Key Terms Associated with Thought Disorders

COUC 521

Key Terms Associated with Thought Disorders


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1. Circumstantiality = tightly linked associations which in the end reach their goal, but the thinking is sidetracked over a long circuitous route linked with irrelevant details.


C: What brought you here?

P: (1) I have this feeling; (2) Let me explain this; (3) I remember when I was eight years old I had a dirty spot in my pants; (4) I may not have wiped myself properly; (5) I always had the feeling that I’m contaminating myself; (6) Wherever I put my stuff it becomes contaminated; (7) I have to avoid it; (8) It does not have to be actual dirt, just the thought that the dirt is there; (9) I would contaminate my clothes; (10) The contaminated clothes can contaminate me; (11) So when I look behind me I want to see if I am clean or if I have contaminated the chair; (12) That is why I look behind me to see if there are any signs of contamination; (13) I know it’s silly; (14) Even when I’m not completely clean it will get through my clothes; (15) I have the feeling that I have to look behind me all the time; or (16) That is what brought me here.


2. Tangentiality = may show tight or loose associations. The answers miss the goal, but land in the close vicinity.


C: What brought you here?

P: (1) I have this feeling; (2) I have it all the time; (3) It’s all the talk that’s around me; (4) Can you imagine how it feels when it spreads? (5) It was first at my job; (6) Then in my neighborhood; or (7) It seems it’s now everywhere.


C: Does this talk bother you?

P: (8) It has to do with what others think; (9) It shows what they think; (10) It is like loud thinking; (11) You hear it everywhere; and (12) you know they think again because they talk.


The terms below deal with what is referred to as “loosening of associations.”


3. Perseveration = repetition of words or phrases. Seen in depression, frontal lobe damage, and schizophrenia


C: What brought you here?

P: (1) I came for my manic problem; (2) You know, it has to do with my situation; (3) At home, my things disappear; (4) That is the situation, you know; (5) I believe my son-in-law has to do with it; (6) In my situation I don’t know what to do; or (7) That is the situation.


4. Verbigeration or Palilalia = repeat words or phrases automatically, especially at the end of a sentence. Seen in catatonic and manic patients.


C: What problems brought you here?

P: My problems brought me here, problems brought me here, me here.


5. Clang Association = not dictated by logic nor meaning, but my similarity of sounds. Seen in chronic brain disease, with phonemic paraphrasia, schizophrenia, and bipolar (mania)


C: What brought you here?

P: All the things said the swings. Whatever brings and tings and clings.


6. Blocking and Derailment = in blocking the stream of thought is suddenly interrupted; after a pause the patient may start with an entirely new thoughts called “derailment.”


C: What brought you here?

P: I had this argument with my neighbors and they started to… (pause). Nobody should support the mayor.


7. Flight of Ideas = non-goal-oriented speech due to distractibility


C: What brought you here?

P: (1) I got here by getting on my feet; (2) But I have hurt my feet while jogging; (3) Do you think jogging is good for me? (4) It may not help against heart infarct, aspirin may be better; (5) But I don’t like to take drugs; or (6) Drugs and crime go together.


6. Non Sequitur = totally unrelated response to a question, on a concrete or abstract level. Seen in coarse brain disease and schizophrenia


C: What brought you here?

P: There is some evidence, but it is not appropriate for my age.


7. Fragmentation = talk in phrases unrelated to each other. They show continuous non sequiturs in subsequent phases


C: What brought you here?

P: I have been over… There is the stress light… Can I go… No one will be… Let them all fly… Bye and hi

8. Rambling = groups of sentences that are closely connected but followed by other groups without connection or goal. Seen in acute organic mental disorder, such as alcohol intoxication.


C: What brought you here?

P: What a stupid question. Can’t you see? But you look cute. Aren’t you cute? Okay? Let me tell you, I don’t want to repeat it, but I tell you here people, why can’t they leave me alone. I have not done anything and now these. There is the cook. Comes and cooks again. Go away. Just leave me alone.


9. Driveling = speak with preserved syntax and subsequent sentences appear linked, yet the speech cannot be understood. Seen in Wernicke’s aphasia and chronic schizophrenia.


C: What brought you here?

P: Okay. There was all of the others rounded by the broom, but nevertheless gathering the lomb. So what is the downward onvent creatibility? If nothing on those things never recreate a ribboned layer of all times.


10. Word Salad = consecutive words are not linked by meaning; speech is incomprehensible. This has been refereed to as “schizophasia.” Seen in schizophrenia, organic brain syndrome, and occasionally in affective disorders.


C: What brought you here?

P: The, my, not, rode, for, new, cold, it ,what, may, so.





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