21st century teenagers are known for the different words they invent that can effectively express their thoughts and emotions. Some of those slang words are dope, yolo, swerve, dat, and doe. Those are just some of the many, and even psychological terms that once gave a serious meaning aren’t safe from the exaggerated teenagers. Notice that I used once there. That’s because some people who don’t have a lot of knowledge about such terms are misled and are given the wrong impressions. Ever since teenagers used these disorders as adjectives, the majority of the society forgot how serious these terms really are. So to set the record straight, here are the 5 most common psychological terms used as adjectives and what they really mean.



High chances are you’ve heard a teen call her mother bipolar because one time she’s laughing and then the next she’s all angry and shouting. Or say that a friend is bipolar because he switches mood oh so fast. To make things clear to you, it is true that being bipolar is characterized by sudden and frequent changes in behavior, but that’s not all. There are a lot of criteria that needs to be met in order for a person to be diagnosed as bipolar. Bipolar disorder can affect your daily living.

It might ruin your relationship with others, harm your job and impair your school performance. We all have our ups and downs, but people with bipolar disorder have it rough. Their feelings are intensified and they have four types of mood episodes, namely: mania, hypomania, depression and mixed episodes. Each episode can greatly affect a person’s relationship with others, but the scariest episode is the depressive phase because there are some who resorts to suicide. Bipolar disorder is a chronic, relapsing illness that requires treatment and self-help.



To feel depressed is to be miserable and unhappy. If it lasts longer than a week, it is no longer a simple depression. It is now called a clinical depression. People with depression are always feeling down even if the situation doesn’t call for it. They find it difficult to cheer up and can’t exactly say why.

A lot of teenagers claim that they are suffering from depression. Really? Have you been in a depressed mood most of the day, every day? Is there a noticeable loss of interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities every day? Did you lose weight even if you’re not dieting? Do you feel hopeless and helpless? Feeling fatigue or low in energy nearly every day? You can’t sleep or sleep too much? Are there recurrent thoughts of dying, or suicidal ideation (if that’s the case I recommend you seek help at once)?

If you answered yes to five or more of these questions and experienced them for more than a 2-week period, I suggest you talk to a psychiatrist. Depression is a serious thing that makes it difficult to function and enjoy life and everything it has to offer, it is neither a joke nor an adjective to describe your sadness. It is a condition.



So you sleep late every day. You spend the whole night surfing the internet and reading everything that catches your attention (like maybe this), and you go to sleep when Mr. Sun’s already out. But my question is, did you find it hard to sleep or did you slumber away the moment your head touched the pillow? If so, I’m sorry to break it to you honey, but being insomniac isn’t just about being awake during the night.

Sure you’ve heard others claim they’re so insomniac ‘cos they stay awake during the hours of darkness and doze off during the day. That can’t justify your argument because they got it all wrong too. Insomnia is when a person finds it hard to sleep, maintain sleep, is unable to return to sleep and the sleep difficulty is present for at least 3 months and occurs at least 3 nights per week. Sleep disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, educational, academic and behavioral functioning of a person.

It is a very frustrating disorder that causes a person to be extremely irritated and angry for not being able to sleep even if how much he desires to do so.



Girls are mostly the ones who misuse this term. Recently I’ve seen an Instagram comment of a girl saying that her friend is so anorexic because she’s so skinny and eww. Honey, hold your criticisms right there. There are some skinny people who just have a really fast metabolism; they shouldn’t be mistaken as anorexic because it’s unfair to be accused of something you’re not. Anorexia nervosa is common among girls for the reason that they’re the ones who are mostly concerned about weights.

It is characterized by a preoccupation over calories, fats and exercising. The person feels fat in spite of being underweight and is in denial of being too thin. This eating disorder is deeply distressing for the family of the person because the health of a loved one is at stake. It is a disorder that must be treated seriously with utmost sensitivity for the person. Remember that it is often the effect of emotional distress and/or self-hate, so it isn’t a condition that should be handled with criticisms and insults.



If you type #OCDProblems on Twitter, you’d get a lot of tweet search results that would surely make you raise an eyebrow (especially if you’re someone who is actually diagnosed with it). So because you like arranging your books alphabetically and your clothes are color-coded, you think that you’re sooo “OCD”? Wow nice. You totally got the meaning of the disorder (I’m being sarcastic here, ok?).

Being obsessive-compulsive is not just that. OCD is characterized by persistent thoughts that in most individuals cause marked anxiety or distress, and is usually suppressed by performing a compulsion. These compulsions are defined by repetitive behaviors (i.e. hand washing, arranging, checking) or mental acts (i.e. praying, counting, or repeating words silently).

These obsessions or compulsions are time-consuming and can cause major distress in an individual’s important areas of functioning. The person’s job will be at stake, school performance will decrease and relationships with others will be messed up.


The disorders stated above should all be taken seriously. They are neither laughing matters nor adjectives to define somebody. Remember that a lot of people out there who are diagnosed with these disorders might get offended. Do not be insensitive and know that using these terms to describe someone may be offensive and hurtful. Also, bear in mind that lightly using such terms may mislead others into thinking that these are not sensitive disorders which need a great amount of prudence.

To make this article less blameful though, let me acknowledge the fact that this trend had made the topics above less taboo, and has diminished the stigmatization of the individuals diagnosed with such conditions.

Rozzette Anne Reyes

Rozzette Anne Reyes is a graduate of University of the Assumption with a bachelor's degree in Psychology. You can find her online, sharing funny cat videos or tweeting about her writing progress. You can follow her on Twitter at @noitszette and on Instagram at @roanrey.

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