List of important Behavioral science/Psychology Mnemonics

Behavioral science/psychology mnemonics for easy memorization of forgetful stuff. They are specially helpful for USMLE and other licensing exams. This is ever growing dynamic list of mnemonics, please add yours comments to them.

Depression: major episode characteristics Mnemonic


  • Sleep disruption

  • Psychomotor retardation

  • Appetite change

  • Concentration loss

  • Energy loss

  • Depressed mood

  • Interest wanes

  • Guilt

  • Suicidal tendencies

Depression: DSM-V criteria for major depressive disorder Mnemonic


  • Sleep disturbances

  • Interest decreased (anhedonia)

  • Guilt and/or feelings of worthlessness

  • Energy decreased

  • Concentration problems

  • Appetite/weight changes

  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation

  • Suicidal ideation

Gain: primary vs. secondary vs. tertiary Mnemonic

  • Primary: patient’s psyche improved
  • Secondary: symptom sympathy for patient
  • Tertiary: therapist’s gain

Kubler-Ross dying process: stages Mnemonic

Death always brings great acceptance”:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Grieving
  • Acceptance

Middle adolescence (14–17 years): characteristics Mnemonic


  • Heterosexual/Homosexual crushes
  • Education regarding short-term benefits
  • Risk-taking
  • Omnipotence

Narcolepsy: symptoms, epidemiology Mnemonic


  • Cataplexy

  • Hallucinations

  • Attacks of sleep

  • Paralysis on waking

  • Usual presentation is a young male, hence “chap” Mnemonic

Suicide: risk screening Mnemonic


  • Sex (male – completion, female – attempt)

  • Age (adolescent or elderly)

  • Depression

  • Previous attempt

  • Ethanol abuse

  • Rational thinking loss

  • Social support problems

  • Organised plan

  • No spouse

  • Sickness (chronic illness)

Sleep stages: features Mnemonic

Delta waves during Deepest sleep (stages 3 and 4, slow-wave)

dREaM during REM sleep

Impotence causes Mnemonic


  • Psychogenic: performance anxiety
  • Libido: decreased with androgen deficiency, drugs
  • Autonomic neuropathy: impede blood flow redirection
  • Nitric oxide deficiency: impaired synthesis, decreased blood pressure
  • Erectile reserve: cannot maintain an erection

Male erectile dysfunction (MED): biological causes Mnemonic


  • Medicines (propranolol, methyldopa, SSRIs, etc.)
  • Ethanol
  • Diabetes mellitus

Premature ejaculation: treatment

2 S’s:

  • SSRIs
  • Squeezing technique (glans pressure before climax)

More detail with 2 more S’s:

  • Sensate-focus exercises (relieves anxiety)
  • Stop and start method (5–6 rehearsals of stopping stimulation before climax)