Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Clinical: Approaches · Group therapy · Techniques · Types of problem · Areas of specialism · Taxonomies · Therapeutic issues · Modes of delivery · Model translation project · Personal experiences ·

In this Glossary, Psychiatric Terms, initially mostly French and German and some English terms, as used in psychiatric literature, are defined. We aim to broaden this article to include most of the psychopathological terms in use.

There are many psychiatric terms that are of foreign-language origin; and are thus not easily understood by many English speakers. Most of these terms refer to expressions dating from the early days of psychiatry in Europe. This glossary aims to make the meaning of these terms clearer.

List of Terms Edit


Alternate term for Loosening of association. A milder form of derailment of thought, in which a person goes on jumping from one topic to another and there is little connection among the topics . This is in contrast to flight of ideas where a person jumps from one topic to another and there is a connection among the topics . See also #Entgleisenterm introduced by (Cameron).

Bouffée déliranteEdit

Bouffée délirante is a French term used in past for acute and transient psychotic disorders (F23 in ICD-10). In DSM-IV, it is described as "Brief Psychotic Disorder" (298.8). The symptoms usually have an acute onset and reach their peak within two weeks. The symptoms start resolving in a few weeks and complete recovery usually occurs within 2-3 months.

Capgras' syndrome or Illusion des sosiesEdit

In Capgras syndrome, the patient feels that a person familiar to him , usually a family member has been replaced by a double i.e. an identical looking imposter. Capgras Syndrome and Fregoli syndrome are characterized as delusional misidentifications.

It is named after Joseph Capgras (1873-1950), a French psychiatrist who first described the disorder in a paper by Capgras and Reboul-Lachaux1,2 in 1923. They used the term l'illusion des sosies (the illusion of doubles) to describe the case of a French woman who complained that various doubles had taken the place of people she knew. However, the term illusion has a subtly different meaning from delusion in psychiatry so Capgras delusion is used as a more suitable name.

Cerea flexibilitasEdit

Cerea flexibilitas, meaning "waxy flexibility," is characterized by a patient's movements having the feeling of a plastic resistance, as if the person were made of wax. This occurs in catatonic schizophrenia, and a person suffering from this condition can have his limbs placed in fixed positions as if the person were in fact made from wax.

Coenestopathic stateEdit

A patient in a coenestopathic state has a localized distortion of body awareness.

Cotard's syndromeEdit

Cotard's syndrome is a nihilistic delusional disorder in which, for example, patient believes that he denies his own existence or existence of his body parts and belongings etc. and has a firm conviction about that.

Déjà vuEdit

In Déjà vu, the person feels shows undue familiarity to an event or a person. For example , he feels that the same thing happened before too or he has met this person before etc.

Déjà penséEdit

In Déjà pensé, a completely new thought sounds familiar to the person and he feels as he has thought the same thing before at some time.

Dementia praecoxEdit

Psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin was the first to draw a distinction between what he termed dementia praecox ("premature dementia") and other psychotic illnesses. In 1911, dementia praecox was renamed schizophrenia by psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who found Kraepelin's term to be misleading, as the disorder is not a form of dementia, premature or otherwise.

Dementia pugilistica Edit

Dementia pugilistica, also called "chronic traumatic encephalopathy", "pugilistic Parkinson's syndrome", "boxer's syndrome", and "punch-drunk syndrome", is a neurological disorder which affects career boxers and others who receive multiple dazing blows to the head. The condition develops over a period of years, with the average time of onset being about 16 years after the start of a career in boxing.


The Doppelgänger is a phenomenon in which the person feels that his exact “double” is present alongside him every time and goes with him wherever he goes.

Écho de la penséeEdit

In écho de la pensée, meaning "thought echo" in French, thoughts seem to be spoken aloud just after being produced. The patient hears the 'echo' of his thoughts in the form of a voice after he has made the thought. See also #Gedankenlautwerden and #Thought Sonorization.


Literally means jumping off the rails. Alternate term used for derailment of thought (a morbid form of loosening of association or #asyndesis). A Schneiderian term by origin. In this form of thought the patient jumps from one topic to another during conversation and both topics have literally no connection with each other. This is in contrast with flight of ideas where connection is present between one topic and another.

Fatuous affectEdit

The moods of a patient with fatuous affect resemble the moods of a child. This condition is seen in hebephrenic schizophrenia.

Folie à deux Edit

Also called induced psychosis, folie à deux is a delusional disorder shared by two or more people who are closely related emotionally. One has real psychosis while the symptoms of psychosis are induced in the other or others due to close attachment to the one with psychosis. Separation usually results in symptomatic improvement in the one who is not psychotic.

Folie communiquée, folie imposée, folie induite, and folie simultanée are the four subtypes of folie à deux.

Folie communiquéeEdit

Folie communiquée, or subtype C of folie à deux, occurs when a normal person suffers a contagion of his ideas after resisting them for a long time. Once he acquires these beliefs he maintains them despite separation.

Folie imposéeEdit

Folie imposée, or subtype A of folie a deux, is the most common form in which the dominant person imposes a delusion into a person who was not previously mentally ill. Separation of the two results in improvement of the non-dominant person.

Folie induiteEdit

In folie induite, or subtype D of folie a deux, a person who is already psychotic adds the delusions of a closely associated person to his own.

Folie simultanéeEdit

In folie simultanée, or subtype B of folie a deux, a delusional system emerges simultaneously and independently in two closely related persons, and the separation of the two would not be beneficial in the resolution of psychopathology.

Fregoli's syndromeEdit

In Fregoli syndrome, the person feels that a person not known to him previously gets changed to a familiar person or one of his close family members. This is in contrast to Capgras syndrome in which he feels that his family member has changed into an unknown person or an imposter.


In Gedankenlautwerden , a patient hears thoughts Hearing thought spoken aloud Thoughts are heard in the form of a voice at the same time when they are thought, not afterwards. See also Écho de la pensée and Thought Sonorization

Hyposchemazia; AschemaziaEdit

Hyposchemazia is characterized by the reduced awareness of a patient's body image and Aschemazia by the absence of it. These disorders can have many varied causes such as physical injuries, mental disorders, or mental or physical states. These include transection of the spinal cord, parietal lobe lesions (e.g. right middle cerebral artery thrombosis), anxiety, depersonalization, epileptic auras, migraines, sensory deprivation, and vertigo (i.e. "floating on air").

Idée fixeEdit

Idée fixe is an alternate term for an overvalued idea. In this condition, a belief that might seem reasonable both to the patient and to other people comes to dominate completely the patient's thinking and life.

Jargon aphasiaEdit

Jargon aphasia,is characterized by incoherent, meaningless, speech with a neologisms (newly invented words). These are unconscious thoughts that find expression when one is off one's guard and must be consciously repressed.

Klüver Bucy syndromeEdit

In Klüver Bucy syndrome, a patient will display placidity, hyperorality, hypersexuality, and hyperphagia. This condition results from bilateral destruction of the amygdaloid bodies of the limbic system.

Knight's Move thinkingEdit

Knight's Move thinking a phenomenon similar to derailment of thought or loosening of associations , is characterized by odd, tangential associations between ideas that lead to disruptions in the smooth continuity of speech. The name for this disorder likely derives from the odd movement pattern of knights in the game of Chess.


Koro is a culture-specific syndrome usually seen in chinese people . It involves a morbid fear of retraction of the penis into the abdomen with the belief that this will lead to death.

La belle indifférenceEdit

La belle indifférence is characterized by a lack of concern and an indifference about a disability and is seen in hysteria or dissociative disorders.


Latah is a culture-specific syndrome usually seen in Southeast Asia and involves startle-induced disorganization, hypersuggestibility, automatic obedience, and echopraxia (a tendency to mimic examiner’s or other person’s actions).

L'homme qui ritEdit

In l'homme qui rit,meaning "The man who laughs" in French, a patient displays inappropriate laughter accompanied by release phenomena of the frontal subdominant lobe.

Lilliputian hallucinationsEdit

Lilliputian hallucinations are characterized by abnormal perception of objects as being shrunken in size but normal in detail.


In logoclonia, the patient often repeats the last syllable of a word.


Logorrhoea, also known as "volubility," is characterized by a patient's fluent and rambling speech using numerous words.

Mania a potuEdit

Mania a potu is an alcohol intoxication state with violent and markedly disinhibited behavior. This condition is different from violent behavior in otherwise normal individuals who are intoxicated.


Mitgehen is an extreme form of mitmachen in which very slight pressure leads to movement in any direction, also called the "anglepoise" effect. This is done despite instructions that the patient resist the pressure, as the patient often views the slight pressure as forceably grasping and moving the patient.


In mitmachen, the patient's body can be put into any posture, despite instructions given that the patient resist.


Moria is the condition characterized by euphoric behavior, such as fivolity and the inability to act seriously.In addition there is a lack of foresight and a general indifference. It is found in frontal lobe lesions,often alongwith #Witzelsücht particularly when the orbital surface is damaged. Recent research has shown its presence in frontotemporal dementia.


Pallilalia is characterized by the repetition of a word or phrase.


Paraschemazia is characterized by a distortion of a patient's body image. It can be caused by hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD and mescalin, epileptic auras, and sometimes migraines.

Pseudologia fantasticaEdit

Pseudologia fantastica is a condition in which a person grossly exaggerates his symptoms or even tells a lie abut his symptoms in order to get medical attention . Seen in malingering and Munchausen syndrome.


Schizophasia, or colloquially "word salad", is characterized by a patient's speech being an incoherent and incomprehensible mix of words and phrases. This occurs in schizophrenic patients.


A schnauzkrampf is a grimace resembling pouting sometimes observed in catatonic patients.

Sensitiver beziehungswahnEdit

Sensitiver beziehungswahn, is an alternate term for ideas of reference . In this the person thinks as people are talking about him or observing him or a talk is going on about him on television or radio. Seen in social phobia, depression and in schizophrenia where they are often present up to a delusional extent.

Thought SonorizationEdit

A combined term for #Gedankenlautwerden and #Écho de la pensée

Vorbeigehen; VorbeiredenEdit

In vorbeigehen or vorbeireden, a patient will answer a question in such a way that one can tell the patient understood the question, although the answer itself may be very obviously wrong. This condition occurs in Ganser's syndrome and has been observed in prisoners awaiting trial. Vorbeigehen(giving approximate answers) was the original term used by Ganser but Vorbeireden (talikng past the point) is the term generally in use (Goldin 1955).


Wahneinfall is alternate term for autochthonous delusions. This is one of the types of primary delusions in which a firm belief comes into the patient's mind 'out of the blue' or as an intution , hence called delusional intution. Other types of primary delusions include delusional mood (or atmosphere), delusional (apophanous perception) and delusional memories.


Witzelsücht is a tendency to tell inappropriate joke and creating excessive facetiousness and inappropriate or pointless humor. It is seen in Frontal lobe disorders usually alongwith #moria. Recent research has shown that it may also be seen in frontotemporal dementia.


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.