Agranulocytosis: Extremely low white blood cell count.

Akathisia: Psychomotor restlessness (a feeling of being unable to sit still).

Alogia: Reduction or poverty in speech.

Anhedonia: The reduced ability to experience pleasure in daily activities.

Anosognosia: The inability to recognize that one is ill.

Apathy: A decreased interest in activities that would otherwise be interesting.

Asociality: A decreased desire for social interaction.

Avolition: Reduced motivation or goal-directed behavior.

Boundary impairment: An impaired ability to sense where one’s influence ends and another person’s begins. For example, the person might walk up to a table and drink out of someone else’s glass.

Bradykinesia: Slowed movement.

Catatonia: A pronounced increase or decrease in the rate and amount of movement; excessive movement is purposeless.

Clang associations: Stringing words together that rhyme without logical association and do not convey rational meaning. For example, a client exhibiting clang associations may state, “Here she comes with a cat catch a rat match.”

Cognitive symptoms: A category of symptoms of schizophrenia that refer to problems in attention, concentration, and memory, such as difficulty processing information to make decisions; problems using information immediately after learning it; and trouble focusing or paying attention.

Command hallucinations: Auditory hallucinations that command the individual to do something.

Coordinated specialty care (CSC): A general term used to describe recovery-oriented treatment programs for people with first-episode psychosis, an early stage of schizophrenia.

Delusion: A fixed, false belief not held by cultural peers and persisting in the face of objective contradictory evidence. For example, a client may have the delusion that the CIA is listening to their conversations via satellites.

Dystonia: Involuntary contractions of muscles of the extremities, face, neck, abdomen, pelvis, or larynx in either sustained or intermittent patterns that lead to abnormal movements or postures.

Echolalia: Pathological repetition of another person’s words.

Echopraxia: Mimicking the movements of another person.

Extrapyramidal side effects (EPS): Adverse effects, such as akathisia, rigidity, bradykinesia, tremor, and acute-dystonic reactions, that can occur from first-generation antipsychotics,

First-generation antipsychotics: Also referred to as “typical antipsychotics”; this class of medications has several potential adverse effects due to the blockage of dopamine receptors. Medication is prescribed based on the client’s ability to tolerate the adverse effects.

Flat affect: A reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone.

Hallucinations: False sensory perceptions not associated with real external stimuli that can include any of the five senses (auditory, visual, gustatory, olfactory and tactile). For example, a client may see spiders climbing on the wall or hear voices telling them to do things. These are referred to as “visual hallucinations” or “auditory hallucinations.”

Illusions: Misperceptions of real stimuli. For example, a client may misperceive tree branches blowing in the wind at night to be the arms of monsters trying to grab them.

Loose associations: Jumping from one idea to an unrelated idea in the same sentence. For example, the client might state, “I like to dance; my feet are wet.”

Magical thinking: Falsely believing that reality can be changed simply by one’s thoughts.

Metabolic syndrome: A cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Symptoms include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Weight, glucose levels, and lipid levels should be monitored regularly.

Negative symptoms: A category of symptoms of schizophrenia that includes loss of motivation, diminished feelings of pleasure in everyday life, flat affect, and reduced speaking.

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome: A rare but fatal adverse effect that can occur at any time during treatment with antipsychotics. Signs include increased temperature, severe muscular rigidity, confusion, agitation, hyperreflexia, elevation in white blood cell count, elevated creatinine phosphokinase, elevated liver enzymes, myoglobinuria, and acute renal failure. The antipsychotic should be immediately discontinued if these signs occur.

Paranoia: An irrational fear that can range from being suspicious to thinking someone is trying to kill you.

Positive symptoms: A category of symptoms of schizophrenia that include hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders, disorganized speech, and alterations in behaviors.

Psychosis: Conditions where there is loss of contact with reality. Psychosis may be a symptom of a mental illness or other medical conditions. When a person experiences psychosis, their thoughts and perceptions are disturbed, and the individual has difficulty understanding what is real and what is not real. Symptoms of psychosis include delusions and hallucinations. Other symptoms include incoherent or nonsensical speech and behavior that is inappropriate for the situation.

Psychotic episode: An episode of psychosis that can include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior.[1]

Schizophrenia: A severe mental illness characterized by periods of psychosis for at least six months.

Second-generation antipsychotics: Also referred to as “atypical antipsychotics”; this class of medication has fewer adverse effects because they block selective dopamine D2 receptors as well as serotonin. For this reason, they are generally better tolerated than first-generation antipsychotics.

Tardive dyskinesia (TD): A syndrome of movement disorders that can occur in clients taking first-generation antipsychotics, persisting for at least one month and up to several years despite discontinuation of the medications. The movement disorders include akathisia, dystonia, tics, and other abnormal involuntary movements.

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Desk reference to the diagnostic criteria from DSM-5.


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