Do You Have “Bad Nerves?”

Diagnosing a patient diagnosis.

By Joseph M. Carver, Ph.D.


HEALTH As a psychologist, I typically ask patients to describe the emotional state or social situation that brings them to my office. In over 30 years of clinical experience, I've heard a variety of descriptions. Some individuals have researched their symptoms and may describe themselves as depressed, anxious, phobic, obsessive-compulsive, or anorexic. Others use common words or descriptions such as, "I'm sad," "I worry too much," or "I'm paranoid!" Some are quite articulate and offer symbolic interpretations such as, "My heart's been eclipsed" or "I've lost the wind in my sails."

Some patients describe family, social, or cultural circumstances as part of their emotional status and condition. I've heard, "My family put the 'D' in dysfunctional" or, "We have to use rent-a-cop at the Christmas Dinner." Some focus on a specific event or situation of concern such as "I'm going through a divorce" or, "I'm worried about a surgery."

It's also common to encounter a description of their difficulties from a social or competency standpoint. Common interpretations of their condition might be, "I'm not running on all cylinders" or "My light's gone out."

Continue reading Defining Bad Nerves

About The Author
 Joseph Carter

Joseph M. Carver, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in southern Ohio. His career began in 1971, practicing in psychiatric and medical hospitals, community mental health centers, and currently in private practice. In May 2007 he became a Consulting Psychologist for the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy. Dr. Carver can be reached at

Tags: counsel, emotional, healthcare, professional help, remedy, stressed out, solution