d. Transient Situational Disturbances (Adjustment Disorders). Transient
situational disturbances (TSD) are temporary emotional disorders of any severity, which
occur as reactions to overwhelming environmental stress. Reality testing may or may
not be impaired during the acute phase of these disorders.
9-3. TERMINOLOGY ASSOCIATED WITH PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC AGENTS
Before discussing the various psychotherapeutic agents, some terms and their
definitions will be presented. These terms will be used later in the discussion of the
a. Fear. Fear is a feeling of apprehension caused by a real object in the
environment. For example, a person who is unexpectedly confronted with a rattlesnake
would probably display fear of the snake. If you closely observed such a surprised
person, you would see such signs as increased blood pressure, increased respiratory
rate, and increased heart rate. These physiological responses are mediated by the
sympathetic nervous system.
b. Anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension that has no specific object.
Most people have experienced the feeling of anxiety that occurs during test-taking time.
Anxiety has both positive and negative components. On the positive side, anxiety
motivates you to study for the exam rather than to go to the movies. On the negative
side, anxiety can interfere with performance on the examination (that is, "black outs"
during a pencil and paper test). Interestingly enough, a person who is frightened (that
is, with a snake) or is anxious (as with a test) will display the same body signs such as
increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and increased respiratory rate.
c. Antianxiety Agent. An antianxiety agent is a drug that is used to calm a
patient. Although the drug reduces the subjective feeling of anxiety, it will have no
effect on the cause of the anxiety.
d. Depression. Depression is a disturbance of mood manifested by decreased
self-esteem, decreased vitality, and increased sadness.
e. Antidepressant. An antidepressant is a drug that will, after a period, cause
an improvement in a depressed patient's mood.
f. Antipsychotic Agent. An antipsychotic agent is a drug that will reduce
specific symptoms (that is, hallucinations, delusions) in patients experiencing a
g. Tranquilizer. The term tranquilizer refers to a wide-variety of drugs that
produce a calming change in patient attitude and behavior. At one time, these drugs
were categorized into two major categories: the major tranquilizers and the minor
tranquilizers. The major tranquilizers are now generally referred to as antipsychotic
agents and the minor tranquilizers are referred to as antianxiety agents.