PSYCHOLOGY AND PSYCHOTHERAPY GLOSSARYThe glossary/dictionary that you can find in this section of our site gathers all the technical terms that are currently used in psychology and psychotherapy. Each term presents a brief and clear description.
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Nervous breakdown: a popular expression, which in more technical terms refers to a state of neurasthenia characterised by a variety of symptoms including abulia, apathy, limited initiative, poor concentration, dysphoric or depressed mood, moments of anxiety, and hypochondriacal tendencies.
Narcolepsy: a disorder characterised by excessive diurnal somnolence. It is believed that the disturbance itself or a predisposition to develop it may be related to genetically-determined characteristics of the individual.
Narcotic: any natural or synthetic agent, such as the opioids in particular, which alleviates pain, produces somnolence, stupor and insensitivity. See also Substance-induced disorders’.
Negation: a defence mechanism by means of which repressed life events may return to consciousness in a ‘negative’ form. A subject will thus refute their origin and reject any personal involvement with such occurrences.
Neuroleptic: psychotropic medication with a sedating effect on the nervous system, used in cases of maniacal states and, generally, for schizophrenics and psychotics. This type of medicine has a much more powerful effect than normal tranquillizers as it mitigates aggressiveness, progressively reducing both acute and chronic psychotic episodes and disorders.
Neurotic anxiety: a kind of ego anxiety engendered by drives of the Id that seek satisfaction.
Neurotransmitter: a chemical substance found in the nervous system, which allows for the transmission of impulses between neurons.
Neurasthenia: a form of neurosis essentially characterised by sensations of tiredness and weakness at the motor and psychic levels, a lack of desire to accomplish or do anything and general apathy. Unpleasant sensations are often present in various parts of the body together with hypochondriacal and psychosomatic tendencies.
Neuroses: a group of emotional disorders initially caused by stimuli capable of causing a conflict within an individual. It may occur that one finds oneself in a situation in which one both desires and yet simultaneously fears to act in a certain way: a predicament which will produce anxiety. Over time, the initial situation will disappear, but eventually one may find oneself again in a situation resembling that experienced the past. In such an event, the conflict will be repeated - as will the anxiety - but apparently now without any reason at all.
Noradrenaline: a neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. Alterations of physiological parameters relating to this substance appear to have implications for depression and maniacal states.