The ASAP Dictionary of Anxiety and Panic Disorders

Magnet - any object which produces a magnetic field. Commonly, a piece of magnetized iron or steel, or electromagnet. Magnets are sometimes sold or leased as a form of alternative medicine, often a bogus therapy. However, the value of intense, dynamic magnetic fields in treating depression is being studied in the form of transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Major Tranquilizer - a dated term for antipsychotic medication. Contrast with minor tranquilizer.

Malinger - to deliberately exaggerate or fake a disorder to avoid responsibility.

Manic - descriptive of dramatic mood changes.

Manic Depression - depression characterized by dramatic mood changes. Manic depression is typically categorized as bipolar or unipolar.

MAO - see Monoamine Oxidase.

MAOI - see Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor.

Marihuana - see cannabis.

Marijuana - see cannabis.

Massage - the kneading of muscles or stroking of skin to promote relaxation. There are many variations of massage from many parts of the world. Forms of massage are typically offered at a spa. Also see relax.

Mass Hysteria - the social transmission of a belief that produces excessive emotion amongst a group of individuals. Often a rumor, misunderstanding or misinterpretation that induces anxiety. Best moderated by healthy critical thinking skills and reassurance from trusted authority figures. Also see hysteria.

Mass Sociogenic Illness (MSI) - a form of mass hysteria characterized by hypochondria.

Medical School Syndrome - any collection of psychosomatic symptoms resulting from the study of a disorder. Also see hypochondria, morbid curiosity.

Medication - any substance which has a medical effect on the body. Such substances may be natural or artificial in origin (caffeine, nicotine, aspirin, etc.). The word "medication" is often synonymous with the word "drug." Medications derived from natural plants are typically called "herbal remedies." Among the pharmaceutical medications, classes typically used to treat anxiety disorders include BDZs, MAOIs, SRIs, SNRIs, TCAs. Also see brand name, comedication, generic name, self medication.

Medicine - a discipline devoted to the understanding and treatment of the body, typically concerned with the physical and chemical mechanisms of the body. Any condition which affects the body in a physical or chemical manner is considered "medical" in nature.

Meditation - reduction of stress through a calming cognitive activity. Also see prayer, relaxation technique, yoga.

Megaera - see Erinys.

Melancholy - see depression.

Melatonin - a hormone (an indoleamine) produced by the pineal gland especially in response to darkness. Melatonin affects the circadian rhythms and quality of sleep. For biosynthesis details see tryptophan.

Memory - the ability to recall past information or knowledge. Memory is an aspect of cognition and can be affected by stress and anxiety to varying degrees. An emotionally charged experience can produce potent memories of the moment while simultaneously interfering with past memories. Also, emotionally charged memories can easily be "triggered" by mundane experiences (as with PTSD). Memory dysfunction can produce effects such as deja vu or jamais vu. Also see cognitive dysfunction, intrusive memory.

Meta-Analysis - a statistical analysis technique which combines results from different existing studies. The results of such analysis can be highly questionable when the studies used have employed varying research methods or when the study selection process is somehow biased.

Metabolism - processes by which living cells breakdown or combine chemical molecules. Adv. Metabolize. Also see biosynthesis, monoamine oxidase.

Military Psychiatry - the application of psychiatry in association with combat environments. Though military psychiatry is often associated with PTSD, it involves all anxiety disorders and many other conditions. Military psychiatry is generally considered to have formally started during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904. Despite an awkward and often neglected evolution, military psychiatry has since revealed much about the extremes of human experience. Also see combat stress control team.

Minor Tranquilizer - a dated term for anxiolytic medication. Contrast with major tranquilizer. See tranquilizer.

Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP) - a relatively benign cardiac disorder involving a heart valve abnormality. MVP may be associated with autonomic nervous system problems and anxiety disorders, in which case it is referred to as Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome.

Monoamines - a class of hormones or neurotransmitters including the catecholamines (dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine) and indoleamines (serotonin and melatonin).

Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) - an enzyme that metabolizes norepinephrine and epinephrine.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) - an inhibitor of one of the family of enzymes that degrades and inactivates monoamines. A commonly prescribed MAOI is phenelzine, which is a highly effective antidepressant and anti-panic agent. Like most psychiatric medications, MAOIs are best started with ramped dosage. The MAOI medications include (generic names) brofaromine, isocarboxazid, moclobemide, pargyline, phenelzine, selegeline, tranylcypromine. Herbal MAOIs include hypericum and yohimbe. CAUTION: Users of MAOI medications must adhere to a strict dietary regimen which excludes all foods (such as certain cheeses and wines) that contain high concentrations of certain dietary amino acids, such as tyramine, that are ordinarily degraded by monoamine oxidase enzymes. Unless it is inactivated by MAO, tyramine causes release of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine, which can then produce hypertensive crisis and stroke. Also, MAOIs should not be combined with SRI medications.

Mood - a dominant emotion.

Mood Disorder - any acute or chronic emotional disorder, including anxiety disorders and depressive disorders.

Moody - descriptive of a persistent or frequent emotion.

Morbid Curiosity - a natural curiosity people have regarding disease, disorders, injury, death and related subjects. Morbid curiosity is likely a survival trait (i.e. such interests can have survival value). Also see anosodiaphoria, catastrophize, medical school syndrome.

Morpheus - see Oneroi.

Motivational Speaker - anyone who practices motivational speaking. Also see life coach.

Motivational Speaking - verbal encouragement of will. Since motivational speaking is generally not clinical in nature, it is not formally considered a psychotherapy. Also see life coaching.

Motor Cortex - a vertical strip of each parietal lobe that effectively provides a map of the body to control conscious muscle movement.

Motor Nervous System - a subdivision of the peripheral nervous system that channels commands from the brain to voluntary muscles.

MSI - see mass sociogenic illness.

Mushroom - a form of fungus. Some mushrooms have been used for anxiolytic purposes, such as amanita muscaria.

Mutism - inability to speak. Also see selective mutism, surdomutism.

MVP - see mitral valve prolapse.

Mythology - any collection of myths, or the study of myths. Mythical elements relevant to fear and anxiety include Deimos, Dionysus, Enyo, Erinys, Hypnos, incubus, Oneroi, Pan, Phobos, Psyche, succubus. Also see religion.

The ASAP Dictionary of Anxiety and Panic Disorders