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Language has many purposes; the chief one is communication. It can also be a means for artistic expression. Nearly every profession has its own lexicon to convey complex information in a concise way. Medicine is full of them.  Medical words used in psychiatry can be rather hoity-toity but often they are just jolly good fun to throw around.

Here are a few of my favorites which I use in medical reports and to bore the pants off of others at parties.
Learn a few of these lovelies and you too can sound like a pompous doc !

Akathisia < this is a restless nervous sense of not being able to sit still; ‘ants in the pants’.

Confabulation < telling whopping tales all false and made up but without realizing you are doing so. Often seen in those with dementia or voted for Sarah Palin.

Dwam < a mindless state of being, induced by looking out the window while in a train or car. It is accompanied with a blank expression on the face.  “Hello? Didn’t you hear what I said?“Oh, sorry I was in a dwam”.  It is better than admitting what your were really thinking which was Jack Gyllenhaal (see below: satyriasis).

Dysania < An extreme difficulty of getting up and going in the morning. If the word is too fancy for you, use “Mondays” as a synonym.

Enantiodromia < The creation of a state of being when you tried so hard to avoid that by being its opposite you create the very thing you are trying so hard to avoid.  Example: someone who goes out of their way “not to be a burden to others” who end up being a pain in the neck.

Hypnagogic < an adjective to describe things happening in the transition from wakefulness to sleep or the other way around. Lots of quasi-hallucinations and confusion happen in this gray zone.

Kummerspeck < A German word which exactly translates into ‘worry bacon”. It is the word used to describe weight gain induced from emotional eating. I don’t use it much as nobody eats when they are upset, do they now.

Logorrhea < the “opposite end” of diarrhea; oral diarrhea, excessive motor mouth talking, which keeps on spewing.

Parapraxis < the actual word for a ‘Freudian slip”. This is a mistaken statement, which happens when you say one thing but really meant your mother.

Satyriasis <  the male equivalent of nymphomania: the compulsion to have sex with as many men as possible. I am quite skilled at helping those with this condition, but the treatment is a long and hard.

Uhtceare < an old English word from ‘Uht” for predawn and ‘Ceare” for worry. This describes waking up at 4AM anxious and depressed with the mind racing about all sorts of things.

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December 2013

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