The Dictionary of Anxiety and Panic Disorders

Definitions regarding Anxiety Disorders and Healthy Anxiety from Psychology, Medicine, Alternatives, Culture and History.

This web site is intended for educational purposes. Patients are strongly advised to maintain an open dialog with appropriate and accredited health professionals and to not alter treatment without consulting a doctor.

Latest UpdateEdited by Arthur Anderson
December 14, 2019Technical Advisor Jay Wesley


Mark ArkeyHirsch DavisGerard KrasPhilip Peters
CarlyRosita FerroLisa MarieRegina
John H. Casada, M.D.Ilkka KarvinenWayne MaxwellRobert Ryder
Gary CooperKendraAnnie PangElisabeth Shaw

And others who wish to remain anonymous





5-HT – see 5-hydroxytryptamine.

5-HTP – see 5-hydroxytryptophan.

5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) – see serotonin.

5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) – an amino acid biosynthesized from tryptophan.


Acetylcholine – the primary neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Achluophobia – a phobia of darkness.

Acid Reflux Disease – see gastroesophogial reflux disease.

Acquired Dependence – see addiction.

Acrophobia – a phobia of heights. Also see vertigo.

Acupuncture – the insertion of needles into the body to relieve pain or disease. Typically considered a form of alternative medicine.

Acute – descriptive of disorders, or phases of disorders, involving severe symptoms, fast onset and relatively brief duration. Contrast with chronic.

Acute Combat Stress Reaction – psychological trauma experienced in combat environments which can lead to PTSD.

Acute Stress Disorder – an acute initial stage of severe PTSD. Acute stress disorder may involve dissociation symptoms.

Addiction – an acquired dependence resulting from excessive exposure to a substance or behavior. Reduction or removal of such exposure often results in physical and/or psychological distress known as a withdrawal syndrome. Since the symptoms of withdrawal syndromes and anxiety disorders are extremely similar, caution should be used in distinguishing the two. Characteristics of addiction may include increasing tolerance, loss of control or functionality, or dismissal of adverse consequences. Causes of addiction include unwise recreation, self-medication (wittingly or unwittingly), genetic vulnerability, or inappropriate management of medication or therapy.

Adjustment Disorder – an emotional or behavioral disorder resulting from difficulty adapting to stressors.

Adrenal Gland – either of two endocrine glands near the kidneys that produces cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Adrenaline – a dated term typically referring to epinephrine.

Adrenaline Rush – commonly, the arousal, excitement or thrill associated with an experience that is novel and/or risky. Symptoms are usually associated with the action of epinephrine and dopamine. A person’s appreciation of an adrenaline rush is very subjective; i.e. highly dependent on the individual and circumstances.

Adventure – any remarkable undertaking which involves some form of personal risk and requires courage. Also see thrill.

Aerophobia – a phobia of flying. Also known as aviophobia or flight phobia.

Affective Disorder – any mood disorder, including depressive and bipolar illness.

Afraid – possessing an emotional state of fear.

Agonist – any chemical (chemical messenger or substance) that stimulates the release of a chemical messenger. Contrast with antagonist.

Agoraphobia – a phobia of anxiety or panic attacks that results in a growing avoidance of things or situations. Also see housebound, safe zone.

Air Hunger – see suffocation alarm.

Akinetic Seizure – a type of generalized seizure characterized by a person suddenly collapsing, without warning, and for short duration. Such seizures are usually only seen in children. Also known as a “drop attack.” Also see faint.

Alcohol – a substance (namely ethanol) which has a sedative effect when consumed. Consumption of alcoholic beverages may relieve anxiety for several hours. However, the aftereffects of alcohol are generally considered to aggravate anxiety. It is interesting to note that consumption of alcohol can affect dopamine and serotonin. Also see Dionysus. CAUTION: as a dopamine agonist, alcohol can be highly addictive.

Alekto – see Erinys.

Alexithymia – a disorder where emotional responses are expressed through somatic, or bodily, symptoms.

Algae – a group of one-celled colonial plants sometimes sold as an alternative medicine for anxiety disorders; probably a bogus therapy.

Allostasis – the ability of a system to dynamically adopt varying states to accommodate changing demands. Adj. Allostatic. Contrast with homeostasis. An example of allostatic balance is a rise of epinephrine in response to exercise, stress or perceived danger, followed by a fall of epinephrine during relaxation.

Alternative Medicine – techniques used to treat a disorder or disease which are not yet formally embraced by mainstream medicine. These techniques may have a long history of use in traditional healing, or are sometimes newly discovered or developed. Whether old or new, the distinguishing characteristic of an alternative medicine is that it’s therapeutic value is based on anecdotal accounts rather than controlled scientific study. Such lack of scientific evidence does not necessarily rule out a true therapeutic value, but simply means that a therapeutic value has yet to be proven scientifically and, consequently, is not yet recognized by mainstream medicine. In other words, alternative medicines may have an unknown or misunderstood value beyond a simple placebo. Due to uncertainty, limited regulation and occasional exploitation, caution should be used when exploring such options. Even though alternative medicine is not “formally” embraced by mainstream medicine, many medical doctors like to remain open-minded on the subject and should be consulted before trying such techniques. Forms of alternative medicine include acupuncture, aroma therapy, chiropractic, cranialsacro somatic therapy, herbal remedies, holistic medicine, homeopathy, magnets, naturopathy, radionics, therapeutic touch.

Alt.Support.Anxiety-Panic (ASAP) – the Internet Usenet newsgroup that focuses on anxiety and panic disorders in general. Created in July, 1994, ASAP was the first Internet group devoted to such disorders. The moderated version of this group is known as Alt.Support.Anxiety-Panic.Moderated (ASAPM).

Amanita Muscaria – a red-speckled mushroom which is the cousin of the deadly “Angel of Death” mushroom. Apparently, this mushroom was sometimes used by ancient warriors as an anxiolytic before tribal combat. Shamans somehow discovered that the mushroom’s properties were more potent in urine than direct ingestion.

Amnesia – loss of memory. Amnesia is typically temporary and brief in anxiety disorders. Also see cognitive dysfunction, hysterical fugue.

Amygdala – either of two almond shaped brain structures of the limbic system, which act as a gateway between the limbic system and cerebrum (near the temporal lobes). The association of intellectual and emotional meaning is believed to occur through the amygdala. Some forms of depression, anxiety or panic disorders may be related to amygdala dysfunction. Also see extinction.

Anecdotal – based on personal accounts.

Anecdote – a personal account.

Anhedonia – a decreased ability to enjoy previously pleasurable activities.

Anorgasmia – a loss of sexual desire (libido) and/or sexual function. Anorgasmia is often a side effect of SRI medications, which may temporarily last several weeks or persist throughout medication usage. In cases of prolonged anorgasmia due to medication, other medications are often considered.

Anosodiaphoria – an indifference towards diseases and disorders. Contrast with hypochondria, medical school syndrome, morbid curiosity.

ANT – see automatic negative thought.

Antacid – a substance used to counteract discrete episodes of heartburn. Common active ingredients of antacids include aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide, or sodium bicarbonate. In general, antacids should not be used on a regular basis and can interact with some medications, so consult a doctor if heartburn is frequent or regular. Also see gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Antagonist – any chemical (chemical messenger or substance) that inhibits the release of a chemical messenger. Contrast with agonist.

Antianxiety Medication – see tranquilizer.

Anticipatory Anxiety – anxiety which is caused by the expectation of anxiety in a particular situation. Also see performance anxiety, white-coat effect.

Anticonvulsant – a term applied to any medication used to control convulsions, seizures or epilepsy. The BDZ medications are included in this group since they are used to treat both epilepsy and anxiety disorders.

Antidepressant – a term typically used to describe medications that are used in the treatment of depression. Such medications are sometimes found useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders, but tend to still be called antidepressants because doctors originally used them to treat depression. In other words, taking an antidepressant does not necessarily imply that a person is depressed. Antidepressant medications include MAOIs, SRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, but exclude BDZs.

Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome – any withdrawal syndrome associated with antidepressant medication.

Anxiety – a psychological and/or biological response to stress, which can persist in the absence of such stress. Feelings of anxiety involve discomforting apprehension or concern, which may include symptoms such as cognitive difficulties, hypersensitivity, dizziness, muscular weakness, breathing difficulties, irregular heart beat, sweating, or fear-like sensations in general. Typically, anxiety is a natural and healthy response to life experiences. However, exaggerated or chronic anxiety often indicates an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can be produced by external stress (exogenous anxiety) or internal stress (endogenous anxiety). Contrast with fear. Also see courage, healthy anxiety.

Anxiety Attack – an episode of extremely uncomfortable anxiety. Severe forms of anxiety attacks are called panic attacks.

Anxiety Disease – a general term referring to anxiety disorders collectively.

Anxiety Disorder – any disorder mainly characterized by an excessive degree of anxiety. Typical features include anxiety symptoms of greater severity, duration or frequency than seems appropriate for the circumstances involved. There are many possible causes for anxiety disorders which may be psychological, psychiatric, neurological and/or endocrine in nature. Anxiety disorders include Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Phobias, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Anxiety disorders can sometimes aggravate medical conditions and should be discussed with a medical doctor. Contrast with healthy anxiety. Also see diagnosis, substance-induced anxiety disorder.

Anxiety Phobic Depersonalization Syndrome – an alternate name for panic disorder.

Anxiety Neurosis – see hypochondria.

Anxiogen – anything that generates anxiety. See challenge agent, stressor.

Anxiogenic – descriptive of anything that causes anxiety.

Anxiolytic – descriptive of anything that reduces anxiety.

Anxiolytic Medication – see tranquilizer.

APD – see avoidant personality disorder.

Apothecary – see pharmacist.

Arachnophobia – a phobia of spiders.

Aroma Therapy – an alternative medicine practice where the sense of smell is used to affect mood.

Art Therapy – any psychotherapy which employs an art form. In the visual arts, often the drawing or painting of pictures to promote expression and understanding of an emotional state, or use of prepared images as a catalyst for discussion, free association or a form of exposure therapy. Literary arts or performance arts (music, acting, etc.) can be similarly applied.

Assertive Behavior – to communicate or act in a bold or insistent manner. Such behavior can reduce anxiety by increasing a sense of control; i.e. it can ease the build up of anxiety, feelings of guilt, being victimized, being used or manipulated. Assertiveness training or assertiveness therapy teaches how to say “no” and to express how “you” feel. Assertive behavior can be helpful in many aspects of anxiety disorders. Contrast with passive behavior.

Assertiveness Therapy – a form of behavioral therapy with emphasis on encouraging assertive behavior.

Auditory Cortex – an area of each temporal lobe that interprets sound.

Aura – any sensation that frequently precedes an attack in various disorders.

Automatic Negative Thought (ANT) – an unpleasant thought which is automatically triggered by a situation and encourages anxiety. Based on concepts from cognitive therapy. Also see negative thought.

Automysophobia – a phobia of being dirty or unclean.

Autonomic Nervous System – a subdivision of the peripheral nervous system; further divided into the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system regulates the functions of various organ systems. Once thought to regulate functions inaccessible to consciousness, the autonomic nervous system is now known to be under greater voluntary control.

Autophobia – a phobia of being alone.

Aversion Therapy – a form of behavioral therapy which reinforces desired behavior through some form of “positive punishment” conditioning. See operant conditioning.

Aviophobia – a phobia of flying. Also known as aerophobia or flight phobia.

Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD) – a form of social anxiety disorder characterized by avoidance of social situations which might involve criticism or rejection. Often involves feelings of inadequacy.


Bacchus – see Dionysus.

Bach Rescue Remedy – an alternative medicine derived from wild flowers. Some people report mild and temporary relief from stress and anxiety. This remedy was invented by noted homeopath Dr. Edward Bach and is considered safe to use and non habit-forming.

Background Stressor – any environmental stimuli (sound, light, etc.) that causes stress and is beyond an individual’s control. Also see stressor.

Bacteriophobia – a phobia of bacteria.

Bad Dream – an unpleasant dream, sometimes formally characterized as an unpleasant dream that does not cause the dreamer to awake. Contrast with nightmare and sleep terror.

Barbiturate – a group of sedatives and hypnotics derived from barbituric acid. These were the drug treatment of choice for anxiety disorders prior to the arrival of the benzodiazepines.

Bashful Bladder – see paruresis.

Basilar Artery – an artery that supplies blood to the brain. Spasms of the basilar artery can reduce blood flow, and thus oxygen, to the brain which can result in suffocation alarm and anxiety attacks.

Baskerville Effect – see psychophysiological death. Term inspired by the Sherlock Holmes story “Hound of the Baskervilles” in which a character is frightened to death.

Battle Fatigue – an alternate name for post traumatic stress disorder dating from WWII.

Battle Shock – psychiatric breakdown on the battle field typically due to exogenous stress. Battle shock can be clinically described as acute (often called combat shock) or gradual (often called combat fatigue) depending on the speed with which symptoms manifest themselves. Also see acute combat stress reaction, acute stress disorder, post traumatic stress disorder.

BDZ – see benzodiazepine.

Behavior – the physical actions of an individual or group. Adj. Behavioral.

Behavioral Therapy (BT) – a psychotherapy to overcome anxiety through techniques such as exposure therapy or relaxation. Also see aversion therapy, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, homework, operant conditioning.

Bellona – see Enyo.

Benzo – a commonly used abbreviation for benzodiazepine.

Benzodiazepine (BDZ) – a group of medications that reduce nerve cell electrical activity by augmenting the effect of GABA, but are also known to act as CCK antagonists. Like most psychiatric medications, benzodiazepines are best started slowly with ramped dosage and discontinued slowly by tapering dosage. Chlordiazepoxide was the first benzodiazepine medication, introduced in 1960. However, alprazolam (introduced in 1980) was the first benzodiazepine to prove effective in the treatment of panic disorder, and remains one of the most effective anxiolytics for episodic panic attacks. The benzodiazepines have a far more favorable ratio between anxiolytic action and sedative effects than the barbiturates, a greater therapeutic index, and less risk for addiction when used properly. The benzodiazepine medications include (generic names) alprazolam, benzodiazepam, bromazepam, chlordiazepoxide, clobazam, clonazepam, clorazepate, diazepam, estazolam, flunitrazepam, flurazepam, lorazepam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, quazepam, temazepam, triazolam. CAUTION: Excessive use of BDZ medications can result in addiction or aggravation of an anxiety disorder. The main symptom of excessive BDZ dosage is drowsiness. BDZ medications should only be used to make anxiety or panic tolerable, not eliminate anxiety entirely. Also see grapefruit.

Beta Blocker – a medication that treats physical symptoms such as blood pressure and heart palpitations. Since such symptoms are common with anxiety disorders, some anxiety sufferers benefit from treatment with beta blockers. However, it should be noted that beta blockers may cause problems during strenuous exercise.

BID – two times a day. Prescription direction based on the Latin phrase “bis in die.” Also see dose.

Biofeedback – a behavioral therapy technique for controlling physiologic responses through heightened awareness and practice. The conceptual base for biofeedback involves the idea that some physiological parameter can be transformed into an electrical signal. This signal can then be ‘fed back’ to the patient (as visual or sound cues) which can be used to better understand and control physiological functioning.

Biogenic – generated by a biological process.

Biosynthesis – production of a chemical compound by living cells. Also see tryptophan, tyrosine.

Bipolar Disorder (BPD) – a form of manic depression that involves dramatic mood swings in to and out of depression; i.e., exaggerated highs and lows.

Blanch – an involuntary whitening of the skin or other tissues caused by decreased blood flow. During intense anxiety or fear, a noticeable blanching of the skin (turning white or pale with fear) may sometimes occur. Such blanching is caused by excessive levels of stress or anxiety related hormones which act as a vasoconstrictor. Also see Raynaud’s syndrome. Contrast with blush.

Blue Green Algae – see algae.

Blush – an involuntary reddening of the face caused by vasodilation; specifically, increased blood flow to the skin which is often associated with embarrassment. Regarding anxiety disorders, excessive blushing is often related to social anxiety. Contrast with blanch.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder – a somatoform disorder characterized by excessive concern regarding body appearance that causes pronounced distress or social anxiety.

Bogus Therapy – any therapy that is no more effective than a placebo, but is presented and practiced as something more substantial. In the kindest sense, bogus therapies are promoted by naive individuals. In the worst sense, bogus therapies are promoted by unethical and/or sociopathic individuals who prey on people’s misconceptions and desperation for personal profit. Related products or services are often advertised with grossly exaggerated claims and/or blatant lies.

Brain – an organ that processes sensory stimuli, cognitive functions and associations (conscience and unconscience); a major portion of the central nervous system. Major structures of the brain include the cerebrum, limbic system, thalamus and brain stem.

Brain Stem – an inner brain structure that regulates heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, digestion, and reflex actions such as swallowing or vomiting.

Brain Zap – a sensation resembling an electrical jolt passing through the body, a second or less in duration. Sometimes such episodes might briefly interfere with muscle control. Brain zaps may sometimes be associated with withdrawal from serotonin related antidepressant medications, including paroxetine (Paxil) and venlafaxine (Effexor), and may last for a few months after discontinuation of such medication. Also see dysesthesia, paresthesia.

Brand Name – an arbitrary name given to a medication for purely commercial or legal reasons. A specific medication may have many brand names, but will have only one generic name. For example, the medication diazepam (generic name) has more than 100 brand names (including the brand name “Valium”).

Bravery – see courage.

Breathing Exercise – to breath in a deliberate and controlled manner to help induce a desired physical or psychological state. One such exercise is to breath in a calm manner to reduce stress or anxiety as a relaxation technique. Another exercise employs hyperventilation to increase anxiety as a form of exposure therapy.

Brontophobia – a phobia of thunder.

BT – see behavioral therapy. C

Caffeine – an alkaloid substance which is a stimulant and diuretic. Caffeine is generally considered to aggravate anxiety disorders and is found in many foods and beverages; most notably coffee, “energy drinks” and soft drinks (fizzy drinks). Caffeine is also found in chocolate and tea, yet these also contain other substances which help counter the stimulant effects of caffeine.

Calms Forte – a herbal remedy remedy for insomnia which is supposedly helpful in quieting down the nervous system. Ingredients include Avena Sativa, Chamomilla, Humulus Lupulus, Passiflora (passion flower). CAUTION: Consult a doctor when pregnant or nursing.

Cannabis – a plant (Cannabis sativa) whose dried leaves are often smoked for euphoric effect. Though often used as a recreational drug and considered a narcotic, cannabis may have medicinal applications. Synonyms include marihuana, marijuana, pot, weed. CAUTION: Cannabis use can sometimes evoke anxiety attacks and might possibly result in an anxiety disorder.

Carafate – a substance that adheres tightly to eroded gastric (stomach) mucosa, promoting healing and forming a bandage against further damage. Carafate also binds to stomach bile to help maintain proper acidity in the stomach. Helpful in the treatment of GERD and IBS.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – a substance which is the product of respiration and other processes. Normal levels of CO2 do not produce panic attacks. However, in carefully conducted lab experiments, high levels of CO2 can trigger suffocation alarm and, consequently, CO2 is used as a challenge agent in anxiety studies. People with panic disorder are more sensitive to CO2 than others, but anyone can experience a panic attack from excessive CO2.

Cardiac Disorder – any disorder of the heart. Such disorders should be considered in the diagnosis of anxiety disorders. Cardiac disorders include arrhythmias and mitral valve prolapse. Also see cardiology.

Cardiac Neurosis – a dated alternate name for panic disorder. The somatic symptoms of a panic attack can be remarkably similar to the symptoms of a heart attack. In past, patients who confused panic attacks with heart attacks were often judged as neurotic. Also see exhausted heart.

Cardiology – the study of the heart. See cardiac disorder, fear bradycardia, palpitation, stress cardiomyopathy, tachycardia, vasovagal syncope.

Catastrophize – excessive preoccupation with worst case scenarios or most dreaded possibilities. Also see cognitive therapy, morbid curiosity.

Catecholamines – a family of monoamine chemical messengers involved in many functions such as autonomic arousal, fight-or-flight stress responses, and reward. These include dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

Catharsis – to relieve psychological pain by making its cause conscious and expressable. Also see repression.

Catnip – a plant (Nepeta cataria) used as a herbal remedy. Though known mostly for its stimulant effect on cats, catnip has long been used as a sedative for humans.

CBT – see cognitive behavioral therapy.

CCK – see cholecystokinin.

Central Nervous System (CNS) – a subdivision of the nervous system which includes the brain and spinal cord. Contrast with peripheral nervous system.

Cerebral Cortex – the cerebrum’s overall surface layer of gray tissue. The cerebral cortex is also called the neocortex. Specialized regions of the cerebral cortex include the auditory cortex, motor cortex, prefrontal cortex, sensory cortex, visual cortex. Also see extinction.

Cerebrum – the largest part of the brain. The cerebrum is divided into four paired (left and right) lobes; known as frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe, and occipital lobe. Conscience intellectual processes are believed to occur in the cerebrum.

CES – see cranial electrotherapy stimulation.

CFIDS – Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome. See chronic fatigue syndrome.

CFS – see chronic fatigue syndrome.

Challenge Agent – any chemical substance that can produce an anxiety attack. Such agents include carbon dioxide, cholecystokinin, sodium lactate.

Challenge Study – any clinical study in which an attack is induced via a challenge agent.

Chamomile – a plant (Matricaria recutita) whose flowers are used as a herbal remedy; sedative.

Chemical Messenger – a chemical molecule released by one cell that affects another cell. Chemical messengers are how cells communicate and coordinate their functions. Hormones, neurotransmitters and pheromones are collectively known as chemical messengers. Some chemical messengers, known as neurohormones, act as both a hormone and a neurotransmitter. Chemical messengers that stimulate or inhibit the release of other chemical messengers are called agonists or antagonists, respectively. Also see catecholamine, glucocorticoid, indoleamine, re-uptake inhibitor.

Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (CY-BOCS) – a questionnaire-based measure of obsessive and compulsive symptom frequency (severity), present or past. Designed for ages 6 to 14. Also see YBOCS.

Chiropractic – a form of alternative medicine which claims to adjust nerve pressure through manipulations of the spine or related techniques. Though medical in appearance, there is no scientific basis for such claims and any benefits are likely placebo related.

Chocolate – a preparation made from the roasted and ground seeds of a plant (Cacao) that contains caffeine and phenylethylamine.

Cholecystokinin (CCK) – a chemical messenger related to some forms of anxiety disorders and associated with gastrointestinal disorders. CCK-4 is a potent challenge agent that can induce anxiety or panic attacks even in people with no history of anxiety disorder. CCK induced panic attacks seem best treated with a BDZ medication.

Chronic – descriptive of disorders that are long lasting. Contrast with acute.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) – a medical disorder involving symptoms of persistent fatigue, concentration difficulties, and may sometimes involve an anxiety disorder. Contrast with Epstein Barr Virus and fibromyalgia syndrome.

Classical Conditioning – a trained association between two stimuli. Also known as “Pavlovian” conditioning. Also see conditioning. Contrast with operant conditioning.

Claustrophobia – a phobia of closed spaces or situations which are difficult to escape from. May occur with elevators, escalators, etc.

Clinic – any health care establishment that provides diagnosis and/or treatment in an educational or outpatient context. Clinics sometimes specialize in specific fields of health care. When clinics specialize in “clinician education” or “clinical trials” they may, with apparent irony, not accept patients on a “clinical basis.”

Clinical – regarding the diagnosis and/or treatment of patients within established health care guidelines.

Clinical Trial – any program where appropriate volunteers are recruited to participate in the testing of a new therapy (often a new medication). Prior to a clinical trial, research is conducted to rule out most risks to people. Nonetheless, risk can not be ruled out entirely prior to a clinical trial, so volunteers are frequently evaluated for adverse effects over the duration of the trial. Clinical trials are often best at determining short-term effects. Longterm effects are usually noticed after the completion of the initial trial(s) and approval for public treatment. People usually volunteer for such trials when established treatments seem inadequate or are offered benefits that seem to outweigh the risks. Also see placebo controlled study.

Clinician – any clinical doctor or therapist.

CNS – see central nervous system

Cocaine – an alkaloid derived from the leaves of a tropical plant (Eeythroxyllum coca). The chewing of coca leaves has a long history of use in traditional medicine as an anxiolytic and analgesic. However, the white powder used as a recreational drug is far more refined and potent than coca leaves and is generally considered a dangerous narcotic. CAUTION: as a dopamine agonist, cocaine can be highly addictive.

Coffee – a tropical plant (Coffea) whose roasted and ground beans are used to make popular drinks that contain caffeine (unless decaffeinated).

Cognition – mental functions such as memory, concentration, perception and recognition. Adj. Cognitive. Also see cognitive dysfunction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – a psychotherapy which combines cognitive and behavioral therapy techniques. Also see exposure therapy, homework, paradoxical intention, rational emotive behavior therapy.

Cognitive Dysfunction – impairment of cognition, such as difficulties with memory, concentration, ability to make decisions, etc. Anxiety or fear can produce various forms and degrees of cognitive dysfunction, but such effects are typically temporary and clear up when anxiety decreases. Also see amnesia, hysterical fugue, mass hysteria, stress shutdown.

Cognitive Restructuring – a form of cognitive therapy involving discussion of thoughts, identification of questionable thoughts and encouragement of more balanced and realistic perspectives.

Cognitive Therapy (CT) – a psychotherapy which attempts to manage anxiety by modification of thinking habits. Also see automatic negative thought, catastrophize, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive restructuring, homework, negative thought, positive thought.

Combat Exhaustion – an alternate name for PTSD dating from WWII.

Combat Fatigue – a gradual form of battle shock which develops in four stages. The first stage includes symptoms of fluctuating fear; including muscular tremors, increased frequency and urgency of urination, intense thirst, a refusal to eat which often leads to anorexia, vomiting, great increases in sweating, vasomotor instability, and other overt physiological signs of fear. In the second stage, the earlier symptoms relax somewhat leaving a heightened sense of awareness, strength, and energy. The third stage involves growing fatigue, sleeping difficulties, irritability, and constant tremors. The forth stage involves apathy, extreme concentration and memory problems, anxiety or conviction that death is imminent, disregard for personal safety, and even a vegetative state approaching catatonia. Overall, the symptoms of these stages resemble forms of acute stress disorder or PTSD.

Combat Shock – a form of battle shock which resembles a rapid version of combat fatigue.

Combat Stress Control Team – any team of Army specialists who assess soldier mental health during deployment. Also see military psychiatry.

Comedication – the use of a medication to alleviate side effects or augment another medication.

Commercial Name – see brand name.

Co-morbid – regarding two or more disorders occurring at the same time. Some conditions that are often co-morbid with anxiety disorders include chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, hyperhidrosis, hypersensitivity, hyperventilation, irritable bowel syndrome, incontinence, insomnia, mutism, Raynaud’s syndrome, sinusitis, tinnitus.

Complimentary Medicine – the use of herbal or alternative medicine instead of, or in addition to, medical prescriptions.

Compulsive – descriptive of thoughts or behavior which are automatic responses to anxiety or stress. A common example is compulsive hand washing caused by an obsession with cleanliness or a phobia of being unclean. Also see obsessive or phobia.

Conditioning – to train a response to a stimulus. See classical conditioning and operant conditioning.

Control Group – in clinical trials, a control group is the group of people not subjected to the therapy being tested. For example, in pharmacological studies, control groups are often given a placebo rather than the medication being studied.

Conscience – a psychoanalytic term referring to the superego.

Conscious – a state of being awake and aware, or descriptive of any thoughts we are aware of. Contrast with subconscious and unconscious.

Constitutional Inadequacy – see inadequacy.

Consultation – typically, a first visit with a doctor or therapist to discuss treatment options.

Conversion Disorder – a somatoform disorder characterized by sensory or motor symptoms associated with conflict or stress.

Conversion Reaction – a Freudian concept where repressed desire is vented in the form of an anxiety attack or other symptom.

Convulsion – the trembling or shaking associated with a seizure. Also used as a synonym for seizure. Also see tremor.

Cortex – the outer part or external layers of an internal organ. See cerebral cortex.

Corticotropin Releasing Factor (CRF) – a hormone produced by the hypothalamus which triggers the pituitary and adrenal glands to release cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine into the bloodstream. Amygdala activity can stimulate heightened CRF levels.

Cortisol – the body’s chief stress fighting hormone produced by the adrenal gland (a glucocorticoid). Cortisol is high during periods of stress, and low when relaxing. A decrease in cortisol is associated with increase in serotonin and dopamine. Heightened levels of cortisol are associated with muscle tension, perspiration, skin conditions (psoriasis, acne, eczema), etc. Also see hydrocortisone.

Counseling – guidance by a trained social worker or religious leader. Such guidance can be helpful for various anxiety disorders, but acute or chronic cases typically require a psychiatrist and/or psychologist.

Courage – a person’s ability to function despite fear or anxiety. Since fear and anxiety can be caused by internal and external sources, courage cannot be measured by an external situation alone, and social comparisons can be misleading. A person’s apparent courage may vary greatly from situation to situation. Even the bravest people have limited endurance for tolerating prolonged exposure to fear or anxiety. Also see thrill.

Cowardice – refusal to confront a reasonable degree of fear or anxiety. Since fears and anxieties are extremely subjective (relative to experience, circumstance, stress and modulated by anxiety disorders) the qualifier of “reasonable degree” is highly individualized and very important. Compare with courage.

Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) – a therapy where electrodes are placed on or near a person’s ears to pass low level electricity through the brain; the person remaining awake and alert during the whole process. Apparently, CES can relieve anxiety for limited periods, though the mechanism of its efficacy is not known. CES may be used as an adjunct to anxiolytic medication and/or psychotherapy. Side effects may include headache, lightheadedness, or skin irritation by electrodes. CES is also known as Transcranial Electrotherapy (TCET) and Neuroelectric Therapy (NET), but should not be confused with Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) which uses higher levels of electricity to produce therapeutic convulsions. Also see Vagus Nerve Stimulator. CAUTION: CES is not recommended for people with a history of epilepsy or seizures.

Cranialsacro Somatic Therapy – apparently, a therapy that claims to treat ailments by realigning the plates of the skull. In fact, these plates become rigidly joined after birth and any attempt to actually realign them would be hazardous, to say the least. Apparently a bogus therapy.

CRF – see corticotropin releasing factor.

CT – see cognitive therapy.

Cure – any therapy that will eliminate a disorder. Regarding anxiety disorders, existing therapies can significantly reduce symptoms and promote recovery, yet not necessarily eliminate the causes of such disorders. Consequently, anxiety disorders are often described as treatable, rather than curable. Also see panacea.

Cyberchondria – use of health information found on the Internet in an excessive, uncritical or reckless manner. Also see hypochondria.

CY-BOCS – see Children’s Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale.

Cytology – the science of individual cells. The genetic and biochemical aspects of anxiety disorders are highly dependent on the function of cells within the nervous system and endocrine system. D

DA – see dopamine.

DaCosta’s Syndrome – an alternate name for post traumatic stress disorder or panic disorder dating back to the American Civil War.

Daymare – a daydream or fantasy which produces intense anxiety. Regular or frequent daymares can be a feature of obsessive thinking. Contrast with nightmare.

Deep Muscle Relaxation – see progressive muscle relaxation.

Degeneration – a 19th century Victorian belief that the hereditary transmission of mental illness might pose a serious danger to society.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) – a hormone that is abundant at infancy and young adulthood. Some believe that supplements of DHEA may increase youthful vigor, but the effects of such supplements are not yet understood.

Deimos – a god from Greek mythology who personified fear, especially demoralization in the midst of conflict. Son of Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus). Brother of Phobos. Latin, Deimus. Roman, Formido or Metus. Also see mythology.

Deja Vu – a sense that something encountered for the first time is somehow familiar. Contrast with jamais vu.

Delusion – a false belief that is maintained in spite of contrary evidence.

Demoralization – feelings of being ineffective, inadequacy at solving problems, and inability to control one’s life. Demoralized individuals become discouraged, frustrated, ashamed or unhappy about the difficulties of carrying out their normal routines. Such feelings are a frequent consequence of chronic anxiety disorders or depression. Also see nostalgia.

Dependence – any physical or psychological need or craving for a substance or behavior to maintain functionality or minimize adverse effects of a disorder. Some forms of dependence are innate (e.g. air, water, food), the product of a disorder (e.g. insulin) or acquired through excessive exposure (i.e. addiction). Also see withdrawal syndrome.

Depersonalization – an altered and unreal perception of ourselves, our feelings and/or our situation. Sometimes described as a loss of personal identity or feeling that one is someone else. In one person’s words, “feeling like you are on the outside looking in, as your perception is altered. The real sense was that things were going on around me, but I didn’t feel that I was there.” Contrast with derealization. Also see hypervigilance.

Depression – a sense of unhappiness; ranging from mild anhedonia to a profound sense of futility and worthlessness. Chronic depression can be psychological or psychiatric. Depression is associated with anxiety and panic disorders in many cases. Adj. Depressive.

Derealization – an altered and unreal perception of things and objects around us in space/time. Contrast with depersonalization. Also see hypervigilance.

Desensitization – reducing sensitivity to a stressor through repeated exposure. See exposure therapy.

DHEA – see dehydroepiandrosterone.

Diagnosis – identification of an illness or disorder. Contrast with prognosis. Anxiety disorders are difficult to diagnose because their symptoms are similar to many other conditions. Anxiety disorders are not tested for directly, but are diagnosed by ruling out other conditions with similar symptoms. Consequently, the proper diagnosis of anxiety disorders often involves a number of medical tests under the supervision of a diagnostician or a general practice doctor. Conditions that are often ruled out include cardiac disorder, epilepsy, Epstein Barr virus, hypoglycemia, hypotension, Lyme disease, pernicious anemia, pheochromocytoma, porphyria, postpartum depression, respiratory disease, seasonal affective disorder, streptococcus infection, thyroid disorder.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) – the most respected reference for diagnosis of psychiatric disorders. Published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the DSM presents theoretical definitions of disorders; describing biological, psychological, and social aspects of various conditions. This manual has been dramatically revised since its first three editions, so only the more recent editions (DSM-III-R and DSM-IV) should be used in clinical settings. Contrast with International Classification of Diseases.

Diagnostician – a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosis.

Diathesis – a predisposition to a disorder.

Diet – an array of substances consumed. Contrast with nutrition.

Dionysus – a god from Greek mythology who personified fertility, especially in regard to the vine and, consequently, associated with wine. Son of Zeus (Jupiter) and Semele. Roman, Bacchus (god of wine). He removed inhibitions and freed emotions. Spring is his season of happiness and winter is his season of sadness. Mythical associations of Dionysus with Pan seem ironic when considering the nature of alcohol and seasonal affective disorder. Also see mythology.

Dissociation – a mental response that diverts consciousness from painful or traumatic associations. Such responses may include depersonalization, derealization, amnesia, splitting of identity or even loss of consciousness; in essence, escaping painful associations of reality by going to another real or imaginary place.

Distraction – redirecting attention from one thought towards another thought. Distraction can be a helpful psychological technique for reducing anxiety. For example, anticipatory anxiety can often be reduced by shifting attention from negative thoughts to positive thoughts.

Diuretic – any substance that increases urine flow and, therefore, water loss.

Dizzy – a whirling sensation with reduced feeling of balance. Also see vertigo.

Dopamine (DA) – a hormone and neurotransmitter (a catecholamine). In the central nervous system dopamine is involved in functions as diverse as motor control, cognition, and is one of the primary neurotransmitters involved in the reward centers of the brain. DA appears to regulate endorphin levels (perception of pain) and sensations of pleasure. Dysfunctional levels of DA are related to Parkinson’s disease, paranoia, memory and concentration problems. DA blockade is the mechanism of action of the antipsychotic drugs. For biosynthesis details see tyrosine. Also see oxytocin, prolactin.

Dose – amount of a substance. Also see BID, pharmacokinetic, PRN, QD, QID, ramped dosage, taper, therapeutic dosage, TID, TIDM.

Double Blind Study – a study in which neither the investigator nor the subject know whether a medication or placebo is being used for any given subject. This prevents bias on the part of the subject and investigator.

Dread – a powerful anticipatory fear.

Dream – thoughts or experiences which occur when sleeping. Also see bad dream, daymare, nightmare, Oneroi, REM, sleep.

Dream Analysis – the analysis of dreams in an effort to discover unconscious meanings or symbolic associations. Also known as oneirology. Dream analysis can vary greatly depending on the underlying theory used to interpret dreams. Generally, some dreams are more meaningful than others, and some dreams may have no significant meaning at all. Within psychotherapy, the dreams most likely to have significant meaning are recurrent dreams (i.e. dreams that occur frequently and are somehow similar in content, context or theme).

Drop Attack – see akinetic seizure.

Drug – technically any substance used as a medication, although the word “drug” is sometimes used in a negative connotation (implying addiction, abuse or illicit use). Also see recreational drug.

Drug Dealer – commonly, anyone who provides recreational drugs.

Druggist – see pharmacist.

Drug Marketing Representative – see pharmaceutical representative.

Drug Representative – see pharmaceutical representative.

Drug Sales Representative – see pharmaceutical representative.

DSM – see Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

Dysautonomia – any irregularity in the autonomic nervous system. This term applies to the somatic symptoms of anxiety such as sensory deficiencies, perspiration, hyperventilation, salivation, tachycardia.

Dysesthesia – an unpleasant sensation which may resemble prickling, itching, burning, or electrical shock. Also see brain zap, paresthesia.

Dyskinesia – impaired voluntary movement involving muscular spasms.

Dysphoria – feeling unwell or unhappy. Opposite of euphoria. Adj. Dysphoric.

Dysthesia – see dysesthesia.

Dysthymia – chronic depression or irritability, punctuated by periods of healthy mood and function. E

E – see epinephrine.

Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) – regarding ear, nose and throat health. ENT doctors can diagnose conditions such as inner ear infection, sinusitis, tinnitus.

EBV – see Epstein Barr virus.

ECG – see electrocardiogram.

ECT – see electroconvulsive therapy.

EEG – see electroencephalogram.

Effort Syndrome – an alternate name for post traumatic stress disorder or panic disorder dating back to WWI.

EKG – see electrocardiogram.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) – a medical device for monitoring the electrical rhythms of the heart. See cardiac disorder.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) – a therapy where electrodes are placed on or near a patient’s ears to pass high level electricity through the brain; producing convulsions with therapeutic effect. ECT is often used for extreme depression. Typically, patients do not remember their ECT sessions and the main side effect is temporary loss of short term memory. ECT should not be confused with Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) which uses low level electricity and does not act via therapeutic convulsions. Also see Vagus Nerve Stimulator.

Electroencephalogram (EEG) – a medical device for monitoring the electrical rhythms of the brain. Often used to rule out seizures in panic disorder cases.

EMDR – see Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

Emetic – any agent that causes vomiting.

Emetophobia – a phobia of vomiting.

Emotion – any psychological and/or neurological state characterized by somatic sensations, as well as cognitive and behavioral tendencies. Also see mood.

Empathy – ability to emotionally relate to another individual’s emotional state.

Endocrine System – the system of endocrine glands (adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, etc.) which produce hormones and pheromones.

Endocrinologist – a medical doctor who specializes in endocrinology.

Endocrinology – the study of the endocrine system, and related responses of other tissues and organs.

Endogenous Anxiety – anxiety that is the product of an individual’s internal stress. Typically the result of an anxiety disorder, perhaps involving a hormone or neurotransmitter dysfunction. Contrast with exogenous anxiety.

Endorphins – a family of neurotransmitters (neuropeptides) involved in the muting of pain. Endorphin levels appear to be directly related to dopamine levels.

ENT – see Ear, Nose and Throat.

Entomophobia – a phobia of insects.

Enyo – a god from Greek mythology who personified horror, especially regarding conflict. A female relative of Ares (Mars), but not clear if she was his daughter or sister. Roman, Bellona. The word ‘belligerent’ is derived from ‘Bellona’. Also see mythology.

Epidemiology – factors regarding the distribution of a disease or disorder within a population.

Epilepsy – excessive electrical activity in the brain which results in a seizure or convulsion. Adj. Epileptic. The etiology of epilepsy and anxiety disorders may overlap to some degree. Anticonvulsant medications are used in the treatment of both seizures and panic attacks. Epilepsy, proper, can be diagnosed by EEG and is typically ruled out during the diagnosis of anxiety disorders.

Epinephrine (E) – a hormone and neurotransmitter (a catecholamine) produced by the adrenal gland. Abnormally high levels of E can cause anxiety or panic attacks (e.g. pheochromocytoma). For biosynthesis details see tyrosine. Some anesthetics contain E which may aggravate anxiety, so discuss any concerns with your doctor or dentist before a medical procedure.

Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) – a virus which produces symptoms similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Though EBV and CFS were once considered synonymous, they are now considered different conditions. EBV can be diagnosed with a blood test.

Erinys – the Erinys were a group of Greek spirits that punished guilt with fear. They originally sprang from the spilled blood of Uranus. Appearing as women with hair of snakes (but not Gorgons) their names were Alekto (the unresting), Megaera (the jealous) and Tisiphone (the avenger). Roman, the Furiaes (Furies). Also see mythology.

ERP – see Exposure and Response Prevention.

Etiology – the overall causes of a disorder or disease. Contrast with pathology. Etiology focuses on various ’causes’ of a disorder, pathology focuses on various ‘characteristics’ of a disorder.

Exercise – exertion of the body or mind. Physical exercise is typically considered to reduce anxiety through either exposure to symptoms, release of endorphins or, following exercise, by promoting improved relaxation and sleep. Similarly, mental exercise can be stimulating or, via distraction, relaxing. However, not everyone responds the same to exercise, so moderation and an appropriate degree of clinical guidance are recommended.

Exhausted Heart – a dated alternate name for post traumatic stress disorder or panic disorder. Also see cardiac neurosis.

Exogenous Anxiety – anxiety due to an individual’s external stress. Typically, such anxiety is a healthy and normal reaction to one’s environment. However, when such anxiety is excessive it may be due to an anxiety disorder. Contrast with endogenous anxiety.

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) – a form of exposure therapy.

Exposure Therapy – any behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy designed to overcome anxiety through exposure to the cause of anxiety. Exposure is usually, but not always, gradual. Also see exposure and response prevention, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, flooding, interoceptive technique, traumatic incident reduction, virtual reality exposure.

Extinction – a process where neurons in the cerebral cortex learn new memories to compete with conditioned fear responses of the amygdala.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – a form of psychotherapy that uses rapid eye movement to help recondition an anxiety response. F

Factitious Disorder – intentional production of symptoms in the absence of tangible personal gain.

Faint – to lose consciousness. Also see akinetic seizure, orthostatic hypotension, postural hypotension, vasovagal syncope.

Family Therapy – any psychotherapy intended to help family members better understand each other or better address issues of treatment and recovery.

Fear – a response to external stress, which does not persist in the absence of such stress. Contrast with anxiety. Also see courage.

Fear Bradycardia – slowed heartbeat in response to fear. Also see cardiology.

Fear of Flying – a phobia of flying. Also known as flight phobia, aerophobia or aviophobia.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) – a medical disorder which causes muscular pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, headaches and IBS. FMS apparently involves hormonal disturbances similar to some forms of anxiety and panic disorders. Treatment often involves mild exercise and may involve medications such as BDZs, SRIs or TCAs. Also see chronic fatigue syndrome.

Fight or Flight Response – a quick and unconscious neurological response to a perceived threat that stimulates defensive behavior. Proposed by Walter Cannon in 1914. Also see freeze, startle response.

Flashback – a vivid recollection of an experience. Regarding PTSD, flashbacks tend to be extremely potent and intrusive memories of a trauma and the emotions associated with the trauma. Though flashbacks are often triggered, they do not always require a trigger and may simply occur in the absence of distractions (e.g., when trying to relax or sleep). To avoid flashbacks, people with PTSD often embrace activities that will keep them distracted.

Flight Phobia – a phobia of flying. Also known as aerophobia or aviophobia.

Flooding – a technique of exposure therapy that attempts to desensitize an anxiety response through intense exposure to the anxiety.

FMS – see Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

Free Association – speaking thoughts and feelings associated with a topic without regard to how others might judge them. Free association is an important aspect of psychoanalysis. Also see Rorschach test.

Freeze – to cease moving. A common survival response induced by fear. Also see fight or flight response, paralysis, pseudoparalysis, surdomutism.

Freudian – relating to the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Also see psychoanalysis.

Fright – a sudden and brief episode of fear.

Frontal Lobe – the forward lobe of the cerebrum. Also see prefrontal cortex.

Functional – able to function in society despite a disorder. Contrast with nonfunctional.


GABA – see Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid.

GAD – see Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) – An inhibitory neurotransmitter that is widespread throughout the central nervous system. GABA and BDZs can act at different sites on the same complex receptor to produce inhibition in nerve cells.

GAS – see General Adaptation Syndrome.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – irritation of the esophagus (throat) by acidic fluid from the stomach. Commonly called “heartburn” because the sensation is often in the chest area. Also known as acid reflux disease or pyrosis. Severity can range from mild discomfort to extreme pain (sometimes mistaken for a cardiac disorder). Effects can extend to the sinuses and cause sinusitis. Studies suggest that GERD can cause tissue damage and even cancer of the esophagus if left untreated over a prolonged period. Regarding anxiety disorders, GERD may indicate a CCK imbalance; which may be treated with a BDZ and carafate. Also see antacid, H2 receptor blocker, proton pump inhibitor.

Gastrointestinal (GI) – regarding the stomach and intestines. Anxiety related gastrointestinal conditions include gastroesophageal reflux disease, incontinence, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, vomiting.

Gene – a segment of DNA or RNA that specifies the structure of chemical molecules, such as proteins, produced and used by cells.

General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) – a collection of physical and psychological responses to stress.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – an anxiety disorder that is independent of situation. Symptoms are similar to anxiety attacks, but are more persistent and may involve things like worrying about worrying. Depression can often be an underlying cause of GAD and some people may promote anxieties to distract themselves from depression.

General Practice (GP) – regarding medical doctors who provide general medical guidance, diagnosis and treatment. Also see diagnostician.

Generic Name – the universal name given to a medication. Contrast with brand name. A medication will have only one generic name, but may have many brand names.

Gene Therapy – any medical therapy that introduces new genes into cells to treat diseases or disorders. Some forms of anxiety disorders appear to have a genetic basis and may be treatable with gene therapy in future.

Genetic – relating to genes.

Gephyrophobia – a phobia of crossing a bridge.

GERD – see Gastroesophogial Reflux Disease.

GI – see Gastrointestinal.

Ginger – a herb (genus Zingiber) used as a herbal remedy with anxiolytic properties that are supposedly similar to benzodiazepines. CAUTION: Ginger may affect blood clotting.

Ginseng – a herb whose forked root is used as a herbal remedy; anxiolytic and antidepressant. The three varieties of Ginseng are Korean (Panax), Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and North American (Panax quinquefolius).

Glucocorticoid – a group of chemical messengers involved in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, increasing blood sugar, as well as anti-inflamation and immunosuppression. The most important glucocorticoid is cortisol.

GP – see General Practice.

Grapefruit – consumption of grapefruit may slow the metabolism of benzodiazepine medications.

Group Therapy – any psychotherapy where a small group of people share their thoughts or feelings under the guidance of a psychotherapist. Contrast with support group.

Guided Imagery – a relaxation technique in which a person visualizes or imagines things suggested to them by a recording or counselor. Also see traumatic incident reduction. H

H2 Receptor Blocker – an anti-ulcer medication used to regulate the acidity of the stomach. Also see proton pump inhibitor and ulcer.

Health Anxiety – see hypochondria.

Health Phobia – see hypochondria.

Healthy Anxiety – any anxiety that is roughly appropriate to circumstances. Contrast with anxiety disorder.

Heart Attack – see cardiac disorder.

Heartburn – see gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori) – a bacteria naturally found in the stomach. This bacteria is normally harmless. However, when a person is exposed to extreme or prolonged stress, the chemistry of the stomach may change in such a way that H. Pylori produces ulcers.

Helminthophobia – a phobia of worms.

Hematidrosis – a rare condition in which a person sweats blood. Apparently caused by hemorrhage into the sweat pores during moments of extreme stress or anxiety. Also known as hemidrosis. Also see perspiration.

Hemidrosis – see hematidrosis.

Herb – any seed plant that withers to the ground at the end of a growing season. Contrast with trees where bark protects a trunk that lives from year to year. Commonly, however, the word ‘herb’ is used in reference to any part of any plant used in a medicinal manner.

Herbalist – a person who specializes in the healing properties of herbs.

Herbal Remedy – any medication prepared from natural plants. When using herbal remedies, one should be very cautious about dosage since herbal potency can vary greatly depending on the source of the herb. Before trying a herb, please consult a medical doctor and an experienced herbalist rather than experiment on your own. Remember, “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe”; some herbal remedies are chemically similar to pharmaceutical medications. Typically, herbal remedies are considered a form of alternative medicine. Some herbal remedies used to treat anxiety include Bach Rescue Remedy, Calms Forte, catnip, chamomile, ginger, ginseng, hypericum, kava, passion flower, skullcap, valerian, yohimbe.

Holistic – relating to the “whole” of an individual’s health (all aspects of mental and bodily health). Though nice in theory, “holistic medicine” is often synonymous with alternative medicine and consumers should use discretion.

Homeopath – see homeopathist.

Homeopathist – a believer or practitioner of homeopathy.

Homeopathy – treating a disease with minute doses of a medicine, often highly diluted. Homeopathy is typically considered an alternative medicine.

Homeostasis – the ability of a system to maintain a constant state. Adj. Homeostatic. Contrast with allostasis. An example of homeostatic balance is the regulation of blood glucose at a precise concentration by the hormones insulin and glucagon which, respectively, decrease and increase blood glucose.

Homework – any cognitive or behavioral exercise recommended by a therapist to be conducted between therapy sessions independently.

Hormone – a chemical messenger released from an endocrine gland into the blood that produces some biological action on target tissues elsewhere in the body. Contrast with neurotransmitter. Generally, hormones regulate the body’s internal environment (allostatic or homeostatic control), regulate reproductive processes, and affect mood and behavior. There are two main classes of hormones which are called steroid and non-steroid. The steroid hormones include cortisol, estrogen, testosterone. The non-steroid hormones include cholecystokinin, epinephrine, dopamine, insulin, melatonin, norepinephrine, oxytocin, prolactin, serotonin, vasopressin.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – providing supplements of a hormone, or similar acting chemical, to restore a healthy hormonal balance.

Horror – a pronounced state of fear, often characterized by dread, loathing or aversion.

Housebound – difficulty leaving one’s residence. This condition is common with anxiety disorders and is often a consequence of agoraphobia or social phobia. Also see adjustment disorder, recluse, shut-in.

H. Pylori – see Helicobacter Pylori.

HRT – see Hormone Replacement Therapy.

Humor – to characterize or perceive something in an amusing manner. Real and severe instances of depression, fear, healthy anxiety or anxiety disorders are generally not humorous when experienced. Nonetheless, maintaining a sense of humor in the midst of such challenges is an important coping skill. Humor is often a natural and healthy way to relieve nervous tension, stress or pain. Consequently, comedy often addresses stressful situations. Also see laughter.

Humors – bodily fluids which were once imagined to govern health and mood. The four so-called “Cardinal Humors” were blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy; associated with the colors red, green, yellow, and black. Also see hysteria.

Hydrocortisone – synthetic, or pharmaceutically prepared, cortisol.

Hydrotherapy – any therapy that uses water to promote relaxation, increase circulation, provide nerve stimulation or even aid in detoxification via skin pores. Also see spa.

Hypericum Perforatum – a plant used as a herbal remedy; antidepressant, anxiolytic. Commonly called Saint John’s Wort or SJW. CAUTION: Hypericum appears to act as an MAOI, so users should follow an MAOI diet (perhaps not as rigorously as with pharmaceutical MAOIs) as well as avoid certain medications that may harmfully interact with an MAOI (such as SRIs).

Hyperhidrosis – excessive perspiration caused by medical and/or emotional factors. Hyperhidrosis can be focal (limited to parts of the body) or generalized (the whole body).

Hypersensitivity – exaggerated sensitivity. Anxiety and panic disorders can increase a person’s sensitivity to light, sound, smell, taste, touch, temperature, balance, and even emotional issues. Such sensitivity can have psychosomatic effects. Also see hypervigilance, perceptual filtering.

Hypersomnia – abnormally excessive sleeping which can last days or longer.

Hypertension – abnormally high blood pressure. Symptoms may include anxiety, dizziness or headache. Contrast with hypotension. Also see white-coat effect.

Hyperthyroid – a thyroid disorder where the thyroid gland is over productive. Symptoms include excessive energy, difficulty sleeping. This condition can be medically diagnosed with a blood test. Also see hypothyroid.

Hyperventilation – excessive breathing that changes carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the blood. Hyperventilation can be caused by an anxiety attack or, conversely, an anxiety attack can be caused by hyperventilation. Breathing into a paper bag or one’s own shirt has been a popular method for combating hyperventilation, which might directly affect blood chemistry or might reinforce awareness of breathing (provide a focus for biofeedback). Also see breathing exercise, dysautonomia, suffocation alarm.

Hyperventilation Syndrome – a dated alternate name for panic disorder.

Hypervigilance – a heightened sense of perception induced by anxiety. Episodes of hypervigilance can make people acutely aware of subtle details normally ignored, sometimes to a degree where even familiar environments may seem somehow changed. Also see depersonalization, derealization, hypersensitivity, perceptual filtering.

Hypnagogic – relating to drowsiness prior to sleep.

Hynoanalysis – see Hypnotic Psychotherapy.

Hypnopompic – relating to semiconsciousness prior to waking. Also see sleep paralysis.

Hypnos – a god from Greek mythology who personified sleep. Son of the night goddess Nyx. Brother to Thanatos (death). Father of the Oneroi (dreams). Roman, Somnus. Also see mythology.

Hypnosis – a psychological technique involving relaxation and voluntarily ignoring conscious thought processes. Hypnosis attempts to directly access the unconscious mind.

Hypnotic – anything that induces hypnosis, trance state or sleep.

Hypnotic Psychotherapy – any psychotherapy which explores unconscious impressions using the technique of hypnosis. Useful when an anxiety disorder might involve psychological repression. Contrast with hypnotic suggestion.

Hypnotic Suggestion – modifying unconscious tendencies through hypnosis. Sometimes useful for specific or simple phobias, but rarely useful for agoraphobia, social phobia or other anxiety disorders. Contrast with hypnotic psychotherapy.

Hypochondria – a somatoform disorder characterized by an exaggerated concern of diseases or medical disorders that can result in psychosomatic symptoms. Also known as health anxiety or health phobia. Also see cyberchondria, medical school syndrome, worried well. Contrast with anosodiaphoria.

Hypochondriac – someone who suffers from hypochondria.

Hypochondriacal Neurosis – a dated alternate name for various anxiety disorders. See neurosis.

Hypochondriacism – see hypochondria.

Hypochondriasis – see hypochondria.

Hypoglycemia – a condition of low blood sugar which can cause fainting and has symptoms similar to anxiety disorders. This condition can be medically diagnosed with a blood sugar test, preferably a five hour Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT). Adj. Hypoglycemic.

Hypotension – abnormally low blood pressure. Symptoms may include anxiety and dizziness. Contrast with hypertension. Also see orthostatic hypotension, postural hypotension.

Hypothalamus – a part of the limbic system that, along with the pituitary gland, monitor and regulate body temperature, blood flow, water-salt balance, numerous hormones, hunger, sleep and reflexes related to anger and fear. Also see corticotropin releasing factor.

Hypothyroid – a thyroid disorder where the thyroid gland is under productive. Symptoms include fatigue, excessive sleeping. This condition can be medically diagnosed with a blood test. Contrast with hyperthyroid.

Hysteria – a term (dating from the time of Hippocrates, 400 BC) for excessive and uncontrollable emotion, including anxiety disorders and related conditions. Adj. Hysterical. The term is derived from the Greek word “hystera” meaning uterus or womb. Since the condition seemed to affect mainly women of childbearing years, it was believed to be caused by a wandering uterus. Also see humors, mass hysteria, vapors.

Hysterical Conversion – a dated term describing a severe psychosomatic response where emotional trauma is manifested as apparent physiological symptoms; such as deafness, paralysis, blindness or surdomutism. Conversion hysteria can occur in traumatic or post traumatic situations. See acute stress disorder.

Hysterical Fugue – a pronounced amnesia produced by emotional stress which typically lasts several days. Often involves aimless wandering.

Hysterical Personality – a dated term which typically refers to any personality characterized by excessive emotion often with unhealthy social traits.


IBS – see Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

ICD – see International Classification of Diseases.

Ikelos – see Oneroi.

Inadequacy – a dated alternate name for anxiety disorders. Descriptive of patients’ inadequate ability to tolerate physical or emotional pain, or inadequate mental strength or self-control.

Inadequates – a dated term for patients diagnosed with inadequacy.

Incontinence – inability to control urination or bowel movements. Adj. Incontinent. Acute anxiety can sometimes disrupt the body’s ability to control such functions. Contrast with paruresis. Also see irritable bowel syndrome.

Incubus – a mythological demon believed to lie heavily on a sleeping person. Also see mythology.

Incubus Attack – see sleep terror.

Indoleamines – a family of monoamine hormones and neurotransmitters involved in many functions such as sleep, biological rhythms, and vasoconstriction. These include serotonin and melatonin. For biosynthesis details see tryptophan.

Ink Blotch Test – see Rorschach test.

Inner Ear Infection – an infection of the inner ear that can cause balance problems or a sense of lightheadedness. This condition can be medically diagnosed by an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor.

Inpatient – anyone staying at a hospital, clinic or similar facility while undergoing treatment. Contrast with outpatient.

Insomnia – difficulty sleeping. See sleep.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) – an abstract and simplified measure of intelligence. Since science has yet to adequately define the concept of “intelligence,” so-called “IQ tests” are of questionable value.

International Classification of Diseases (ICD) – a classification of diseases and disorders (including mental and behavioral disorders) published by the World Health Organization. Contrast with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

Interoceptive Technique – a form of exposure therapy. Much like biofeedback, this technique involves deliberately provoking symptoms and encouraging responses that reduce anxiety, typically under the guidance of a psychotherapist. Also known as exposure and response prevention therapy. Contrast with paradoxical intention.

Introversion – excessive preoccupation with one’s own mental life.

Introvert – someone whose behavior is characterized by introversion. Contrast with extrovert.

Intrusive Memory – any excessively persistent and unwanted memory. Also see obsessive disorder, PTSD.

Intrusive Thought – any excessively persistent and unwanted thought. Also see obsessive disorder, PTSD.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – chronic pain or discomfort associated with the intestines. Diarrhea and constipation are common with IBS. Such symptoms are common in anxiety disorders. Also see incontinence, paruresis.

Irritable Heart – an dated alternate name for panic disorder. J

Jamais Vu – a sense that something familiar is being encountered for the first time. Contrast with deja vu.

Jitters – extreme nervousness, sometimes with shaking.

JND – acronym for “just noticeable difference.”

Jungian – relating to the psychological theories of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961).


Kakorraphiaphobia – a phobia of failure.

Kava (Kava Kava) – a Pacific island plant (Macropiper latifolium, Piper methysticum) whose root is used as a herbal remedy; sedative. CAUTION: the chemical action of Kava appears to be similar to BDZ medications.

Kussmaul Breathing – abnormally slow and deep breathing.


Laughter – an effective coping skill against fear, anxiety or depression. Laughter can temporarily alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression, but is generally not practical during a panic attack. Some studies suggest that laughter may have neurochemical benefits regarding chronic anxiety or pain. See humor.

Libido – sexual drive, urge or desire. For both men and women, a normal libido requires healthy levels of both testosterone and dopamine (dopamine inhibits prolactin which can dampen libido). A loss of libido may indicate anorgasmia.

Life Coach – anyone who provides life coaching. Also see motivational speaker.

Life Coaching – the application of motivational techniques with intent to encourage will. Since life coaching is generally not clinical in nature, it is not formally considered a psychotherapy. Also see motivational speaking.

Lightheaded – feeling that you might faint. May include floating sensations.

Light Therapy – the use of light to alleviate a disorder. Often used to treat seasonal affective disorder. Since different kinds of light sources emit different spectra (collection of light wavelengths), the type of light source is important. In other words, simply having more light may not help if the light does not have the right spectrum.

Limbic System – a group of subcortical brain structures; includes amygdala, cingulate gyrus, fornix, hippocampus, hypothalamus, mamillary body, midbrain, olfactory bulb, parahippocampal gyrus, pons. Though limbic structures do play significant roles in emotions such as anxiety, the limbic system is not the complete governer of emotion (as was once thought).

Lyme Disease – an illness acquired from tick bites. Symptoms may resemble an anxiety disorder and include fatigue, concentration difficulties, joint pain. Can be medically diagnosed with a blood test and treated with antibiotics.


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.


Narcotic – a legal term (non-scientific) generally applied to any substance that dulls senses, sedates, and, at excessive doses, can cause coma or convulsions.

Naturopathic – regarding the practice of naturopathy.

Naturopathy – a treatment philosophy that avoids use of pharmaceutical medication and surgery in favor of natural alternatives. Includes techniques that are considered forms of alternative medicine.

Nausea – stomach discomfort associated with loss of appetite and sense that vomiting may occur. Nausea is a common symptom of anxiety. Also see emetophobia.

NE – see norepinephrine.

Negative Thought – any thought associated with un-constructive or unpleasant emotional states (such as anger, anxiety, depression, futility, pessimism, etc.). An important concept of cognitive therapy. Contrast with positive thought. Also see automatic negative thought.

Neocortex – see cerebral cortex.

Nerves – see nervous illness or neuron.

Nervous – the feeling of anxiety, or regarding the nervous system as studied in neurology.

Nervous Breakdown – a dated term referring to anxiety disorders that notably affect functionality.

Nervous Disease – a dated term for an anxiety disorder.

Nervous Exhaustion – a dated term referring to anxiety disorders which seemed a product of stress.

Nervous Heart – a dated term for an anxiety disorder.

Nervous Illness – a dated term for an anxiety disorder.

Nervous Storm – a dated term for a panic attack.

Nervous System – the body’s complete network of neurons. The nervous system is divided into the Central Nervous System (CNS) and Peripheral Nervous System (PNS).

NET – see Neuroelectric Therapy.

Neural Network – any network of neurons. Computer models of such networks are often called “artificial neural networks.”

Neurasthenia – a hypothetical disorder which explained nervous symptoms as a physical exhaustion of the nervous system. Declared by electrotherapist George Beard in 1869, neurasthenia was a popular diagnosis during the late 19th century.

Neurocirculatory Asthenia – an dated alternate name for post traumatic stress disorder or panic disorder.

Neuroelectric Therapy (NET) – see Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES).

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) – any psychotherapy which uses a voice message that is intended to condition the conscious or unconscious mind. Often sold in the form of recordings.

Neurology – a field of medicine concerned with the nervous system. Adj. Neurologic.

Neuron – a nerve cell. Neurons have a central cell body (which contains the cell’s nucleus, mitochondria, etc.), branching projections called dendrites (which convey incoming signals from other neurons) and other branching projections called axons (which convey outgoing signals to other neurons). Electrical transmission along a specific neuron involves the exchange of ions (electrically charged atoms) through the neuron’s membrane. Each branch of an axon ends with a “synaptic bulb” (nerve terminal), which releases neurotransmitters across a “synaptic cleft” (synaptic gap or synapse) to excite the next neuron’s dendrite. Different types of neurons in different parts of the nervous system vary in the neurotransmitters used.

Neuropathy – degeneration of the nervous system or nerves.

Neurosis – a dated psychoanalytic term applied to behavioral or psychosomatic symptoms produced by repressed inner conflict; particularly, conflict between the ego and libido. Pl. Neuroses. Adj. Neurotic. Neuroses were characterized by anxiety attacks, hypochondria, phobias, obsessions, compulsions, depression, etc.

Neurotransmitter – a chemical messenger that transmits information from one neuron to another neuron. In other words, a substance released from a nerve cell into a very small extracellular space called a synapse, where it then produces excitation or inhibition of an immediately neighboring nerve cell. Contrast with hormone. Many substances serve both as hormones in the blood and neurotransmitters in either the central or peripheral nervous systems (e.g., acetylcholine, monoamines such as norepinephrine and serotonin, and peptides such as cholecystokinin). Neurotransmitters in the brain can be divided conceptually into two classes: the classical small molecule neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, are locally synthesized in nerve terminals, and the neuropeptide neurotransmitters, such as the endorphins, are synthesized in the perikaryon (a neuron’s cell body).

Nicotine – a chemical found in tobacco products. CAUTION: as a dopamine agonist, nicotine can be highly addictive.

Nightmare – an unpleasant dream, sometimes formally characterized as an unpleasant dream that causes the dreamer to awake. Contrast with bad dream, daymare, sleep terror.

Night Terror – see sleep terror.

NLP – see Neurolinguistic Programming.

Nocturnal Bruxism – clenching and/or grinding of teeth while sleeping. May be associated with serotonin.

Nocturnal Panic Attack – see sleep terror.

Non-functional – unable to function in society because of a disorder. Contrast with functional.

Noradrenaline – see norepinephrine.

Norepinephrine (NE) – a hormone and neurotransmitter (a catecholamine) produced by the adrenal gland. Norepinephrine is particularly important in sympathetic arousal and vasoconstriction. Involved with one’s sense of energy. For biosynthesis details see tyrosine.

Nosophobia – a phobia of disease.

Nostalgia – aside from the common meaning of dwelling on the past, nostalgia is also a dated psychiatric term often applied to soldiers suffering exogenous anxiety or combat fatigue leading to obsessions of returning home. Symptoms included extreme apathy, an inability to concentrate, excessive physical fatigue, an unwillingness to eat or drink leading at times to anorexia, diarrhea, a feeling of isolation and total frustration leading to a general inability to function. Also see demoralization.

Numb – a loss of sensation. Also see paresthesia.

Nutrition – the consumption and utilization of a diet. To varying degrees, anxiety disorders can be affected by nutritional issues.


Obsessive – descriptive of a persistent thought, image, or impulse. Obsessions can be constructive (as in the case of an obsessive artist or scientist) or detrimental (as in the sense of an obsessive disorder or OCD).

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – a disorder characterized by excessively obsessive and compulsive tendencies. Like many anxiety disorders, OCD may have a significant genetic component or, in children, may be related to Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS). Many people experience relief with cognitive behavioral therapy and/or medication. Also see CY-BOCS, YBOCS, scrupulosity.

Obsessive Disorder – a disorder characterized by excessively persistent and unwanted thoughts, images, or impulses that produce anxiety. Such obsessions may involve dirt, contamination, disease, aggression, orderliness, sex, religion, etc. Also see intrusive memory, intrusive thought.

Occipital Lobe – the hind lobe of the cerebrum. Contains the visual cortex.

OCD – see Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Ochlophobia – a phobia of crowds.

Old Hag – see sleep paralysis.

Oneirology – see dream analysis.

Oneroi – the Oneroi were a group of Greek gods who personified dreams. These sons of Hypnos included Morpheus (shaper of dreams), Ikelos (realistic dreams), Phantasos (strange dreams) and Phobetor (frightening dreams). Also see mythology.

Operant Conditioning – a trained association between a behavior and a consequence. Consequences are typically labeled “positive reinforcement” (added stimulus encourages behavior), “negative reinforcement” (removed stimulus encourages behavior), “positive punishment” (added stimulus discourages behavior) and “negative punishment” (removed stimulus discourages behavior). Operant conditioning is also known as Response-Stimulus (RS) conditioning or, similarly, Stimulus-Response (SR) conditioning. Also see aversion therapy, behavioral therapy, conditioning. Contrast with classical conditioning.

Operational Fatigue – an alternate name for PTSD, attributed to aviation personnel during WWII.

Ophidiophobia – a phobia of snakes.

Opium – a sedative obtained from the juices of the poppy plant (Papaver somniferum). Opium has been used throughout history as an anxiolytic medication and recreational drug. CAUTION: as a dopamine agonist, opium can be highly addictive.

Orthostatic Hypotension – a drop in blood pressure (technically, 20mm Hg in systolic BP or greater) which occurs when rising to a standing position and can cause a person to faint. Also see hypotension.

OTC – see Over The Counter.

Outpatient – anyone treated, but not staying, at a hospital, clinic or similar facility. Contrast with inpatient.

Over The Counter (OTC) – regarding medications legally sold without a prescription.

Oxytocin – a hormone involved in muscle contraction and nerve sensitivity. Oxytocin production is stimulated by dopamine.


PAD – an acronym for “Panic-Anxiety Disorder” referring to anxiety disorders in general.

Pain Disorder – a somatoform disorder characterized by specific and severe pain that causes pronounced distress or social anxiety.

Palpitation – rapid beating of the heart due to exertion or emotional distress. Also see cardiology.

Pan – a woodland or pastoral god from Greek mythology who was said to induce overwhelming and irrational fear. The word “panic” is derived from this mythical character. Also see mythology.

Panacea – a cure-all, or single remedy that cures all ills. Since anxiety disorders are known to have a diversity of causes, both psychological and biological, a single remedy that cures all forms of anxiety disorders is generally considered unlikely.

PANDAS – see Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.

Panic – an extreme form of anxiety or fear. Typically, panic is a natural and healthy response to danger. However, exaggerated or chronic panic in the absence of danger often indicates a panic disorder. Panic can be produced by external stress (exogenous anxiety) or internal stress (endogenous anxiety).

Panic Attack (PA) – an extreme episode of anxiety or fear. People often describe a panic attack as, “a frantic feeling that I am about to die.” Sensations of horror or terror can be severe during a panic attack, to the degree that a person may fear going insane as a result. Such attacks typically last about half an hour. In extreme cases, attacks may last several hours or even several days (Status Panicus). Symptoms may include pseudoparalysis, temporary paralysis or fainting.

Panic Disorder (PD) – an extreme form of anxiety disorder characterized by spontaneous and recurring panic attacks in the absence of stress, threat or danger. The distress of severe panic disorder is comparable to the worst of human experiences. Panic disorder should be properly diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. Panic disorders have many possible causes which are psychological and/or medical in nature. Pathology can vary greatly from person to person. Severe panic attacks are sometimes characterized as sub-epileptic seizures, suggesting a relationship with epilepsy in some forms of panic disorder.

Panicogen – anything that generates panic. Adj. Panicogenic.

Paradoxical Intention – a cognitive behavioral therapy technique where an activity is sometimes made easier by attempting the opposite. This technique is based on the observation that some activities (socializing, relaxing, going to sleep, etc.) can become more difficult the harder we try, perhaps because the act of “trying” or “trying too hard” or “obsessing” can produce stress or anxiety. Consequently, by attempting (or pretending to attempt) the opposite of a desired activity, the desired activity might be made easier. With regard to anxiety, a deliberate attempt to provoke anxiety may sometimes help to reduce anxiety. Contrast with interoceptive technique.

Paralysis – inability to move. Contrast with pseudoparalysis. Also see freeze.

Paranoia – beliefs or behavior characterized by highly developed delusions of persecution and/or grandeur. Adj. Paranoid.

Parasympathetic Nervous System – a subdivision of the autonomic nervous system. Contrast with sympathetic nervous system.

Paresthesia – sensation of numbness, prickling or tingling of the skin that has no obvious cause. Sometimes a symptom of extreme emotional stress (ex. PTSD). Also see brain zap, dysesthesia.

Parietal Lobe – the upper central lobe of the cerebrum. The parietal lobes are mainly concerned with creating a three dimensional representation of our surroundings. Also contains the sensory cortex and motor cortex.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance – a program, started by pharmaceutical companies, which provides prescription drugs to poor people at no charge. Designed to help those in need who have limited resources, this program is intended to help people who have fallen through the safety net of Medicare or other programs, who often can’t afford medications. For information call 1-800-PMA-INFO.

Paruresis – a form of social anxiety disorder characterized by psychosomatic difficulty or inability to urinate in stressful situations. Stressors may include proximity to other people or time pressure. Also known as bashful bladder, pee-shy, shy-bladder. Contrast with incontinence.

Passion Flower – a plant (genus Passiflora) used as a natural sedative. See calms forte, herbal remedy.

Passive Behavior – to habitually yield to the suggestions or actions of others. In cases of anxiety and panic disorders, such behavior often gives the feeling of being victimized, manipulated, used, or produce the feelings of guilt. Contrast with assertive behavior.

Pass Out – see faint.

Pathology – the deviations from normal function that characterize a disease or disorder. Contrast with etiology.

Pathophysiology – the physiological changes associated with a disease or disorder.

Pavlovian Conditioning – see classical conditioning.

Pavor – see Phobos.

Pavor Nucturnus – see sleep terror.

Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) – a theoretical association between streptococcus infections (strep throat) and obsessive compulsive disorder in children.

Pee-shy – see paruresis.

Perception – the interpretation of sensory input.

Perceptual Filtering – any process which determines which sensory information warrants attention or should be ignored. Also see hypersensitivity and hypervigilance.

Performance Anxiety – anxiety regarding ability to complete some task. Often experienced in a social, professional or public context. However, performance anxiety can also be a product of expectation of oneself in a non-social context. The best therapy for such anxiety is often practice, experience or exposure. Realistic expectations and not judging oneself too harshly are also helpful. Also see anticipatory anxiety, presentation anxiety, public speaking anxiety, situational anxiety, social anxiety, speaking anxiety, stage fright.

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) – a subdivision of the nervous system which is further divided into the autonomic nervous system, sensory nervous system and motor nervous system. Contrast with central nervous system.

Pernicious Anemia – a blood disorder which has symptoms similar to anxiety disorders. See diagnosis.

Persistent Anxiety – see generalized anxiety disorder.

Perspiration – the production of fluid from the sweat glands. Such fluid is composed of water, salts and other substances. Perspiration is primarily a means of cooling the body, but is also a means of excreting toxins. Perspiration is a common symptom of anxiety. Also see cortisol, dysautonomia, hematidrosis, hyperhidrosis.

Phantasos – see Oneroi.

Pharma – the field of pharmacology and/or the pharmaceutical industry. Contrast with PhRMA.

Pharmaceutical – regarding manufactured medications.

Pharmaceutical Representative – an employee of a pharmaceutical company who meets with doctors to discuss medications. Such “pharm reps” are also known as “drug marketing representatives,” “drug representatives” or “drug sales representatives” since they promote medications sold by their employer. Also see preceptorship.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) – the lobbying group which represents the collective interests of the pharmaceutical industry in the United States. Contrast with Pharma.

Pharmacist – a person licensed to sell or dispense prescription pharmaceutical medications in accord with a doctor’s guidance.

Pharmacokinetic – regarding the dose and effective duration of a medication.

Pharmacology – the science and clinical application of medications. Adj. Pharmacological.

Pharmacophobia – a phobia of medication.

Pharmacopoeia – the overall pharmaceutical medications available.

Pharmacotherapy – any medication-based therapy.

Phenylethylamine – a chemical involved with the limbic system. Phenylethylamine creates a feeling of bliss and is a natural ingredient in chocolate.

Pheochromocytoma – a tumor of the adrenal gland which produces abnormally high levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine. There are medical tests for this condition and it should be ruled out during the proper diagnosis of anxiety disorders. See diagnosis.

Pheromone – a chemical messenger that can pass from one individual to another.

Phobetor – see Oneroi.

Phobia – an exaggerated fear. Adj. Phobic. Various anxiety disorders are known to enhance preexisting phobias or even introduce phobias not previously experienced. The so-called “simple phobias” or “specific phobias” are phobic responses to a specific thing (e.g. height). Simple phobias can often be treated with the progressive exposure techniques of behavioral therapies. However, agoraphobia and social phobia are often more complicated than a simple phobia and may require more sophisticated therapies. Some common simple phobias include achluophobia, acrophobia, aerophobia, arachnophobia, automysophobia, autophobia, aviophobia, brontophobia, bacteriophobia, claustrophobia, emetophobia, entomophobia, gephyrophobia, helminthophobia, kakorraphiaphobia, nosophobia, ochlophobia, ophidiophobia, pharmacophobia, phobophobia, phonophobia, pnigophobia, triscadecaphobia, xenophobia. People can develop phobias of anything, no matter how mundane.

Phobophobia – a phobia of being afraid.

Phobos – a god from Greek mythology who personified fear, especially panic in the midst of conflict. Son of Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus). Brother of Deimos. Latin, Phobus. Roman, Pavor or Terror. The word ‘phobia’ is derived from ‘Phobos’. Also see mythology.

Phonophobia – a phobia of phone calls, conversations or noises, which are perceived as stressful. Also see background stressor.

PhRMA – see Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Pituitary – an endocrine gland closely associated with the hypothalamus near the center of the brain. The pituitary gland is often referred to as the “master gland” since it produces hormones that regulate other endocrine glands.

Placebo – a fake cure. In other words, any technique or medication which is presumed to be a remedy, but actually has no medical or physical benefit. However, placebos can be useful as a psychological tool.

Placebo Controlled Study – any study that compares a therapy against a placebo. Placebos are often used in trails of new medications to distinguish between the medical and psychological effects of taking a medication. The most accurate form of such a study is a double blind study.

Placebo Effect – any psychological response attributed to use of a placebo.

PMDD – see Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

PMS – see Premenstrual Syndrome.

Pnigophobia – a phobia of choking.

Polyneuronal Ectopy (PNE) – a generalized term for panic disorder which is more inclusive of related neurological symptoms. PNE involves abnormal electrical activity found in virtually any part of the central or peripheral nervous system which can be a cause or result of acute anxiety.

Polysystemic Dysautonomia (PSD) – an alternate name for panic disorder.

Porphyria – a disturbance of porphyrin metabolism. Symptoms may include confusion, nausea, acute abdominal pain, and sometimes extreme sensitivity to sun-exposure resulting in skin lesions. Porphyria is acutely aggravated by alcohol and medications (even Aspirin). This condition can be medically diagnosed with a blood or urine test. See diagnosis.

Positive Thought – any thought associated with constructive or pleasant emotional states (such as acceptance, accomplishment, happiness, optimism, etc.). An important concept of cognitive therapy. Contrast with negative thought.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) – a form of depression sometimes experienced by women shortly after giving birth. Probably related to hormonal changes experienced by mothers. See chemical messenger, diagnosis.

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – a form of obsessive compulsive disorder sometimes experienced by women shortly after giving birth. Postpartum OCD typically involves frightening thoughts of harming or killing a baby, but such thoughts are not acted upon. Contrast with postpartum psychosis. See chemical messenger, diagnosis.

Postpartum Psychosis – a form of psychosis sometimes experienced by women shortly after giving birth. Often characterized by delusions or hallucinations (such as hearing voices). Postpartum psychosis can result in injury to a baby, so a doctor should be promptly consulted. Contrast with postpartum OCD. See chemical messenger, diagnosis.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – any anxiety disorder based on a traumatic experience (such as combat, rape, child abuse, witnessing a violent or troubling event, or any serious medical or psychological trauma). People with PTSD typically have triggers that evoke flashbacks. Un-triggered flashbacks (intrusive memories or intrusive thoughts) may also occur in the absence of distractions (e.g. when trying to relax or sleep). Symptoms may include cognitive dysfunction, depersonalization, derealization, paresthesia and most somatic symptoms common to anxiety disorders. Extreme cases of PTSD may involve a preliminary phase called acute stress disorder. PTSD was added to the DSM following the Vietnam War. Past synonyms for PTSD include battle fatigue, battle shock, combat exhaustion, combat fatigue, combat shock, DaCosta’s syndrome, effort syndrome, exhausted heart, operational fatigue, Post-Vietnam syndrome, railroad heart, shell shock, soldier’s heart, trench neurosis, war neurosis.

Postural Hypotension – a brief drop in blood pressure caused by a change in posture (such as rising from sitting to standing) resulting in dizziness, lightheadedness or sometimes even fainting. Also see hypotension.

Post-Vietnam Syndrome – the initial name for post traumatic stress disorder.

PPD – see Postpartum Depression.

Prayer – a form of spiritual communion. Also see meditation, religion, scrupulosity.

Preceptorship – the practice of a pharmaceutical representative offering medication suggestions under the supervision of a doctor. Though this practice can provide useful information, there are also ethical concerns due to potential conflict of interest between patient interests and commercial interests. Preceptorship is also known as shadowing.

Prefrontal Cortex – the anterior (frontal) cortex of the brain’s frontal lobe. Theorized to play a major role in cognitive adaptation to fear and anxiety. Also see extinction.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) – an alternate name for premenstrual syndrome.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – the psychological and physical symptoms associated with menstruation. Often such symptoms are due to chemical messenger disturbances which can aggravate an anxiety disorder. Also see uterus.

Prescription – any written direction of a treatment by an appropriately licensed health professional. Often regards regulated pharmaceutical medications, therapies, equipment or products. The abbreviation ‘Rx’ generally refers to a medical prescription.

Presentation Anxiety – a form of performance anxiety characterized by display of an accomplishment.

PRN – as needed. Prescription direction based on the Latin phrase “pro re nata.” Typically, PRN refers to fast acting medications used to treat discrete attacks. However, the meaning of PRN is sometimes stretched to regard longer periods; for example, SSRI PRN really refers to regular SSRI use over a relatively short period of several months. Also see dose.

Prognosis – the expected progression of a disorder. Contrast with diagnosis.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation – a relaxation technique that involves the tensing and relaxing of various muscle groups. Also known as deep muscle relaxation.

Prolactin – a hormone. Excess prolactin production can dampen libido and is caused by hypothyroidism, some medications, and stress. Prolactin is restricted by dopamine.

Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) – medications which decrease stomach acid by binding to H+/K+ ATPase. Used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease and ulcers. PPIs can decrease the elimination rate of benzodiazepines, so dosage issues should be discussed with a doctor. Also see H2 Receptor Blocker.

Pseudocyesis – a psychosomatic state which, in the absence of conception, convincingly mimics pregnancy with symptoms including cessation of menses, abdominal enlargement, hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and even apparent fetal movement. Also see uterus.

Pseudoparalysis – pronounced loss of muscular strength and control without true paralysis. Severe panic attacks sometimes cause pseudoparalysis to a degree where ability to walk, stand or sit upright may not be possible for the duration of the attack. Also see freeze, sub-epileptic seizure.

Psyche – in psychiatry, the mind. Derived from the Greek word ‘psyche’ meaning the soul. Also a mythological character named Psyche; a nymph who personified the passion of love. Also see mythology.

Psychiatrist – a medical doctor who specializes in psychiatry. Many psychiatrists also have some knowledge of psychology.

Psychiatry – a field of medicine concerned with physical and chemical interactions in the brain and how they affect mental and emotional processes. In other words, psychiatry is where the fields of medicine and psychology overlap. Adj. Psychiatric.

Psychoanalysis – a psychotherapy concerned with issues of emotional conflict and repression which are often attributed to formative childhood experiences. Adj. Psychoanalytic. Often based on Freudian theories.

Psychoanalyst – any psychologist practicing psychoanalysis.

Psychobabble – inappropriate or incorrect application of psychological theories.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy – see psychoanalysis.

Psychogenic – generated by a psychological process.

Psychologist – a person that studies psychology. Practicing clinical psychologists are called psychotherapists.

Psychology – a discipline concerned with behavioral, mental and emotional processes. Adj. Psychological. The clinical application of psychology is generally called psychotherapy.

Psychoneuroimmunology – a field of medicine that addresses the effects of psychology and neurology on the immune system. Studies suggest that anxiety and stress can weaken immune system responses and make people more vulnerable to certain diseases. Likewise, positive emotional states appear to help immune system responses.

Psychoneurosis – a dated term for disorders characterized by anxiety or depression. Also see neurosis.

Psychopathology – any pathology of psychological orientation.

Psychopharmacology – a discipline which studies the effects of medications on mind and behavior.

Psychophysiological Death – death induced by extreme stress, fear or anxiety. Such events are very rare even in the anxiety disorder community. The most likely mechanism appears to be aggravation of some preexisting cardiovascular condition. Also see Baskerville effect.

Psychosomatic – descriptive of physical symptoms (real or perceived) that are caused by some form of psychological stress. Also see hypochondria, medical school syndrome, paruresis, pseudocyesis, somatize, white-coat effect.

Psychotherapist – any psychologist that practices any kind of psychotherapy. Many psychotherapists have some knowledge of psychiatry.

Psychotherapy – the clinical application of psychology in the form of a therapy. Adj. Psychotherapeutic. Such therapies typically involve open discussion of emotional issues. Psychotherapies include forms of behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis. Also see art therapy, hypnotic psychotherapy, family therapy, neurolinguistic programming, special education.

Psychotropic – anything, especially substances, that affect the mind.

PTSD – see post traumatic stress disorder.

Public Speaking Anxiety – a form of performance anxiety characterized by speaking to a group.

Pyrosis – see gastroesophageal reflux disease.


QD – once a day. Prescription direction based on the Latin phrase “quaque die.” Also see dose.

QID – four times a day. Prescription direction based on the Latin phrase “quarter in die.” Also see dose.

Quack – any dishonest or irresponsible clinician.

Quotidian – occurring daily.


Radionics – a bogus therapy which claims to affect biological energy fields or auras. Originally developed in the early 1900s by a medical doctor named Albert Abrams, radionics used radio-like electrical devices to diagnose and treat illnesses. These devices were thoroughly debunked in the 1920s by investigators from Scientific American magazine and other later investigations. Nonetheless, Abrams reaped a small fortune from the use and leasing of his devices which were little more than empty boxes containing a few nonfunctional electrical circuits. Unfortunately, variations of radionic practices continue to dupe patients today.

Railroad Heart – an alternate name for PTSD, originating from horrific accidents during the industrial era.

Ramped Dosage – to gradually increase or decrease the dosage of a medication. Often, medications used to treat anxiety disorders may be less effective and promote severe side effects when started at a full therapeutic dosage, or when ceased abruptly. Such medications are more successful when started at a low dosage and slowly increased at weekly or monthly intervals. Likewise, such medications are best ceased in a gradual manner. Also see dose, taper.

RBD – see REM-sleep Behavior Disorder.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) – a stage of sleep, characterized by eye movement, during which dreams occur. Also see REM-sleep behavior disorder.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT or RET) – a structured form of cognitive behavioral therapy therapy. When experiencing symptoms, a person is supposed to describe the “activating event,” describe beliefs about the event, describe consequences of such beliefs and, then, dispute such beliefs in a rational manner while identifying which of 12 “thought errors” have been committed. Developed by Albert Ellis in 1955.

Rash – an irritation of the skin which can have many causes. Regarding anxiety disorders, rashes may sometimes be caused by a hypersensitive nervous system which may amplify normal sensations to irritable levels. When obsessive compulsive disorder is involved, rashes may be due to excessive washing.

Raynaud’s Syndrome – a condition, often associated with anxiety or depression, which restricts blood flow and temperature at the extremities (making hands and feet cold even in warm conditions). This condition is associated with alpha-receptors which, when activated, cause vasoconstriction.

Rebound – see relapse.

REBT – see Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.

Recluse – someone who, by choice or health condition, has a secluded or solitary lifestyle. Also see housebound.

Recreational Drug – any substance used for enjoyment rather than nutritional value or treatment of a disorder. Contrast with self medication. Recreational drugs include alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, cocaine, nicotine, opium, and many others. Also see addiction, drug, substance abuse.

Relapse – a return of symptoms after a period of apparent recovery. Since anxiety disorders are known to wax and wane over long periods (months or years) relapses are not unusual. Also see set back.

Relax – to relieve from excitement, stress or anxiety.

Relaxation Technique – any psychological or physical method of inducing calm. Such techniques include breathing exercises, exercise, guided imagery, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga. Also see spa.

Religion – any belief system based on faith. Also see mythology, prayer, scrupulosity, voodoo.

REM – see Rapid Eye Movement.

REM Sleep – see Rapid Eye Movement.

REM-sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) – a sleep disorder which involves acting out violent dreams. In other words, acts of self defense, protection or aggression within a dream are reflected by body movements while asleep. Also known as “sleep violence.”

Remission – an ongoing decrease or absence of symptoms.

Repression – a psychoanalytic term regarding a psychological resistance to acknowledge an uncomfortable memory or feeling. According to psychoanalytic theory, severe repression may result in anxiety attacks. Adj. Repressive. Also see catharsis, hypnotic psychotherapy, Rorschach test.

Respiratory Disease – a disease of the lungs (such as asthma) which may have symptoms similar to an anxiety disorder. Contrast with hyperventilation.

Response-Stimulus (RS) Conditioning – see operant conditioning.

RET – see Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.

Re-uptake – reabsorption of a chemical messenger by a cell.

Re-uptake Inhibitor – any chemical (chemical messenger or substance) that reduces a cell’s ability to reabsorb a chemical messenger. This effectively increases the amount of a chemical messenger between cells. See SNRI, SRI.

Rorschach Test – a psychological test involving the interpretation of ink blotches to undo repression and encourage catharsis.

RS Conditioning – see operant conditioning.

Rx – see prescription.


Sabotage – in psychology, any thought or behavior that undermines a therapy or recovery. The concept of psychological sabotage should be interpreted carefully since it may reflect circular logic or self-fulfilling prophecies (by either patient or therapist). Also see compulsive, intrusive memory, obsessive, self-downing.

SAD – see Seasonal Affective Disorder or Social Anxiety Disorder.

Safe Zone – any area within which anxiety symptoms are not notably aggravated. Also see agoraphobia, separation anxiety.

Saint John’s Wort (SJW) – see Hypericum perforatum.

Salivation – the secretion of saliva in the mouth. Brief episodes of spontaneous and excessive salivation sometimes occur with anxiety disorders. Also see dysautonomia, xerostomia.

Scare – to induce fear.

Scaremonger – anyone who circulates frightening rumors.

Scare Tactic – any act that employs fear to affect thought or behavior.

Scrupulosity – a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder characterized by excessive anxiety regarding moral behavior, spiritual status or correct conduct of religious practices. Also see superstition, religion.

Scutellaria Lateriflora – a plant used as a herbal remedy; sedative and antispasmodic. A member of the mint family which grows in eastern North America. Commonly called Skullcap.

SDS – see serotonin deficiency syndrome.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a disorder involving depression or anxiety that typically occurs during the darker seasons. Apparently, reduced daily exposure to sunlight can significantly affect some people’s serotonin and melatonin levels, which results in SAD. This disorder can be alleviated by light therapy.

Sedative – anything that induces calm.

Seizure – a sudden attack of epilepsy that produces convulsions. Seizures are typically classified as ‘partial’ or ‘generalized’. Partial seizures include “simple partial seizures” (motor, sensory, autonomic) and “complex partial seizures” (absences, complex hallucinations, affective symptoms, automatism). Generalized seizures are characterized by absence attacks (petit mal), tonic-clonic (grand mal), bilateral myoclonic, drop attacks (akinetic). It is interesting to note that the auras associated with some seizures are remarkably similar to, if not the same as, some forms of anxiety attacks. Consequently, panic attacks are sometimes described as sub-epileptic seizures. Also see temporal lobe seizure.

Selective Mutism – inability to speak in certain situations. Often associated with social phobia or other anxiety disorders. Also see mutism and surdomutism.

Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Re-uptake Inhibitor (SSNRI) – psychiatrists now prefer the abbreviated term Serotonin and Norepinephrine Re-uptake Inhibitor (SNRI). Both terms refer to the same group of medications.

Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor (SSRI) – psychiatrists now prefer the abbreviated term Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor (SRI). Both terms refer to the same group of medications.

Self Abuse – see self injury.

Self-downing – a form of self sabotage where an anxiety disorder or depression is made worse by obsessing over the condition or by blaming oneself for the condition.

Self Esteem – a sense of pride and/or respect for oneself. Self esteem is not necessarily based on tangible accomplishments, but can also result from personal, inner accomplishments as well.

Self Harm – see self injury.

Self Help – coping skills or recovery techniques that are practiced without the guidance of a doctor or therapist.

Self Injury – any act of intentional physical injury to oneself. Such acts involve bruising, scratching, cutting, burning, etc. Often, people practice self injury in an effort to relieve or express emotional pain. Both psychological and biological factors should be explored as potential causes.

Self Medication – the consumption of any substance to treat a health problem without or despite the guidance of a doctor. Contrast with recreational drug.

Self Monitoring – observing and monitoring one’s own thoughts or behavior.

Self Mutilation – see self injury.

Semiparalysis – see pseudoparalysis.

Sensory Cortex – a vertical strip of each parietal lobe that effectively provides a map of the body for sensations to be interpreted.

Sensory Nervous System – a subdivision of the peripheral nervous system that channels sensory stimulus (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch) to the brain.

Separation Anxiety – anxiety related to separation from a comforting person, object or situation. Separation anxiety is sometimes a healthy response (as in the anxiety of a child being separated from a parent or guardian). However, separation anxiety can also indicate excessive insecurity or dependence. Also see safe zone.

Serotonin (5-HT) – a hormone and neurotransmitter (an indoleamine) associated with appetite, digestion, sleep, depression and anxiety disorders. Also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). For biosynthesis details see tryptophan.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Re-uptake Inhibitor (SNRI) – any medication that slows the re-uptake of serotonin and norepinephrine by neurons in the brain, thus allowing serotonin and norepinephrine to remain in the synapse longer. Like most psychiatric medications, SNRIs are best started with ramped dosage. The SNRI medications include (generic names) duloxetine, venlafaxine. Also see antidepressant, re-uptake inhibitor, serotonin re-uptake inhibitor.

Serotonin Deficiency Syndrome (SDS) – a disorder caused by insufficient serotonin levels. A possible cause of anxiety disorders, depression and related conditions. Contrast with serotonin syndrome.

Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor (SRI) – any medication that slows the re-uptake of serotonin by neurons in the brain, thus allowing serotonin to remain in the synapse longer. SRIs can interfere with sexual desire or function, but this effect is often temporary. Like most psychiatric medications, SRIs are best started with ramped dosage. The SRI medications include (generic names) buspirone hydrochloride, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, mirtazapine, nefazodone, paroxetine, sertraline, trazodone. CAUTION: SRIs should not be combined with MAOIs. SRIs may pose risks to unborn children during pregnancy and newborns through breast milk. A possible relationship between SRIs and suicidal ideation remains controversial. Nefazodone has been discontinued due to association with liver damage. Also see anorgasmia, antidepressant, re-uptake inhibitor, serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor.

Serotonin Syndrome – a disorder caused by excessive serotonin levels. Symptoms can include restlessness, hallucinations, loss of coordination, fast heart beat, rapid changes in blood pressure, increased body temperature, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Possible causes include migraine headache medications known as triptans, antidepressants (especially SRI and SNRI medications) and any other substance (natural or pharmaceutical) which elevates serotonin. Contrast with serotonin deficiency syndrome.

Set Back – a rise in symptoms during a period of recovery. Anxiety disorders are known to wax and wane over both long and short periods, so set backs are not uncommon. When considering progress of recovery, do not focus on specific setbacks but, instead, consider long-term progress. Also see relapse.

Shadowing – see preceptorship.

Shell Shock – an alternate name for PTSD dating from WW-I.

Shock – in psychology, a shock is any sudden mental or emotional disturbance. In medicine, the term shock refers to a collection of medical symptoms; i.e. turning notably pale, rapid and shallow breathing, rapid but weak pulse, low blood pressure.

Shock Treatment – see electroconvulsive therapy.

Shut-in – a common term for someone who is housebound.

Shy – see social anxiety.

Shy-bladder – see paruresis.

Simple Phobia – see phobia.

Sinusitis – irritation of the sinuses. In cases involving anxiety disorders, sinusitis is often attributed to gastroesophogial reflux disease.

Situational Anxiety – any anxiety which is associated with specific circumstances. Also see performance anxiety, phobia.

SJW – Saint John’s Wort. See Hypericum perforatum.

Skullcap – see Scutellaria lateriflora.

Sleep – a periodic state of unconsciousness which promotes restoration of psychological and physical function. Also see dream, nocturnal bruxism.

Sleep Paralysis – a state in which the brain is awake, but the body is still sleeping. Also known by the traditional term “old hag.” Also see hypnagogic, hypnopompic, incubus.

Sleep Terror – awakening with a sense of intense anxiety, but not associated with a dream. Occurs during first hours of sleep, during slow-wave sleep (sleep stages 3 or 4) and prior to REM sleep. Typically involves confusion and intense autonomic activity. Sometimes called “pavor nucturnus” in children and “incubus attack” in adults. Also known as “night terror” and “nocturnal panic attack.” Contrast with nightmare and bad dream.

Sleep Violence – see REM-sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD).

Smoking – the inhalation of tobacco smoke.

Snake Oil – see bogus therapy.

SNRI – see Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor.

Social Anxiety – anxiety regarding social situations. People suffering from social anxiety are often called ‘shy’, but shyness does not necessarily indicate an anxiety disorder. Pronounced or chronic social anxiety may indicate a social anxiety disorder or social phobia. Also see blush, performance anxiety.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) – an anxiety disorder characterized by social phobia. Also see avoidant personality disorder, paruresis, selective mutism.

Social Phobia – a phobia of social situations, typically with exaggerated fears of rejection, humiliation, persecution, or scrutiny. Social phobia can be amplified or complicated by other anxiety disorders. Often treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, psychoanalysis, support group. Some cases may benefit from medication. Also see housebound.

Social Workcounseling or psychotherapy with an emphasis on family and community relationships. Social workers often provide guidance regarding various forms of support.

Sodium Lactate – a substance which can produce anxiety, mainly in people with an anxiety disorder. Though the body does produce sodium lactate during exercise, levels tend to remain low and not induce anxiety attacks. When used as a challenge agent, sodium lactate is typically injected at artificially high levels.

Soldier’s Heart – a dated alternate name for PTSD or other pronounced anxiety disorder.

Somatic – pertaining to the body.

Somatization Disorder – a somatoform disorder characterized by a history of various physical complaints that are not attributed to a medical condition, substance or intentionally produced.

Somatize – to manifest a mental state in the form of physical symptoms. See psychosomatic.

Somatoform Disorder – a class of disorders characterized by physical symptoms which are not caused by a medical condition. Somatoform disorders include body dysmorphic disorder, conversion disorder, hypochondria, pain disorder, somatization disorder.

Somatosensory Cortex – see sensory cortex.

Somnus – see Hypnos.

Spa – any health resort devoted to relaxation or rejuvenation. Spas may provide pools, baths, saunas, hydrotherapy, massage, diets, meditation, yoga, etc., in the context of treatment sessions or even related classes or vacations. Also see relax.

Speaking Anxiety – a form of performance anxiety characterized by verbal expression.

Special Education – any form of schooling in which a student’s therapeutic needs are addressed. May involve variations of teaching style, curriculum, environment. Regarding anxiety disorders, students may be asked to participate in specially planned exercises designed to reduce anxiety. Special education options vary greatly, so ask school administrators for any available information. Also see psychotherapy.

Specific Phobia – see phobia.

SR Conditioning – see operant conditioning.

SRI – see Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor.

SSNRI – see Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor.

SSRI – see Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor.

Stage Fright – a form of performance anxiety characterized by appearance before an audience.

Startle Response – an involuntary reaction to a sudden and unexpected stimulus. Also see fight or flight response.

Stathmin – a protein involved in the formation of fear memories.

Status Panicus – a severe panic attack which lasts hours or days and sometimes involves pseudoparalysis or temporary paralysis. Also see sub-epileptic seizure.

Stigma – a socially negative association. Historically, people with anxiety disorders have been stigmatized as emotionally weak, cowardly, or lazy because the powerful mechanisms of such disorders were obscure and misunderstood.

Stimulant – any substance that increases biological activity. See caffeine.

Stimulus-Response (SR) Conditioning – see operant conditioning.

Streptococcus Infection – see Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

Stress – commonly, any biological or psychological force that affects a change in physical or mental health. Often, stress is associated with environmental change. Originally, the term “stress” was exclusively applied to any disturbance of biological homeostasis (Hans Selye, mid 20th century). Also see fear.

Stress Cardiomyopathy – a cardiac condition which can be mistaken for a heart attack but is brought on by emotional distress. Also see cardiology.

Stress Disorder – see acute stress disorder.

Stress Inoculation Therapy – a form of exposure therapy intended to improve an individual’s response to stress.

Stressor – anything that causes stress. Also see adjustment disorder, background stressor.

Stress Shutdown – a dramatic reduction of cognitive abilities due to excessive stress or anxiety. The causes of stress shutdown may involve psychological mechanisms or a disturbance of neurotransmitters. Also see cognitive dysfunction.

Subconscious – any thought or mental process that we are unaware of. Contrast with conscious.

Sub-epileptic Seizure – an attack of seizure-like symptoms which is not associated with epilepsy proper. Also see pseudoparalysis, status panicus.

Subliminal – regarding any stimulus that affects the mind on a subconscious level.

Sublingual – under the tongue. Some medications reach the brain faster when allowed to dissolve under the tongue instead of simply swallowed. For example, alprazolam may take effect in roughly 30 minutes when swallowed and absorbed through the stomach, but may take effect in roughly 15 minutes when taken sublingually and absorbed through the mouth.

Substance – anything acting in a chemical manner; includes diet, herbal remedies, medications, recreational drugs, vitamins.

Substance Abuse – excessive use of a substance which can lead to medical problems such as addiction or organ damage. Also see recreational drug.

Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder – any anxiety disorder caused by substance intoxication, detoxification or withdrawal syndrome.

Succubus – a mythological female demon believed to have sex with sleeping men. Also see incubus, mythology, sleep terror.

Suffocation Alarm – a state of distress due to a perceived lack of oxygen. Suffocation alarm is a common symptom of anxiety disorders. During suffocation alarm, a person might hyperventilate.

Suicidal Ideation – thoughts or behaviors relating to a preoccupation with suicide.

Suicidality – tendency towards suicidal ideation.

Suicide – the act of killing oneself.

Superstition – an irrational belief that certain acts, or lack of certain acts, are associated with undesirable or fearful consequences. Also see scrupulosity.

Support Group – any group of people that share encouragement, consolation and information regarding coping skills or recovery. Contrast with group therapy.

Support Person – a person who reliably shares encouragement, consolation and information regarding coping skills or recovery. Typically a family member or friend.

Surdomutism – an inability to speak induced by great fear. Also see hysterical conversion, mutism and selective mutism.

Sweat – see perspiration.

Sympathetic Nervous System – a subdivision of the autonomic nervous system. Contrast with parasympathetic nervous system.

Synapse – the place at which a neural impulse passes from one neuron to another via neurotransmitters.


Taboo – discouraged by social convention.

Tachycardia – rapid heart beat. Also see cardiology, dysautonomia.

Talk Therapy – see psychoanalysis.

Taper – to gradually decrease, as in “tapering down a dosage” or “tapering off of a medication.” Often, medications used to treat anxiety disorders are best tapered off of, as opposed to being ceased abruptly. Also see dose, ramped dosage.

Tardive Dyskinesia – see dyskinesia.

TCA – see Tricyclic Antidepressant.

TCET – Transcranial Electrotherapy. See Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES).

Tea – a plant (Thea sinensis) whose dried leaves are used to make a popular drink that contains caffeine (unless decaffeinated).

Temporal Lobe – the lower central lobe of the cerebrum. Contains the auditory cortex.

Temporal Lobe Seizure – a seizure of the brain’s temporal lobe that can cause temporary paralysis, a sensation of fear, and occasionally hallucinations. Temporal lobe seizures may be responsible for sleep paralysis, lycanthropy, or even misinterpreted as omnipotence, mystical or religious experiences, alien abduction experiences, etc. Such seizures may also be the basis for the incubus and succubus of myth.

Tension – a state of anxiety or stress.

Terror – intense fear. Also see Phobos.

Terrorism – any act intended to induce terror.

Terrorist – anyone who conducts terrorism.

Thalamus – an inner brain structure that relays sensory information to the cerebrum, brain stem and spinal cord.

Therapy – any technique employed to promote recovery, reduce symptoms or prevent worsening of a disorder. Therapies may be medical, psychiatric or psychological in character. Also see cure, treatment.

Therapeutic Dosage – the dosage at which a medication is generally considered to have optimal effect. Medications used to treat anxiety disorders often have recommended therapeutic dosages which may vary depending on age or other factors. On an individual basis, however, an appropriately effective dosage may be less than or greater than the recommended therapeutic dosage. Generally, the smallest effective dosage for an individual is best. Always consult the prescribing doctor before changing dosage. Also see dose.

Therapeutic Index – the ratio of largest non-toxic dose to smallest effective dose of a medication.

Therapeutic Touch – an alternative medicine practice where the practitioner passes their hands over the patient, without actually touching, in an effort to balance a person’s energy. Scientific investigation of this method strongly suggests that only a placebo effect is involved.

Thrill – a state of excitement. Thrills are often associated with a period of stress or anxiety that is brief or controlled enough to be enjoyed or appreciated. Contrast with panic. Also see adrenaline rush, adventure, courage, morbid curiosity.

Thyroid Gland – an endocrine gland within the neck that produces thyroid hormone.

Thyroid Disorder – dysfunction of the thyroid gland which can produce symptoms similar to anxiety disorders. See hyperthyroid, hypothyroid.

Tic – spastic movement of particular muscles. Muscular tics are a common symptom of anxiety. Also see tremor.

TID – three times a day. Prescription direction based on the Latin phrase “ter in die.” Also see dose.

TIDM – three times a day with meals. Also see dose.

TIR – see Traumatic Incident Reduction.

Tinnitus – a disorder that produces a constant ringing or roaring noise in the ears or head. This condition can be diagnosed by an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist and treated with an acoustic therapy called Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT).

Tisiphone – see Erinys.

Tobacco – a plant (Nicotiana). Dried tobacco leaves are smoked as cigars or cigarettes. The effects of smoking tobacco on anxiety are somewhat ambiguous. While nicotine can be calming, it is also addictive which makes withdrawal syndrome a factor. It is also known that carbon dioxide can elevate anxiety. Furthermore, various psychological effects, both pro and con, can be influential. The overall effect of smoking on anxiety can greatly vary from person to person. Even for an individual, smoking may reduce anxiety at some times and aggravate anxiety at other times. CAUTION: as a dopamine agonist, the nicotine in tobacco can be highly addictive.

Tolerance – resistance to the effects of a sedative medication. Also see addiction.

Tranquilizer – any medication used to reduce anxiety or perception of stress. Includes antidepressants and benzodiazepines. Also known as antianxiety medication, anxiolytic medication, minor tranquilizer. Contrast with major tranquilizer.

Transcranial Electrotherapy (TCET) – see Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES).

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) – stimulation of the brain by electromagnetic pulses. Therapeutic application of TMS for treating depression is currently under study. Also see magnet.

Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) – a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that uses guided imagery to treat PTSD.

Treatable – able to be affected by treatment in a positive manner.

Treatment – application of any psychological or medical therapy to promote recovery, reduce symptoms or stabilize a disorder. Contrast with cure.

Tremor – shaking caused by rhythmic or sporadic muscle contractions. Tremors are a common symptom of acute anxiety. Also see convulsion, tic, war tremor.

Trench Neurosis – an alternate name for PTSD dating from WWI.

Tribulin – a chemical messenger associated with PTSD and GAD which inhibits benzodiazepine binding.

Trichotillomania – Compulsive pulling of own hair (body or scalp). Possibly related to obsessive compulsive disorder. Often treated with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy.

Tricyclic Antidepressant (TCA) – an older class of antidepressant medications, still widely used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Like most psychiatric medications, TCAs are best started with ramped dosage. Imipramine was the first of the TCA medications; introduced in 1958 as an antidepressant, and found effective in treating anxiety in 1962. The TCA medications include (generic names) amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine, desipramine, dothiepin, doxepin, imipramine, lofepramine, maprotiline, mitriptyline, nortryptyline, trimipramine.

Trigger – any stimulus (image, odor, sound, thought, etc.) that evokes an emotional response. Regarding PTSD, a trigger is any stimulus that evokes a flashback. Regarding phobias, a trigger is any stimulus that evokes exaggerated fear.

Triscadecaphobia – a phobia of the number 13.

TRT – Tinnitus Retraining Therapy. See tinnitus.

Tryptophan – an essential amino acid involved in the biosynthesis of indoleamines. The order of this biosynthesis chain is tryptophan to 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) to serotonin (5-HT) to N-acetylserotonin to melatonin to 6-hydroxymelatonin. Dietary sources of tryptophan include bananas.

Twitch – see tic.

Tyrosine – an essential amino acid involved in the biosynthesis of catecholamines. The order of this biosynthesis chain is tyrosine to dopa to dopamine to norepinephrine to epinephrine.


Ulcer – a break in skin or mucous membrane. Stomach ulcers have long been associated with stress or anxiety, however, anxiety alone is not the cause of stomach ulcers. See helicobacter pylori.

Unconscious – any thought or mental process that we are unaware of. Contrast with conscience and conscious.

Unipolar – a form of manic depression that only involves the depressed emotional state.

Uterus – a female reproductive organ. The uterus (womb) produces chemical messengers related to anxiety disorders. The womb’s relation to anxiety disorders may become pronounced during menstruation or pregnancy, or via it’s absence after a hysterectomy. See postpartum depression, postpartum OCD, premenstrual syndrome, pseudocyesis. Also see hysteria.


Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) – a surgically implanted pacemaker-like device that electrically stimulates the brain. Currently approved for treatment of epilepsy and under study for treatment of depression. Historically, medical treatments for epilepsy and depression often find application in anxiety disorders. Contrast with Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) and Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).

Valerian – a plant (Valeriana Officinalis) whose roots are used as a herbal remedy (sedative and antispasmodic). CAUTION: Valerian may actually be a stimulant for some people, and it may cause paralysis and a weakening of the heartbeat at extremely high doses.

Vapors or Vapours – an 18th century belief that nervous illness resulted from vapors produced by the uterus which would affect the brain. Also see hysteria.

Vasoconstrictor – anything that causes blood vessels to temporarily shrink and reduce blood flow. Also see Raynaud’s syndrome. Contrast with vasodilator.

Vasodilator – anything that causes blood vessels to temporarily expand and increase blood flow. Contrast with vasoconstrictor.

Vasovagal Syncope – an acute fall in blood pressure caused by excessive relaxation of peripheral blood vessels and resulting in tachycardia. This condition is caused by acute pain or fear and can cause nausea, respiratory distress and fainting. Also see cardiology.

Vent – to express emotionally charged thoughts. Often helps to reduce severity and promote better understanding of emotional issues.

Vertigo – a sense of dizziness or weakness. Often, but not exclusively, associated with acrophobia.

Virtual Reality Exposure (VRE) Therapy – a form of exposure therapy using artificial or computer-generated sensory experiences. VRE was first shown effective in the treatment of acrophobia in 1995. Further application to various phobias and PTSD are being explored.

Visceral – pertaining to the inner body or deeply felt.

Visual Cortex – a major portion of each occipital lobe that processes image information from the eyes.

Vitamin – any substance required by the body to maintain metabolism, but does not provide energy or build tissue. Vitamins C, B-12, and B-complex seem to be mildly helpful in regard to anxiety disorders.

VNS – see Vagus Nerve Stimulator.

Vomiting – the ejection of stomach contents through the mouth. Vomiting is a common symptom of intense anxiety. Likewise, fear of vomiting, emetophobia, is a common symptom of anxiety disorders. Also see GERD, gastrointestinal.

Voodoo – a spiritual belief system rooted in African tradition. Elements of voodoo regard anxiolytic and anxiogenic practices, sometimes involving herbal preparations. Also see religion.

VRE – see Virtual Reality Exposure.


War Neurosis – an alternate name for PTSD dating from WWII.

War Tremor – severe and uncontrollable muscular tremor resulting from battle shock. Also see convulsion.

Water Therapy – see hydrotherapy.

White-coat Effect – a modest rise in blood pressure caused by anxiety over a medical exam. Also see anticipatory anxiety, hypertension, psychosomatic.

WHO – see World Health Organization.

Will – self motivation.

Will Power – the degree self motivation exercised.

Will Training – any technique that encourages self motivation. Also see life coaching, motivational speaking.

Withdrawal – a retreat from stressors such as social interaction, responsibilities, etc. Also an abbreviation for “withdrawal syndrome.”

Withdrawal Syndrome – the symptoms or pathology associated with reduction of addiction or reduced treatment of dependence. Elevated anxiety is often a prominent symptom of withdrawal syndrome. Regarding addiction (acquired dependence), withdrawal symptoms often diminish during a recovery process. Regarding other forms of dependence, withdrawal symptoms may indicate return to an original condition prior to treatment.

Womb – see uterus.

World Health Organization (WHO) – a specialized agency of the United Nations devoted to global health. “Health is defined in WHO’s Constitution as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Also see International Classification of Diseases.

Worried Well – an informal category for people suspected of mistaking acute stress or anxiety symptoms for a serious medical condition. Depending on circumstances, the term “worried well” may, or may not, suggest hypochondria.

Worry – see anticipatory anxiety.


Xenophobia – a phobia of anything unfamiliar. Though some anxiety is natural and healthy when encountering anything unfamiliar, xenophobia is an exaggerated form of this anxiety.

Xerostomia – excessive dryness of the mouth due to insufficient saliva. This symptom can be caused purely by anxiety, or may be a side effect of medication. Also see salivation.

XR – an acronym for “eXtended Release.” XR is used to describe medications that have been designed for slow and prolonged effect to address persistent symptoms or pathology that are not very episodic in character.


Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) – a questionnaire-based measure of obsessive and compulsive symptom frequency (severity), present or past. Designed for ages 15 and above. Also see CY-BOCS.

Yoga – any activity that promotes or enhances meditation. There are many forms of yoga which often involve some kind of vocalization or exercise. Also see relaxation technique.

Yohimbe – an African plant (Corynanthe yohimbe) whose bark is used as a herbal remedy (anxiolytic and stimulant). This herb works as a short-term MAOI and may have aphrodisiac qualities. CAUTION: Yohimbe should not be taken with other MAOIs, or by persons with high blood pressure, cardiac disorders, diabetes, glaucoma, or mental instabilities (especially bipolar disorder). Though the aphrodisiac qualities may sound tempting, high doses may result in erections that last an uncomfortably long time (up to eight hours) in which case there is risk of vascular damage or even gangrene. The effects of yohimbe on anxiety disorders may be very unpredictable because the plant’s complex chemical nature causes it to act as both a stimulant and tranquilizer.

Yohimbine – an alkaloid derivative of yohimbe. Unlike yohimbe which works as an MAOI, yohimbine is not an MAOI.


There are currently no entries for this section. Suggestions regarding appropriate anxiety related material are welcome.



Acetaminophen – an over-the-counter pain medication which sometimes is helpful with headaches, muscle or joint pain associated with anxiety disorders. Brand names include Tylenol.

Adapin – see Doxepin.

Adepril – see Amitryptiline.

Adofen – see Fluoxetine.

Advil – see Ibuprofen.

Alboral – see Diazepam.

Alcelam – see Alprazolam.

Alepam – see Oxazepam.

Aliseum – see Diazepam.

Allegron – see Nortryptyline.

Allergron – see Nortryptyline.

Almazine – see Lorazepam.

Alodorm – see Nitrazepam.

Alopam – see Doxepin.

Alplax – see Alprazolam.

Alpram – see Alprazolam.

Alprax – see Alprazolam.

Alprazolam – a BDZ medication. As a potent and fast acting medication, alprazolam seems best used to treat episodic attacks on a PRN basis. Starting adult dosage is typically under 1-mg; however, dosages as high as 5-mg or more per day are not uncommon. Brand names include Alcelam, Alplax, Alpram, Alprax, Alprazolam Intensol, Alprox, Alzolam, Anpress, Ansiopax, Cassadan, Constan, Frontal, Kalma, Pharnax, Prinox, Ralozam, Solanax, Tafil, Trankimazin, Tricalma, Valeans, Xanagis, Xanax, Xanor, Zacetin, Zanapam, Zenax, Zolarem, Zoldac, Zoldax, Zotran.

Alprazolam Intensol – see Alprazolam.

Alprox – see Alprazolam.

Alupram – see Diazepam.

Alzolam – see Alprazolam.

Amicen – see Amitryptiline.

Amilent – see Amitryptiline.

Amilit – see Amitryptiline.

Amineurin – see Amitryptiline.

Amiplin – see Amitryptiline.

Amiprin – see Amitryptiline.

Amiprol – see Diazepam.

Amitid – see Amitryptiline.

Amitril – see Amitryptiline.

Amitrip – see Amitryptiline.

Amitryptiline – a TCA medication. Usual starting dosage 25 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 100 to 250 mg. Brand names include Adepril, Amicen, Amilent, Amilit, Amineurin, Amiplin, Amiprin, Amitid, Amitril, Amitrip, Amyline, Amyzol, Anapsique, Apo-Amitriptyline, Domical, Elatrol, Elatrolet, Elavil, Emitrip, Enafon, Endep, Enovil, Etravil, Lantron, Laroxyl, Larozyl, Lentizol, Levate, Miketorin, Mutabon D, Novoprotect, Novotriptyn, Pinsanu, Pinsaun, Quietal, Redomex, Saroten Retard, Saroten, Sarotena, Sarotex, Syneudon, Teperin, Trepiline, Tridep, Tripta, Triptizol, Trynol, Tryptal, Tryptalette, Tryptanol, Tryptine, Tryptizol, Trytanol, Trytomer, Uxen, Vanatrip.

Amoxapine – a TCA medication. Brand names include Asendin.

Amyline – see Amitryptiline.

Amyzol – see Amitryptiline.

Anafranil – see Clomipramine.

Anapsique – see Amitryptiline.

Anlin – see Diazepam.

Anpress – see Alprazolam.

Ansial – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Ansiced – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Ansiolin – see Diazepam.

Ansiopax – see Alprazolam.

Ansitec – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Anten – see Doxepin.

Antenex – see Diazepam.

Antidep – see Imipramine.

Anxicalm – see Diazepam.

Anxiedin – see Lorazepam.

Anxinil – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Anxiolan – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Anxionil – see Diazepam.

Anxira – see Lorazepam.

Anzepam – see Lorazepam.

Aplacasse – see Lorazepam.

Aplacassee – see Lorazepam.

Apo-Amitriptyline – see Amitryptiline.

Apo-Chlordiazepoxide – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Apo-diazepam – see Diazepam.

Apo-Imipramine – see Imipramine.

Apo-Lorazepam – see Lorazepam.

Aponal – see Doxepin.

Apozepam – see Diazepam.

Aripax – see Lorazepam.

Armonil – see Diazepam.

Aropax – see Paroxetine.

Arsitran – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Arzepam – see Diazepam.

Asendin – see Amoxapine.

Assival – see Diazepam.

Ateben – see Nortryptyline.

Atensine – see Diazepam.

Ativan – see Lorazepam.

Atruline – see Sertraline.

Aurorix – see Moclobemide.

Aventyl – see Nortryptyline.

Aventyl HCl – see Nortryptyline.

Azedipamin – see Diazepam.

Azurogen – see Lorazepam.


Balance – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Baogin – see Diazepam.

Barbital (diethyl barbituric acid) – Brand names include Medinal, Veronal.

Barpil – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Beneficat – see Trazodone.

Benpine – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Benzodiapin – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Benzodiazepam – a BDZ medication.

Benzopin – see Diazepam.

Bespar – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Best – see Diazepam.

Betapam – see Diazepam.

Bimaran – see Trazodone.

Biron – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Bonatranquan – see Lorazepam.

Bonton – see Lorazepam.

Britazepam – see Diazepam.

Brofaromine – an MAOI medication. Brand names include Consonar.

Bromazepam – a benzodiazepine medication. Brand names include Lexotan.

Bromine – a bromide compound commonly used as a sedative in the late 19th century.

Bupropion SR – a norepinephrine and dopamine inhibitor. Used to treat depression and nicotine addiction, and possibly also weight loss. Brand names include Wellbutrin, Zyban.

Busirone – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Buspar – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Buspirone – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Buspirone Hydrochloride – a medication that has an affinity for both serotonin (5-HT1A) and dopamine (D2) receptors; the mechanism of action is currently unknown. Initial adult dosage is 15 mg per day, and maximum dosage is 60 mg per day. CAUTION: Avoid MAOIs when using this medication. Brand names include Ansial, Ansiced, Ansitec, Anxinil, Anxiolan, Barpil, Bespar, Biron, Busirone, Buspar, Buspirone, Kallmiren, Narol, Nerbet, Neurosine, Normaton, Paxon, Relac, Sburol, Tutran.


Calmod – see Diazepam.

Calmpose – see Diazepam.

Cassadan – see Alprazolam.

Caudel – see Diazepam.

CDP – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Centrazepam – see Diazepam.

Cerepax – see Temazepam.

Cetabrium – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Chloral – a sedative and hypnotic commonly used in the 19th century.

Chlordiazachel – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Chlordiazepoxide – a BDZ medication. Adult dosage ranges from 10 to 100 mg per day. Brand names include Apo-Chlordiazepoxide, Arsitran, Balance, Benpine, Benzodiapin, CDP, Cetabrium, Chlordiazachel, Chlordiazepoxidum, Chuichin, Contol, Diazebrum, Diazepina, Dipoxido, Disarim, Elenium, Epoxide, Equilibrium, H-Tran, Huberplex, Kalbrium, Karmoplex, Klopoxid, Lentotran, Libnum, Librax, Librelease, Libritabs, Librium, Libulin, Lipoxide, Medilium, Mitran, Multum, Neo-Gnostorid, Neuropax, Normide, Nova-Pam, Novopoxide, OCM, Oasil, Omnalio, Paxium, Poxi, Psicofar, Radepur, Raysedan, Reliberan, Reposal, Restocalm, Retcol, Ripolin, Risachief, Risolid, Seren, Servium, Sintesedan, Solium, Spaz-10, Taee, Tensinyl, Tropium, Vapine, Zenecin.

Chlordiazepoxidum – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Chrytemin – see Imipramine.

Chuansuan – see Diazepam.

Chuichin – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Clobazam – a BDZ medication. Brand names include Frisium.

Clofranil – see Clomipramine.

Clomifril – see Clomipramine.

Clomipramine – a TCA medication. Usual starting dosage 25 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 75 to 200 mg. Brand names include Anafranil, Clofranil, Clomifril, Clopress, Gromin.

Clonazepam – a BDZ medication. Initial adult dosage of 1.5 mg per day, and maximum dose of 20 mg per day. Brand names include Clonex, Iktorivil, Klonopin, Landsen, Lonazep, Rivotril.

Clonex – see Clonazepam.

Clopress – see Clomipramine.

Clorazepate – a BDZ medication. Brand names include Tranxene.

Consilium – see Diazepam.

Consonar – see Brofaromine.

Constan – see Alprazolam.

Contol – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Control – see Lorazepam.

Cymbalta – see Duloxetine.


Daypress – see Imipramine.

Dalmane – see Flurazepam.

Deprax – see Trazodone.

Deproxin – see Fluoxetine.

Depsol – see Imipramine.

Depsonil – see Imipramine.

Deptran – see Doxepin.

Deroxat – see Paroxetine.

Desconet – see Diazepam.

Desipramine – a TCA medication. Usual starting dosage 10 to 25 mg one to three times a day, and usual therapeutic dosage 100 to 200 mg. Brand names include Norpramin, Pertofran.

Desirel – see Trazodone.

Desloneg – see Diazepam.

Desyrel – see Trazodone.

Diaceplex – see Diazepam.

Dialag – see Diazepam.

Dialar – see Diazepam.

Diapam – see Diazepam.

Diapax – see Diazepam.

Diapine – see Diazepam.

Diaquel – see Diazepam.

Diatran – see Diazepam.

Diazebrum – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Diazemuls – see Diazepam.

Diazepam – an older BDZ medication, still sometimes used in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. Adult dosages range from 15 to 60 mg per day. Brand names include Alboral, Aliseum, Alupram, Amiprol, Anlin, Ansiolin, Antenex, Anxicalm, Anxionil, Apo-diazepam, Apozepam, Armonil, Arzepam, Assival, Atensine, Azedipamin, Baogin, Benzopin, Best, Betapam, Britazepam, Calmpose, Calmod, Caudel, Centrazepam, Chuansuan, Consilium, D-Val, Desconet, Desloneg, Di-Tran, Diaceplex, Dialag, Dialar, Diapam, Diapax, Diapine, Diaquel, Diatran, Diazemuls, Diazepam, Diazepan, Diazepin, Dipaz, Dipezona, Disopam, Dizam, Doval, D-Pam, Drenian, Ducene, Dupin, Eridan, Elcion CR, Euphorin, Euphorin P, Evacalm, Gewacalm, Gradual, Gubex, Horizon, Jinpanfan, Kratium, Lamra, Lembrol, Lovium, Mandro, Mandro-Zep, Melode, Mentalium, Meval, Nellium, Nerozen, Neurosedin, Nivalen, Nixtensyn, Noan, Notense, Novazam, Novodipam, Ortopsique, Paceum, Pacitran, Paralium, Parzam, Pax, Paxate, Paxum, Pharmadine, Placidox, Plidan, Pomin, Propam, Prozepam, Psychopax, Q-Pam, Radizepam, Relanium, Reliver, Rival, Ro-Azepam, Saromet, Scriptopam, Seduxen, Servizepam, Simasedan, Sipam, Solis, Sonacon, Stesolid, T-Quil, Tensium, Tranquil, Tranquirit, Trazepam, Valaxona, Valinter, Valitran, Valium, Valrelease, Valuzepam, Vanconin, Vatran, Vazen, Vivol, Winii, X-O’Spaz, Zepaxid, Zetran.

Diazepan – see Diazepam.

Diazepina – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Diazepin – see Diazepam.

Dipaz – see Diazepam.

Dipezona – see Diazepam.

Dipoxido – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Disarim – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Disopam – see Diazepam.

Di-Tran – see Diazepam.

Dizam – see Diazepam.

Domical – see Amitryptiline.

Doneurin – see Doxepin.

Dothiepin – a TCA medication. Brand names include Prothiaden.

Doval – see Diazepam.

Doxal – see Doxepin.

Doxecan – see Doxepin.

Doxepin – a TCA medication. Usual starting dosage 10 to 25 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 75 to 200 mg. Brand names include Adapin, Alopam, Anten, Aponal, Deptran, Doneurin, Doxal, Doxecan, Doxetar, Doxin, Gilex, Mareen, Quitaxon, Sinequan, Sinquan, Sinquane, Spectra, Triadapin, Xepin, Zonalon.

Doxetar – see Doxepin.

Doxin – see Doxepin.

D-Pam – see Diazepam.

Drenian – see Diazepam.

Ducene – see Diazepam.

Duloxetine – an SNRI medication. Brand names include Cymbalta.

Dumirox – see Fluvoxamine.

Dumozolam – see Triazolam.

Dumyrox – see Fluvoxamine.

Dupin – see Diazepam.

Duralozam – see Lorazepam.

D-Val – see Diazepam.


Efasedan – see Lorazepam.

Effexor – see Venlafaxine.

Elatrol – see Amitryptiline.

Elatrolet – see Amitryptiline.

Elavil – see Amitryptiline.

Elcion CR – see Diazepam.

Eldepryl – see Selegeline.

Elenium – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Emitrip – see Amitryptiline.

Emotion – see Lorazepam.

Emotival – see Lorazepam.

Enafon – see Amitryptiline.

Endep – see Amitryptiline.

Enovil – see Amitryptiline.

Epoxide – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Equilibrium – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Eridan – see Diazepam.

Estazolam – a BDZ medication.

Ethipramine – see Imipramine.

Etrafon – see Mitriptyline.

Etravil – see Amitryptiline.

Euhypnos – see Temazepam.

Euphorin – see Diazepam.

Euphorin P – see Diazepam.

Eutonyl – see Pargyline.

Evacalm – see Diazepam.


Faverin – see Fluvoxamine.

Favoxil – see Fluvoxamine.

Fevarin – see Fluvoxamine.

Floxyfral – see Fluvoxamine.

Fluctin – see Fluoxetine.

Fluctine – see Fluoxetine.

Fludac – see Fluoxetine.

Flufran – see Fluoxetine.

Flunil – see Fluoxetine.

Flunitrazepam – a BDZ medication. Adult therapeutic dosage ranges from 0.5 to 2 mg. Brand names include Hypnodorm, Rohypnol.

Fluoxac – see Fluoxetine.

Fluoxeren – see Fluoxetine.

Fluoxeron – see Fluoxetine.

Fluoxetine – an SRI medication. Usual starting dosage 5 to 20 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 10 to 80 mg. Brand names include Adofen, Deproxin, Fluctin, Fluctine, Fludac, Flufran, Flunil, Fluoxac, Fluoxeren, Fluoxil, Fluoxeron, Flutine, Fluxil, Fontex, Lovan, Margrilan, Oxetine, Prodep, Prozac, Prozac 20, Rowexetina, Seronil.

Fluoxil – see Fluoxetine.

Flurazepam – a BDZ medication. Brand names include Dalmane.

Flutine – see Fluoxetine.

Fluvoxamine – an SRI medication. Usual starting dosage 50 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 150 to 300 mg. Brand names include Dumirox, Dumyrox, Faverin, Favoxil, Fevarin, Floxyfral, Luvox, Maveral.

Fluxil – see Fluoxetine.

Fontex – see Fluoxetine.

Frisium – see Clobazam.

Fronil – see Imipramine.

Frontal – see Alprazolam.


Gamanil – see Lofepramine.

Gewacalm – see Diazepam.

Gilex – see Doxepin.

Gradual – see Diazepam.

Gromin – see Clomipramine.

Gubex – see Diazepam.


Halcion – see Triazolam.

Horizon – see Diazepam.

H-Tran – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Huberplex – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Hypnodorm – see Flunitrazepam.


Ibuprofen – an over-the-counter pain medication which sometimes is helpful with headaches, muscle or joint pain associated with anxiety disorders. Brand names include Advil.

Iktorivil – see Clonazepam.

Imavate – see Imipramine.

Imidol – see Imipramine.

Imimine – see Imipramine.

Imine – see Imipramine.

Imipramin – see Imipramine.

Imipramine – a TCA medication. Usual starting dosage 10 to 50 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 100 to 200 mg. Brand names include Antidep, Apo-Imipramine, Chrytemin, Daypress, Depsol, Depsonil, Ethipramine, Fronil, Imavate, Imidol, Imimine, Imine, Imipramin, Imipramine Hcl, Imiprex, Imiprin, Impril, Janimine, Medipramine, Melipramine, Mipralin, Norfranil, Novopramine, Presamine, Primonil, Pryleugan, Sermonil, Sipramine, Surplix, Talpramin, Tipramine, Tofnil, Tofranil, Tofranil-PM, Venefon.

Imiprex – see Imipramine.

Imiprin – see Imipramine.

Impril – see Imipramine.

Inderal – see Proporanolol.

Isocarboxazid – an MAOI medication. Brand names include Marplan.


Janimine – see Imipramine.

Jinpanfan – see Diazepam.


Kalbrium – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Kallmiren – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Kalma – see Alprazolam.

Kalmalin – see Lorazepam.

Kareon – see Nortryptyline.

Karmoplex – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Klonopin – see Clonazepam.

Klopoxid – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Kratium – see Diazepam.


Lamra – see Diazepam.

Landsen – see Clonazepam.

Lantron – see Amitryptiline.

Laroxyl – see Amitryptiline.

Larozyl – see Amitryptiline.

Larpose – see Lorazepam.

Laubeel – see Lorazepam.

Lembrol – see Diazepam.

Lenal – see Temazepam.

Lentizol – see Amitryptiline.

Lentotran – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Levanxene – see Temazepam.

Levanxol – see Temazepam.

Levate – see Amitryptiline.

Lexotan – see Bromazepam.

Libnum – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Librax – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Librelease – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Libritabs – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Librium – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Libulin – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Lipoxide – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Lisunim – see Nortryptyline.

Lofepramine – a TCA medication. Brand names include Gamanil.

Lonazep – see Clonazepam.

Lopam – see Lorazepam.

Lorabenz – see Lorazepam.

Loram – see Lorazepam.

Lorans – see Lorazepam.

Lorapam – see Lorazepam.

Lorat – see Lorazepam.

Lorax – see Lorazepam.

Lorazene – see Lorazepam.

Lorazep – see Lorazepam.

Lorazepam – a BDZ medication. Adult dosage ranges from 1 to 10 mg per day. Brand names include Almazine, Anxiedin, Anxira, Anzepam, Aplacasse, Aplacassee, Apo-Lorazepam, Aripax, Ativan, Azurogen, Bonatranquan, Bonton, Control, Duralozam, Efasedan, Emotion, Emotival, Kalmalin, Larpose, Laubeel, Lopam, Lorabenz, Loram, Lorans, Lorapam, Lorat, Lorax, Lorazene, Lorazep, Lorazepam, Lorazin, Lorazon, Lorenin, Loridem, Lorivan, Lorsedal, Lorzem, Lozepam, Merlit, Nervistop L, Nervistopl, NIC, Novhepar, Novolorazem, Orfidal, Punktyl, Renaquil, Rocosgen, Sedatival, Sedizepan, Sidenar, Silence, Sinestron, Somnium, Stapam, Tavor, Temesta, Titus, Tranqipam, Trapax, Trapex, Upan, Wintin, Wypax.

Lorazin – see Lorazepam.

Lorazon – see Lorazepam.

Lorenin – see Lorazepam.

Loridem – see Lorazepam.

Lorivan – see Lorazepam.

Lorsedal – see Lorazepam.

Lorzem – see Lorazepam.

Lovan – see Fluoxetine.

Lovium – see Diazepam.

Lozepam – see Lorazepam.

Ludiomil – see Maprotiline.

Luminal – see Phenobarbital.

Lustral – see Sertraline.

Luvox – see Fluvoxamine.


Mandro – see Diazepam.

Mandro-Zep – see Diazepam.

Manegan – see Trazodone.

Manerix – see Moclobemide.

Maprotiline – a TCA medication. Usual starting dosage 25 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 75 to 150 mg. Brand names include Ludiomil.

Mareen – see Doxepin.

Margrilan – see Fluoxetine.

Marplan – see Isocarboxazid.

Martimil – see Nortryptyline.

Maveral – see Fluvoxamine.

Medilium – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Medinal – see Barbital.

Medipramine – see Imipramine.

Melipramine – see Imipramine.

Melode – see Diazepam.

Mentalium – see Diazepam.

Merlit – see Lorazepam.

Meval – see Diazepam.

Miketorin – see Amitryptiline.

Mipralin – see Imipramine.

Mirtazapine – a medication which stimulates norepinephrine and serotonin release while also blocking two specific serotonin receptors (5-HT2 and 5-HT3); but not an SRI. Usual starting dosage 15 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 15 to 30 mg. Brand names include Remeron.

Mitran – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Mitriptyline – a TCA medication. Brand names include Etrafon, Perphenazine, Triavil.

Moclobemide – an MAOI medication. Brand names include Aurorix, Manerix.

Mogadon – see Nitrazepam.

Molipaxin – see Trazodone.

Motival – see Nortryptyline.

Multum – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Murelax – see Oxazepam.

Mutabon D – see Amitryptiline.


Nardil – see Phenelzine.

Narol – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Nefazodone – an SRI medication. Usual starting dosage 100 mg twice a day, and usual therapeutic dosage 150 to 200 mg twice a day. Brand names include Serzone. NOTE: This medication has been associated with liver damage and has been discontinued.

Nellium – see Diazepam.

Neo-Gnostorid – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Nerbet – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Nerozen – see Diazepam.

Nervistop L – see Lorazepam.

Nervistopl – see Lorazepam.


Neuropax – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Neurosedin – see Diazepam.

Neurosine – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

NIC – see Lorazepam.

Nitrazepam – a BDZ medication. Brand names include Alodorm, Mogadon.

Nivalen – see Diazepam.

Nixtensyn – see Diazepam.

Noan – see Diazepam.

Norfranil – see Imipramine.

Noritren – see Nortryptyline.

Norline – see Nortryptyline.

Normaton – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Normide – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Normison – see Temazepam.

Norpramin – see Desipramine.

Norpress – see Nortryptyline.

Nortab – see Nortryptyline.

Nortrilen – see Nortryptyline.

Nortrix – see Nortryptyline.

Nortryptyline – a TCA medication. Usual starting dosage 25 to 50 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 50 to 150 mg. Brand names include Allegron, Allergron, Ateben, Aventyl, Aventyl HCl, Kareon, Lisunim, Martimil, Motival, Noritren, Norline, Norpress, Nortab, Nortrilen, Nortrix, Nortyline, Ortrip, Pamelor, Paxtibi, Sensaval, Sensibal, Sensival, Vividyl.

Nortyline – see Nortryptyline.

Notense – see Diazepam.

Nova-Pam – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Novazam – see Diazepam.

Novhepar – see Lorazepam.

Novidorm – see Triazolam.

Novodipam – see Diazepam.

Novolorazem – see Lorazepam.

Novopoxide – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Novopramine – see Imipramine.

Novoprotect – see Amitryptiline.

Novotriptyn – see Amitryptiline.

Nuctane – see Triazolam.


Oasil – see Chlordiazepoxide.

OCM – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Omnalio – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Orfidal – see Lorazepam.

Ortopsique – see Diazepam.

Ortrip – see Nortryptyline.

Oxazepam – a BDZ medication. Brand names include Alepam, Murelax, Serax, Serepax, Seresta.

Oxetine – see Fluoxetine.


Paceum – see Diazepam.

Pacitran – see Diazepam.

Pamelor – see Nortryptyline.

Paralium – see Diazepam.

Pargyline – an MAOI medication. Brand names include Eutonyl.

Parnate – see Tranylcypromine.

Parstelin – see Tranylcypromine.

Parzam – see Diazepam.

Paroxetine – an SRI medication. Usual starting dosage 10 to 20mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 10 to 40mg (30mg for elderly patients). Brand names include Aropax, Deroxat, Paxil, Seroxal, Seroxat.

Pax – see Diazepam.

Paxate – see Diazepam.

Paxil – see Paroxetine.

Paxium – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Paxon – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Paxtibi – see Nortryptyline.

Paxum – see Diazepam.

Perphenazine – see Mitriptyline.

Pertofran – see Desipramine.

Pharmadine – see Diazepam.

Pharnax – see Alprazolam.

Phenelzine – an MAOI medication. Brand names include Nardil.

Phenobarbital – a barbiturate medication used as an anxiolytic in the early 1900s, and still used for epilepsy. Sometimes called phenobarb. Brand names include Luminal.

Pinsanu – see Amitryptiline.

Pinsaun – see Amitryptiline.

Placidox – see Diazepam.

Planum – see Temazepam.

Plidan – see Diazepam.

Pomin – see Diazepam.

Poxi – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Pragmarel – see Trazodone.

Presamine – see Imipramine.

Primonil – see Imipramine.

Prinox – see Alprazolam.

Prodep – see Fluoxetine.

Propam – see Diazepam.

Proporanolol – a beta-adrenergic blocking agent. Brand names include Inderal.

Prothiaden – see Dothiepin.

Prozac – see Fluoxetine.

Prozepam – see Diazepam.

Pryleugan – see Imipramine.

Psicofar – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Psychopax – see Diazepam.

Punktyl – see Lorazepam.


Quazepam – a BDZ medication.

Q-Pam – see Diazepam.

Quietal – see Amitryptiline.

Quitaxon – see Doxepin.


Radepur – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Radizepam – see Diazepam.

Ralozam – see Alprazolam.

Raysedan – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Redomex – see Amitryptiline.

Relac – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Relanium – see Diazepam.

Reliberan – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Reliver – see Diazepam.

Remeron – see Mirtazapine.

Renaquil – see Lorazepam.

Reposal – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Restocalm – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Restoril – see Temazepam.

Retcol – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Ripolin – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Risachief – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Risolid – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Rival – see Diazepam.

Rivotril – see Clonazepam.

Ro-Azepam – see Diazepam.

Rocosgen – see Lorazepam.

Rohypnol – see Flunitrazepam.

Rowexetina – see Fluoxetine.


Saromet – see Diazepam.

Saroten – see Amitryptiline.

Sarotena – see Amitryptiline.

Saroten Retard – see Amitryptiline.

Sarotex – see Amitryptiline.

Sburol – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Scriptopam – see Diazepam.

Sedatival – see Lorazepam.

Sedizepan – see Lorazepam.

Seduxen – see Diazepam.

Selegeline – an MAOI medication. Brand names include Eldepryl.

Sensaval – see Nortryptyline.

Sensibal – see Nortryptyline.

Sensival – see Nortryptyline.

Serax – see Oxazepam.

Seren – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Serepax – see Oxazepam.

Seresta – see Oxazepam.

Sermonil – see Imipramine.

Seronil – see Fluoxetine.

Seroxal – see Paroxetine.

Seroxat – see Paroxetine.

Sertraline – an SRI medication. Usual starting dosage 25 to 50 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 50 to 200 mg. Brand names include Atruline, Lustral, Zoloft.

Servium – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Servizepam – see Diazepam.

Serzone – see Nefazodone.

Sidenar – see Lorazepam.

Sideril – see Trazodone.

Silence – see Lorazepam.

Simasedan – see Diazepam.

Sinequan – see Doxepin.

Sinestron – see Lorazepam.

Sinquan – see Doxepin.

Sinquane – see Doxepin.

Sintesedan – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Sipam – see Diazepam.

Sipramine – see Imipramine.

Solanax – see Alprazolam.

Solis – see Diazepam.

Solium – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Somese – see Triazolam.

Somniton – see Triazolam.

Somnium – see Lorazepam.

Sonacon – see Diazepam.

Songar – see Triazolam.

Spaz-10 – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Spectra – see Doxepin.

Stapam – see Lorazepam.

Stesolid – see Diazepam.

Surmontil – see Trimipramine.

Surplix – see Imipramine.

Syneudon – see Amitryptiline.


Taee – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Tafil – see Alprazolam.

Talpramin – see Imipramine.

Tavor – see Lorazepam.

Taxagon – see Trazodone.

Temaze – see Temazepam.

Temazepam – a BDZ medication. Adult dosages range from 7.5 to 30 mg. Brand names include Cerepax, Euhypnos, Lenal, Levanxene, Levanxol, Normison, Planum, Restoril, Temaze.

Temesta – see Lorazepam.

Tensinyl – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Tensium – see Diazepam.

Teperin – see Amitryptiline.

Thombran – see Trazodone.

Tialam – see Triazolam.

Tipramine – see Imipramine.

Titus – see Lorazepam.

Tofnil – see Imipramine.

Tofranil – see Imipramine.

Tofranil-PM – see Imipramine.

T-Quil – see Diazepam.

Trankimazin – see Alprazolam.

Tranqipam – see Lorazepam.

Tranquil – see Diazepam.

Tranquirit – see Diazepam.

Tranxene – see Clorazepate.

Tranylcypromine – an MAOI medication. Brand names include Parnate, Parstelin, Tylciprine.

Trapax – see Lorazepam.

Trapex – see Lorazepam.

Trazalon – see Trazodone.

Trazepam – see Diazepam.

Trazodone – an SRI medication. Initial adult dosage is 150 mg per day, with a maximum of 400 mg per day for outpatients, or 600 mg per day for inpatients. Brand names include Beneficat, Bimaran, Deprax, Desirel, Desyrel, Manegan, Molipaxin, Pragmarel, Sideril, Taxagon, Thombran, Trazalon, Trazolan, Trazon-150, Trazonil, Trittico.

Trazolan – see Trazodone.

Trazon-150 – see Trazodone.

Trazonil – see Trazodone.

Trepiline – see Amitryptiline.

Triadapin – see Doxepin.

Trialam – see Triazolam.

Triavil – see Mitriptyline.

Triazolam – a BDZ medication. Adult dosage ranges from 0.125 to 0.5 mg. Brand names include Dumozolam, Halcion, Novidorm, Nuctane, Somese, Somniton, Songar, Tialam, Trialam.

Tricalma – see Alprazolam.

Tridep – see Amitryptiline.

Trimipramine – a TCA medication. Usual starting dosage 25 mg, and usual therapeutic dosage 75 to 150 mg. Brand names include Surmontil.

Tripta – see Amitryptiline.

Triptizol – see Amitryptiline.

Trittico – see Trazodone.

Tropium – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Trynol – see Amitryptiline.

Tryptal – see Amitryptiline.

Tryptalette – see Amitryptiline.

Tryptanol – see Amitryptiline.

Tryptine – see Amitryptiline.

Tryptizol – see Amitryptiline.

Trytanol – see Amitryptiline.

Trytomer – see Amitryptiline.

Tutran – see Buspirone Hydrochloride.

Tylciprine – see Tranylcypromine.

Tylenol – see Acetaminophen


Upan – see Lorazepam.

Uxen – see Amitryptiline.


Valaxona – see Diazepam.

Valeans – see Alprazolam.

Valinter – see Diazepam.

Valitran – see Diazepam.

Valium – see Diazepam.

Valrelease – see Diazepam.

Valuzepam – see Diazepam.

Vanatrip – see Amitryptiline.

Vanconin – see Diazepam.

Vapine – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Vatran – see Diazepam.

Vazen – see Diazepam.

Venefon – see Imipramine.

Venlafaxine – an SNRI medication. Usual starting dosage 18 to 37 mg twice a day, and usual therapeutic dosage 75 to 300 mg (split). Brand names include Effexor.

Veronal – see Barbital.

Vividyl – see Nortryptyline.

Vivol – see Diazepam.


Wellbutrin – see Bupropion SR.

Winii – see Diazepam.

Wintin – see Lorazepam.

Wypax – see Lorazepam.


Xanagis – see Alprazolam.

Xanax – see Alprazolam.

Xanor – see Alprazolam.

Xepin – see Doxepin.

X-O’Spaz – see Diazepam.


There are currently no entries for this section. Suggestions regarding appropriate anxiety related material are welcome.


Zacetin – see Alprazolam.

Zanapam – see Alprazolam.

Zenax – see Alprazolam.

Zenecin – see Chlordiazepoxide.

Zepaxid – see Diazepam.

Zetran – see Diazepam.

Zolarem – see Alprazolam.

Zoldac – see Alprazolam.

Zoldax – see Alprazolam.

Zoloft – see Sertraline.

Zonalon – see Doxepin.

Zotran – see Alprazolam.

Zyban – see Bupropion SR.

Back to top button