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Healthy Minds - Vocabulary - Glossary of Terms
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Aggression
Any behavior that is intended to hurt someone, either physically or verbally.

Alcohol
A variety of beverages containing ethyl alcohol.

Anterograde amnesia
Loss of memories for events that occur after a head injury.

Attention
Focusing awareness on a narrowed range of stimuli or events.

Autonomic nervous system (ANS)
The system of nerves that connect to the heart, blood vessels, smooth muscles, and glands.

Behavior
Any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism.

Biopsychosocial model
A model of illness that holds that physical illness is caused by a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors.

Burnout
Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that is attributable to work-related stress.

Catastrophic thinking
Unrealistically pessimistic appraisals of stress that exaggerate the magnitude of one's problems.

Catharsis
The release of emotional tension.

Conflict
A state that occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioral impulses compete for expression.

Constructive coping
Relatively healthful efforts that people make to deal with stressful events.

Coping
Active efforts to master, reduce, or tolerate the demands created by stress.

Defense mechanisms
Largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt.

Displacement
Diverting emotional feelings (usually anger) from their original source to a substitute target.

Fight-or-flight response
A physiological reaction to threat in which the autonomic nervous system mobilizes the organism for attacking (fight) or fleeing (flight) an enemy.
Frustration
The feeling that people experience in any situation in which their pursuit of some goal is thwarted.

General adaptation syndrome
Selye's model of the body's stress response, consisting of three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.

Internet addiction
Spending an inordinate amount of time on the Internet and being unable to control online use.

Learned helplessness
Passive behavior produced by exposure to unavoidable aversive events.

Life changes
Any noticeable alterations in one's living circumstances that require readjustment.

Meditation
A family of mental exercises in which a conscious attempt is made to focus attention in a nonanalytical way.

Optimism
A general tendency to expect good outcomes.

Parasympathetic division
The branch of the autonomic nervous system that generally conserves bodily resources.

Pituitary gland
The “master gland“ of the endocrine system; it releases a great variety of hormones that fan out through the body, stimulating actions in the other endocrine glands.

Posttraumatic stress disorder
Disturbed behavior that is attributed to a major stressful event but that emerges after the stress is over.

Pressure
Expectations or demands that one behave in a certain way.

Prevalence
The percentage of a population that exhibits a disorder during a specified time period.

Psychosomatic diseases
Physical ailments with a genuine organic basis that are caused in part by psychological factors, especially emotional distress.

Rational-emotive therapy
An approach to therapy that focuses on altering clients' patterns of irrational thinking to reduce maladaptive emotions and behavior.

Sample
The collection of subjects selected for observation in an empirical study.

Social support
Various types of aid and succor provided by members of one's social networks.

Statistical significance
The condition that exists when the probability that the observed findings are due to chance is very low.

Stress
Any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one's well-being and that thereby tax one's coping abilities.

Sympathetic division
The branch of the autonomic nervous system that mobilizes the body's resources for emergencies.



Agoraphobia
A fear of going out to public places.

Amnesia
A significant memory loss that is too extensive to be due to normal forgetting. See also Anterograde amnesia, Retrograde amnesia.

Anorexia nervosa
Eating disorder characterized by intense fear of gaining weight, disturbed body image, refusal to maintain normal weight, and dangerous measures to lose weight.
Antisocial personality disorder
A type of personality disorder marked by impulsive, callous, manipulative, aggressive, and irresponsible behavior that reflects a failure to accept social norms.

Anxiety disorders
A class of disorders marked by feelings of excessive apprehension and anxiety.

Autonomic nervous system (ANS)
The system of nerves that connect to the heart, blood vessels, smooth muscles, and glands.

Behavior
Any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism.
Bipolar disorder
(formerly known as manicdepressive disorder) Mood disorder marked by the experience of both depressed and manic periods.

Bulimia nervosa
Eating disorder characterized by habitually engaging in out-of-control overeating followed by unhealthy compensatory efforts, such as self-induced vomiting, fasting, abuse of laxatives and diuretics, and excessive exercise.

Catastrophic thinking
Unrealistically pessimistic appraisals of stress that exaggerate the magnitude of one's problems.

Catatonic schizophrenia
A type of schizophrenia marked by striking motor disturbances, ranging from muscular rigidity to random motor activity.

Commitment
An intent to maintain a relationship in spite of the difficulties and costs that may arise.

Comorbidity
The coexistence of two or more disorders.

Concordance rate
The percentage of twin pairs or other pairs of relatives that exhibit the same disorder.

Conditioned response (CR)
A learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning.

Conditioned stimulus (CS)
A previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response.

Conjunction fallacy
An error that occurs when people estimate that the odds of two uncertain events happening together are greater than the odds of either event happening alone.
Culture-bound disorders
Abnormal syndromes found only in a few cultural groups.

Delusions
False beliefs that are maintained even though they are clearly out of touch with reality.

Diagnosis
Distinguishing one illness from another.

Disorganized schizophrenia
A type of schizophrenia in which particularly severe deterioration of adaptive behavior is seen.

Dissociative disorders
A class of disorders in which people lose contact with portions of their consciousness or memory, resulting in disruptions in their sense of identity.

Dissociative identity disorder (DID)
A type of dissociative disorder characterized by the coexistence in one person of two or more largely complete, and usually very different, personalities. Also called multiple-personality disorder.

Eating disorders
Severe disturbances in eating behavior characterized by preoccupation with weight concerns and unhealthy efforts to control weight.

Epidemiology
The study of the distribution of mental or physical disorders in a population.

Etiology
The apparent causation and developmental history of an illness.

Generalized anxiety disorder
A psychological disorder marked by a chronic, high level of anxiety that is not tied to any specific threat.

Genetic mapping
The process of determining the location and chemical sequence of specific genes on specific chromosomes.

Hallucinations
Sensory perceptions that occur in the absence of a real, external stimulus, or gross distortions of perceptual input.

Hindsight bias
The tendency to mold one's interpretation of the past to fit how events actually turned out.

Hypochondriasis
A somatoform disorder characterized by excessive preoccupation with health concerns and incessant worry about developing physical illnesses.

Insanity
A legal status indicating that a person cannot be held responsible for his or her actions because of mental illness.

Involuntary commitment
A civil proceeding in which people are hospitalized in psychiatric facilities against their will.

Learned helplessness
Passive behavior produced by exposure to unavoidable aversive events.

Major depressive disorder
Mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and despair and a loss of interest in previous sources of pleasure.

Medical model
The view that it is useful to think of abnormal behavior as a disease.

Mood disorders
A class of disorders marked by emotional disturbances of varied kinds that may spill over to disrupt physical, perceptual, social, and thought processes.

Multiple-personality disorder
See Dissociative identity disorder.

Negative reinforcement
The strengthening of a response because it is followed by the removal of an aversive (unpleasant) stimulus.

Negative symptoms
Schizophrenic symptoms that involve behavioral deficits, such as flattened emotions, social withdrawal, apathy, impaired attention, and poverty of speech.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
A type of anxiety disorder marked by persistent, uncontrollable intrusions of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage in senseless rituals (compulsions).

Panic disorder
A type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of overwhelming anxiety that usually occur suddenly and unexpectedly.

Paranoid schizophrenia
A type of schizophrenia that is dominated by delusions of persecution along with delusions of grandeur.

Personality disorders
A class of psychological disorders marked by extreme, inflexible personality traits that cause subjective distress or impaired social and occupational functioning.

Phobias
Irrational fears of specific objects or situations.

Phobic disorder
A type of anxiety disorder marked by a persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that presents no realistic danger.

Positive symptoms
Schizophrenic symptoms that involve behavioral excesses or peculiarities, such as hallucinations, delusions, bizarre behavior, and wild flights of ideas.

Preparedness
A species-specific predisposition to be conditioned in certain ways and not others.

Prevalence
The percentage of a population that exhibits a disorder during a specified time period.

Prognosis
A forecast about the probable course of an illness.

Psychosomatic diseases
Physical ailments with a genuine organic basis that are caused in part by psychological factors, especially emotional distress.

Schizophrenic disorders
A class of psychological disorders marked by disturbances in thought that spill over to affect perceptual, social, and emotional processes.

Somatization disorder
A type of somatoform disorder marked by a history of diverse physical complaints that appear to be psychological in origin.

Somatoform disorders
A class of psychological disorders involving physical ailments with no authentic organic basis that are due to psychological factors.

Stress
Any circumstances that threaten or are perceived to threaten one's well-being and that thereby tax one's coping abilities.

Unconditioned response (UCR)
An unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning.

Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
A stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning.
Undifferentiated schizophrenia
A type of schizophrenia marked by idiosyncratic mixtures of schizophrenic symptoms.

Antianxiety drugs
Medications that relieve tension, apprehension, and nervousness.

Antidepressant drugs
Medications that gradually elevate mood and help bring people out of a depression.

Antipsychotic drugs
Medications used to gradually reduce psychotic symptoms, including hyperactivity, mental confusion, hallucinations, and delusions.

Aversion therapy
A behavior therapy in which an aversive stimulus is paired with a stimulus that elicits an undesirable response.

Behavior modification
A systematic approach to changing behavior through the application of the principles of conditioning.

Behavior therapies
Application of the principles of learning to direct efforts to change clients' maladaptive behaviors.

Behaviorism
A theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should study only observable behavior.

Biomedical therapies
Physiological interventions intended to reduce symptoms associated with psychological disorders.

Client-centered therapy
An insight therapy that emphasizes providing a supportive emotional climate for clients, who play a major role in determining the pace and direction of their therapy.

Clinical psychologists
Psychologists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders and everyday behavioral problems.

Cognitive therapy
An insight therapy that emphasizes recognizing and changing negative thoughts and maladaptive beliefs.

Conditioned response (CR)
A learned reaction to a conditioned stimulus that occurs because of previous conditioning.

Conditioned stimulus (CS)
A previously neutral stimulus that has, through conditioning, acquired the capacity to evoke a conditioned response.
Conflict
A state that occurs when two or more incompatible motivations or behavioral impulses compete for expression.

Counseling psychologists
Psychologists who specialize in the treatment of everyday adjustment problems.

Defense mechanisms
Largely unconscious reactions that protect a person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt.

Deinstitutionalization
Transferring the treatment of mental illness from inpatient institutions to community-based facilities that emphasize outpatient care.

Dream analysis
A psychoanalytic technique in which the therapist interprets the symbolic meaning of the client's dreams.

Eclecticism
In psychotherapy, drawing ideas from two or more systems of therapy instead of committing to just one system.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
A biomedical treatment in which electric shock is used to produce a cortical seizure accompanied by convulsions.

Free association
A psychoanalytic technique in which clients spontaneously express their thoughts and feelings exactly as they occur, with as little censorship as possible.

Generalized anxiety disorder
A psychological disorder marked by a chronic, high level of anxiety that is not tied to any specific threat.

Group therapy
The simultaneous treatment of several clients in a group.

Incongruence
The degree of disparity between one's self-concept and one's actual experience.

Insight therapies
Psychotherapy methods characterized by verbal interactions intended to enhance clients' self-knowledge and thus promote healthful changes in personality and behavior.

Interpretation
In psychoanalysis, the therapist's attempts to explain the inner significance of the client's thoughts, feelings, memories, and behaviors.

Lithium
A chemical used to control mood swings in patients with bipolar mood disorders.

Major depressive disorder
Mood disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and despair and a loss of interest in previous sources of pleasure.

Mental hospital
A medical institution specializing in providing inpatient care for psychological disorders.

Placebo effects
The fact that subjects' expectations can lead them to experience some change even though they receive an empty, fake, or ineffectual treatment.

Psychiatrists
Physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders.

Psychoanalysis
An insight therapy that emphasizes the recovery of unconscious conflicts, motives, and defenses through techniques such as free association and transference.

Psychopharmacotherapy
The treatment of mental disorders with medication.

Rational-emotive therapy
An approach to therapy that focuses on altering clients' patterns of irrational thinking to reduce maladaptive emotions and behavior.

Reuptake
A process in which neurotransmitters are sponged up from the synaptic cleft by the presynaptic membrane.

Self-concept
A collection of beliefs about one's own nature, unique qualities, and typical behavior.

Shaping
The reinforcement of closer and closer approximations of a desired response.

Social psychology
The branch of psychology concerned with the way individuals' thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others.

Social skills training
A behavior therapy designed to improve interpersonal skills that emphasizes shaping, modeling, and behavioral rehearsal.

Spontaneous remission
Recovery from a disorder without formal treatment.

Systematic desensitization
A behavior therapy used to reduce clients' anxiety responses through counterconditioning.

Transference
In therapy, the phenomenon that occurs when clients start relating to their therapists in ways that mimic critical relationships in their lives.

Unconditioned response (UCR)
An unlearned reaction to an unconditioned stimulus that occurs without previous conditioning.

Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
A stimulus that evokes an unconditioned response without previous conditioning.

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