypomanic episodes last at least four consecutive days. Someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder will experience one or more manic episodes.


A drug prescribed by a doctor or available over the counter that helps treat an illness, disease, disorder, or condition. They are specifically used to treat mental illnesses.

Mental Disorder

A disorder characterized by significant distress, impairment of personal functioning, abnormal behaviors, or some combination of these. Mental disorders can result from physiological, genetic, chemical, social, and some environmental factors.

Mental Health

A state of mind characterized by emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental health is measured by good behavioral adjustment, freedom from anxiety and disabling symptoms, the establishment of healthy relationships, and the ability to cope with life’s demands and stresses.

Mental Health Counselor

A mental health professional who provides independent services or works as a part of a treatment team. Mental health counselors primarily work with those who experience emotional or behavioral issues.


The state of awareness of one’s internal state and surroundings. Mindfulness can be applied to various therapies, including mindfulness-based cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and mindfulness meditation.

These therapies can help individuals connect to their thoughts and emotions in the present moment without judgment or reaction, which can ultimately create healthier patterns and avoidance of destructive habits.

Mood Disorder

Any disorder characterized by prolonged and pervasive emotional disturbances. Mood disorders include bipolar disorders and their subtypes, including bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymic disorder; and depressive disorders including major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Mood Stabilizer

Any kind of medication used to treat cyclic mood disorders, including bipolar disorder and cyclothymic disorder, as they reduce the symptoms of manic episodes. Mood stabilizers are sometimes used to manage symptoms of personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder.

Examples of mood stabilizers include lithium and anticonvulsants like valproic acid, carbamazepine, and oxcarbazepine.


Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A disorder characterized by a long-term pattern of an inflated sense of self-importance, talent, and achievements; a need for excessive attention and admiration; a lack of empathy for other people and a tendency to take advantage of others and feel entitled to special favors; fantasies of sex, power, or beauty; and either indifference or feelings of rage and humiliation in response to criticism.



A persistent disturbing preoccupation in the form of an idea, image, or impulse that is intrusive or inappropriate. Obsessions are inconsistent with self, cannot be controlled, and lead to anxiety, distress, or discomfort.

Obsessions are different from excessive worries associated with everyday occurrences because they do not pertain to real-life issues. Obsessions include thoughts about contamination, a desire to maintain things in a particular order, unrelenting doubts, aggressive impulses, and sexual imagery. Individuals often attempt to neutralize obsessions with compulsive behavior.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

A disorder characterized by persistent preoccupations or obsessions which prompt the performance of a neutralizing behavior or compulsion.

Obsessions often involve preoccupations with contamination, dirt, illness, or doubts about performing specific actions. Compulsions often manifest in the form of repetitive cleaning, checking, ordering, repeating, and hoarding.

Obsessions and compulsions are considered excessive, unreasonable, time-consuming, distressing, and interfere with daily life.


A class of drugs that produce analgesia, drowsiness, euphoria, respiratory depression, and reduces gastrointestinal motility.

Clinically, opioids are used as pain relievers, anesthetics, cough suppressants, and antidiarrheal drugs. Many forms of opioids can be used recreationally, which can cause abuse and physical dependence.

Examples of opioids include naturally occurring opiates such as morphine, synthetic derivatives of opiates such as heroin, synthetic opioid agonists such as methadone, opioid antagonists, mixed agonist-antagonists, and endogenous opioids.