Psycholinguistics & Neurolinguistics

Differences between syndrome disorder and disease


First of all, you need to understand what a symptom is. When someone is experiencing symptoms, it refers to an observable behavior or a condition that can be quickly ascertained. There is no implication of an existing underlying problem, let’s say the symptom is the simplest level to analyze when a problem occurs in a person. Thanks to the symptoms, it is possible to know what may be happening to the person. Differences between syndrome disorder and disease


When we talk about syndrome we are talking about the next level of analysis, that is, a syndrome applies to a set of symptoms that occur together or that can vary over time. This term does not have to be linked to underlying pathologies.  The syndrome, therefore, is a set of symptoms that may or may not vary over time.

In the syndrome, you can have a set of recognizable symptoms but of unknown origin. At the same time, a syndrome can determine a specific disorder. In psychiatry, it can also refer to a psychic reaction to a vital situation. For example, in the case of Down syndrome, the origin of the syndrome is known, but not the causes. Furthermore, Down Syndrome cannot be cured, whoever is born with Down Syndrome will always have it, so it is absurd to think that they are ill.


This term comes from Latin, from the sum of two words: Trans which means “to the other side” and tornare which means “turn or turn”. A disorder is a description of symptoms, behaviors, and actions of a person and that can be associated with pathologies and disorders.

It can be especially related to mental pathologies, cognitive or developmental disorders. It has many uses, but in most cases, it refers to a mildly altered state of health. It is the action and the effect of upsetting or reversing the order or regular behavior of something.

When we refer to a syndrome, we are referring to a set of symptoms that help the specialist to recognize that it is a disorder. In the case of disorder that concerns us at this point, the concept includes the idea that the set of symptoms is not explained by a generalized condition.

In short, a disorder can be a description of symptoms, actions, or specific behaviors of a person, and that is usually associated with pathologies or disorders. It can be related to mental pathologies or cognitive or developmental disorders.

The disorder as a result of a dynamic of interaction

And what is the other way to understand the meaning of the term disorder when talking about mental disorders? Well, precisely, it is what has to do with emphasizing the way in which the individual has related and continues to relate to the environment, instead of understanding something static by disorder, related to genetics, disease, and injuries. A disorder can actually be the consequence of having been involved in a set of situations linked to the context in which we live and that cause us to have entered into a dynamic of behaviors that damage our health. Differences between syndrome disorder and disease

The cause of the disorder, therefore, does not have to be reduced to a very specific part of the brain that functions abnormally, but could be distributed in all those actions that make up a cycle: we act in a way because we perceive things in a way because we act in a way, etc.

Thus, the frame of reference that helps us to know what we mean when we talk about what a disorder is is the following: are disorders discovered by the human being, or are they constructed by the human being? Answering this question is not straightforward, and the nature of this debate has to do with both science and philosophy.


The term comes from the Latin infirmitas and means “lack of firmness” According to the WHO a disease is the alteration of the physiological state in one or more parts of the body caused by known causes and manifested by characteristic symptoms and whose evolution is to a greater or lesser extent, foreseeable.

The disease is also understood to be the loss of health and whose negative effect is the structural or functional alteration of an organ or system at any level.

The concept of disease is only an approximation that guides the type of health problem, facilitating its understanding. Differences between syndrome disorder and disease

When we refer to a disease, we will be facing an underlying etiology. The disease is a process of affection in a living being that is characterized by an alteration in a healthy state of its health. For it to be a disease, it must meet at least two of the following factors: that it has identifiable signs and symptoms, that it presents anatomical alterations, and/or that it has a recognizable etiological agent (causes) by the specialist.

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