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Spotlight on Terminology and Language – ESL
Heart palpitations are a fast or irregular
heartbeat. Heart palpitations may occur in
response to anxiety.
Module 38: The Major Psychological Disorders
Page 468 “Sally experienced her first panic attack
out of the blue, 3 weeks after completing her
senior year in college.”
When something happens “out of the blue” it is
Page 468 “In the restaurant, she began to feel
When someone feels dizzy they are unsteady and
feel as if they are about to lose their balance.
Page 469 “Clothes shopping is done only when
necessary, lest static on garments send her running
from the store.”
Lest means “in case.” She only does clothes
shopping when she cannot avoid it, just in case the
static from the clothes scares her.
Page 469 “Although the objective danger posed by
an anxiety-producing stimulus (which can be just
about anything, as you can see from the list in
Figure 1) is typically small or nonexistent, to the
individual suffering from the phobia the danger is
great, and a full-blown panic attack may follow
exposure to the stimulus.”
Something that is nonexistent is absent or does
not exist.
Gastric sensations are those that come from
the stomach.
Page 470 “It may be that recurring high levels
of emotional arousal experienced by patients
with panic disorder desensitizes them to
emotional stimuli (Pillay et al., 2006; 2007).”
When stimulating events are repeated enough
to no longer cause arousal, they are said to be
Page 470 “In other cases, though, people with
the disorder feel that something dreadful is
about to happen but can’t identify the reason,
experiencing ‘free-floating’ anxiety.”
Free-floating anxiety is anxiety without an
apparent or identifiable cause.
Page 470 “In obsessive-compulsive disorder,
people are plagued by unwanted thoughts,
called obsessions, or feel that they must carry
out actions, termed compulsions, against their
These symptoms plague the recipient; they’re
very bothersome.
Page 470 “A woman may hear the same tune
running through her head over and over.”
A tune is a song; music.
Page 470 “Instead, during an attack, such as the
ones experienced by Sally in the case described
earlier, anxiety suddenly – and often without
warning – rises to a peak, and an individual feels a
sense of impending, unavoidable doom.”
The event is impending; it is imminent. The
event is approaching rapidly. Doom points to an
unhappy end, a terrible fate or ruin.
Page 470 “Although the physical symptoms differ
from person to person, they may include heart
palpitations, shortness of breath, unusual amounts
of sweating, faintness and dizziness, an urge to
urinate, gastric sensations, and—in extreme
cases—a sense of imminent death.”
Page 471 “As part of an obsessive-compulsive
disorder, people may also experience
compulsions, irresistible urges to repeatedly
carry out some act that seems strange and
unreasonable, even to them.”
Irresistible urges are overwhelming urges – a
person plagued with irresistible urges finds
they must carry out some compulsion.
Page 472 “Although such compulsive rituals
lead to some immediate reduction of anxiety,
in the long term the anxiety returns.”
A compulsive ritual is a habit or behavior that
must be performed.
Page 472 “In fact people with severe cases lead
lives filled with unrelenting tension (Goodman,
Rudorfer, & Maser, 2000; Penzel, 2000).”
Page 475 “I seemed to myself to be dull,
boring, inadequate, thick brained, unlit,
unresponsive, chill skinned, bloodless, and
sparrow drab.”
A person calling himself unlit means he
thought his mind was not active, like a light
bulb that was not on.
Unrelenting is insistent and merciless.
Page 472 “For example, people with anxiety
disorders may view a friendly puppy as a
ferocious and savage pit bull, or they may see an
air disaster looming every moment they are in the
vicinity of an airplane.”
Chill skinned would describe someone
physically inert, almost like a dead body.
Page 476 “Mania is an extended state of
intense, wild elation.”
Elation is being excited and enthusiastic.
Something that is ferocious behaves in a very
fierce or savage way.
A savage is a wild violent or vicious person ore
When something is looming it refers to the fact
that something threatening or bad is about to
Page 473 “It is not that the ‘symptoms’ are faked;
instead, it is the misinterpretation of those
sensations as evidence of some serious illness—
often in the face of inarguable medical evidence
to the contrary—that characterizes
hypochondriasis (Fallon & Feinstein, 2001; Noyes
et al., 2003; Olatunji, 2008).” “When something is
inarguable it is impossible to deny or take an
opposing view about it.
Page 474 “For instance, a person in good health
who wakes up blind may react in a bland, matterof-fact way.”
When we react in a bland way the reaction is
emotionless and with any interest.
Page 476 “He purchased a large number of
cuckoo clocks and then an expensive car,
which he planned to use as a mobile
showroom for his wares, anticipating that he
would make a great deal of money.”
A cuckoo clock is a clock that tells time with
sounds like a cuckoo bird’s call, usually
accompanied by the appearance of a
mechanical bird from behind a door.
Page 476 “He proceeded to ‘tear around
town’ buying and selling clocks and other
merchandise, and when he was not out, he was
continuously on the phone making ‘deals’.”
To tear, in this case, means to move quickly.
So tearing around town would mean going to
all parts of the town rapidly.
Page 477 “For instance, historical analysis of
the composer Robert Schumann’s music
shows that he was most prolific during
periods of mania.”
Prolific means to produce much.
Page 474 “By dissociating key parts of the
personality, people are able to keep disturbing
memories or perceptions from reaching conscious
awareness, thereby reducing their anxiety
(Maldonado & Spiegel, 2003; Houghtalen &
Talbot, 2007).”
Dissociating means separating and keeping them
Page 477 “Despite the creative fires that may
be lit by mania, persons who experience this
disorder often show a recklessness that
produces self-injury—emotionally and
sometimes physically.”
Recklessness is being unconcerned about the
consequences of actions, and placing one’s
self or others in danger.
Page 477 “They may alienate others with their
talkativeness, inflated self-esteem, and
indifference to the needs of others.”
Page 480 “I use Cover Girl creamy natural
If someone makes others feel as though they do
not matter, they alienate them.
Cover Girl is a brand of cosmetics or makeup sold in U.S. stores.
Page 478 “By focusing on the negative side of
situations, they feel inept and unable to act
constructively to change their environment. In
sum, their negative cognitions lead to feelings of
depression (Newman et al., 2002).”
Page 480 “Oral Roberts has been here to visit
me...This place is where Mad magazine is
Oral Roberts is a U.S. television religious
Someone who is inept is unable to do their job.
Page 478 “Brain imaging studies suggest that
people with depression experience a general
blunting of emotional reactions.”
Mad magazine is a magazine that became
popular in the U.S. during the 1960’s. It uses
humor and satire to make fun of popular
A blunting of emotional response refers to a
lessening or weakening of that response.
Page 480 “The Nixons make Noxon metal
Page 479 “Other recent explanations of depression
derive from evolutionary psychology, which
considers how behavior is influenced by our
genetic inheritance from our ancestors.”
Richard Nixon was the 37th president of the
U.S and was the only president to resign from
Derive means to come from a something.
Page 479 “When people fruitlessly pursue an
ever-elusive goal, depression begins, ending
pursuit of the goal.”
When something is fruitless it produces nothing
or is unproductive
Page 479 “The various theories of depression have
not provided a complete answer to an elusive
question that has dogged researchers: Why does
depression occur in approximately twice as many
women as men—a pattern (shown in Figure 7)that
is similar across a variety of cultures?”
Page 481 “He’s down to the smokestack,
looking through the smoke trying to get the
balloon gassed up you know.”
A smokestack is pipe used to vent smoke or
steam out of an engine.
Page 481 “As this selection illustrates,
although the basic grammatical structure may
be intact, the substance of thinking
characteristic of schizophrenia is often
illogical, garbled, and lacking in meaningful
content (Holden, 2003; Heinrichs, 2005)
When something is garbled it is jumbled or
When someone does something doggedly they are
determined to continue and will not give up, even
when faced with problems and obstacles.
Page 482 “For example, a person with
schizophrenia may laugh uproariously at a
funeral or react with anger when being helped
by someone.”
Page 480 “In addition, 25 to 50 percent of women
who take oral contraceptives report symptoms of
depression, and depression that occurs after the
birth of a child is linked to hormonal changes.”
Something uproarious is very loud and funny.
Oral contraceptives are birth control pills taken
by mouth.
Page 485 “Rather than being able to screen out
unimportant or inconsequential stimuli and
focus on the most important things in the
environment, people with schizophrenia may
be excessively receptive to virtually everything in
their environment.”
If something does not matter, it is
Page 485 “But that was petty compared with the
stuff I did later.”
Petty means trivial or small.
Page 486 “Still, no one has been able to pinpoint
the specific causes of antisocial personalities, and
it is likely that some combination of factors is
responsible (Nigg & Goldsmith, 1994; Rosenstein
& Horowitz, 1996; Costa & Widiger, 2002).”
The head of a pin is very tiny, so if you pinpoint
something, you are directing your attention to a
small area.
Page 486 “Their emotional volatility leads to
impulsive and self-destructive behavior.”
Because of their emotional volatility their moods
and tempers are unpredictable and changeable.
Page 487 “There are several other categories of
personality disorder, ranging in severity from
individuals who may simply be regarded by others
as eccentric, obnoxious, or difficult to people
who act in a manner that is criminal and dangerous
to others.”
Someone who is eccentric has odd habits and does
things differently from others.
Obnoxious means making other people
uncomfortable and annoyed.
Page 487 “Although they are not out of touch with
reality in the way that people with schizophrenia
are, people with personality disorders lead lives
that put them on the fringes of society (Millon,
Davis, & Millon, 2000; Trull & Widiger, 2003). “
The fringe of something is its outer edge.
Page 487 “Rather than showing profound sadness
or hopelessness, childhood depression may
produce the expression of exaggerated fears,
clinginess, or avoidance of everyday activities.”
Clinginess occurs when something sticks closely
to someone or something else.