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Specific mental illnesses and general words for mental illness

agoraphobia

noun

a fear of going outside and being in public places

Asperger’s syndrome

noun

a mental condition that makes it difficult for someone to react to and communicate with other people. It is similar to autism but less severe.

autism

noun

a serious mental condition that makes it difficult for someone to react to and communicate with other people

bipolar disorder

noun

a serious mental illness in which someone experiences extreme changes in mood, sometimes feeling very excited and sometimes very unhappy

breakdown

noun

a nervous breakdown

claustrophobia

noun

a fear of being in a small or crowded space or in a place that seems difficult to get out of quickly

combat fatigue

noun

a mental illness caused by a reaction to fighting in a war

delusion

noun

a mental condition in which you believe things that are not true

dementia

noun

a serious illness affecting someone’s brain and memory in which they gradually stop being able to think or behave in a normal way. Most forms of dementia usually affect only old people.

depression

noun

a medical condition in which a person is so unhappy that they cannot live a normal life

hypochondria

noun

a mental condition in which someone worries a lot about their health and thinks that they are ill when they are not

instability

noun

a condition in which someone’s mental state often changes

kleptomania

noun

a mental illness that makes someone want to steal things

madness

noun

severe mental illness

mania

noun

a mental illness that makes someone behave in an extremely excited and active way

manic depression

noun

a serious mental illness in which you experience extreme changes in mood, sometimes feeling very excited and sometimes feeling very unhappy. Many people now prefer to use the word bipolar disorder.

megalomania

noun

a mental illness in which someone believes they are very important and powerful when they are not

melancholia

noun

an old or literary word for depression

mentally handicapped

adjective

someone who is mentally handicapped is not able to learn or develop skills at the same rate as most other people because they have a problem with their brain. It is now considered more polite to say that someone is learning disabled or that they have special needs or learning difficulties.

Munchausen’s syndrome

noun

a condition in which someone pretends to have a serious illness in order to get treatment and sympathy from medical workers

nervous breakdown

noun

a mental condition in which you are so upset or unhappy that you cannot look after yourself

neurosis

noun

a mental illness that makes you behave in an unusual way or makes you worry all the time about something unimportant

obsessive compulsive disorder

noun

a mental illness that makes you keep repeating an action such as washing your hands, in order to avoid painful thoughts

OCD

noun

obsessive compulsive disorder

paranoia

noun

a mental illness that makes people believe that other people do not like them and want to harm them

persecution complex

noun

a mental illness in which you believe that everyone is unfair or cruel to you

personality disorder

noun

a mental or emotional condition that makes it difficult to have good relationships with people in social situations and at work

postnatal depression

noun

a mental illness in which a woman feels very sad after her baby is born

post-traumatic stress disorder

noun

a mental illness caused by having or seeing a very frightening experience, for example fighting in a war

psychosis

noun

a serious mental illness that affects your ability to know what is real and changes your personality and behaviour

schizoid

adjective

typical of schizophrenia

schizophrenia

noun

a serious mental illness in which the way that you think and feel is not connected with what is really happening

schizophrenic

adjective

typical of schizophrenia

shell shock

noun

a mental illness that affects soldiers who have fought in a war and makes them extremely nervous or confused

split personality

noun

a tendency to have extreme and unexpected changes of emotion or behaviour

split personality

noun

schizophrenia

Tourette’s syndrome

noun

a condition in which a person makes frequent repeated sounds or movements that they cannot control

derangement

noun

exhibitionism

noun

conscious uncoupling

the act of ending a marriage or romantic relationship in a way which shows that the two people will remain friends …

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someone who studies the stars and planets using scientific equipment including telescopes

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silver splitter

someone who divorces or separates from his/her partner in late middle age

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