The Meaning of Dysphoria: What It Is and How To Use It

Dysphoria is a symptom of a few mental health conditions. Read this article to learn about the psychiatric meaning of dysphoria.

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Have you ever experienced a period of dysphoria? The word dysphoria is often associated with mental health disorders. The following article will teach about the general meaning of the word dysphoria and how people in psychiatric fields use the term. 

We will explore specific mental health disorders that might struggle with dysphoria and learn translations, synonyms, and antonyms of the word dysphoria. So, keep reading for a deep dive on dysphoria!

What Does Dysphoria Mean?

According to Dictionary, dysphoria is a state of anxiety, dissatisfaction, or restlessness. The word dysphoria is often used in psychological and psychiatric contexts to refer to a state of general unhappiness or frustration. While many environmental problems can cause dysphoria — such as stress or grief — there are also a number of mental health problems that might cause dysphoria.

What Are the Conditions That May Cause Dysphoria?

According to The American Psychiatric Association, some mental health conditions that might cause dysphoria are gender identity disorder, schizophrenia, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, all of which are listed in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

Gender Identity Disorder

Gender identity disorder occurs when a person’s sex characteristics do not match their gender identity. A person with gender identity disorder might be transgender, non-binary, or gender nonconforming. These people are at a higher risk of gender dysphoria, in which a person feels dysphoric due to their physical characteristics being out of alignment with their gender identity.

For example, it might cause a transgender woman significant distress to have facial hair, or a transgender man might feel dysphoric by having breasts. Combatting dysphoria is an important element of transgender health care for adults, adolescents, and even pediatrics. 

A mental health professional can provide psychotherapy and diagnose mental health conditions like gender identity disorder, and other providers might provide medical interventions and health services like hormone treatment. Remember that gender roles and identity are different from sexual orientation, and all people deserve equal standards of care.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition that is similar to PMS or premenstrual syndrome. However, PMDD is much more severe than PMS and can cause intense depression, feelings of helplessness, and sorrow. 

While PMDD is less common than PMS, many people who menstruate suffer from PMDD. If you think that you might have PMDD, you should contact your gynecologist or primary care doctor to learn more. 

What Is the Etymology of Dysphoria?

The word dysphoria began its usage in the English language in the early to mid-1800s, between 1835 and 1845. This term is New Latin in origin, from the Greek dysphoría, meaning malaise or discomfort. In addition, this term comes from the roots dys and photos alongside the suffix ia.

What Are Translations of Dysphoria?

Dysphoria can be a symptom of certain mental health conditions around the world, not just in English-speaking countries! 

If you are learning about psychology and psychiatry in another country — or if you need to communicate about your own mental health needs to someone who does not speak English — you can reference this list of translations of dysphoria from Nice Translator

  • Slovak: dysforia
  • Lithuanian: disforija
  • Bengali: ডিসফোরিয়া
  • Basque: disforia
  • Dutch: dysforie
  • Greek: δυσφορία
  • Danish: Dysfori
  • Finnish: dysforia
  • Amharic: ዳይፊሪያ
  • Urdu: ڈیسفوریا
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 煩躁不安
  • Portuguese (Brazil): Disforia
  • Hungarian: diszforia
  • Catalan: disfòria
  • Spanish: disforia
  • Swedish: dysfori
  • Arabic: خلل الحركة
  • French: dysphorie
  • Estonian: düsfooria
  • Turkish: disfori
  • Italian: disforia
  • Bulgarian: дисфория
  • Ukrainian: дисфорія
  • Vietnamese: sự chán chường
  • Norwegian: dysfori
  • Slovenian: disforija
  • Serbian: дисфорија
  • Hebrew: דיספוריה
  • German: Dysphorie
  • Kannada: ಡಿಸ್ಫೊರಿಯಾ
  • Portuguese (Portugal): Disforia
  • Indonesian: disforia
  • Marathi: डिसफोरिया
  • Romanian: disforie
  • Telugu: డైస్ఫోరియా
  • Malayalam: ഡിസ്ഫോറിയ
  • Czech: Dysforie
  • Korean: 이완증
  • Chinese (PRC): 烦躁不安
  • Tamil: டிஸ்போரியா
  • Japanese: 不快感
  • Welsh: ddysfforia
  • Russian: дисфория
  • Croatian: disforija
  • Latvian: disforija
  • Gujarati: નિષ્ક્રિય

What Are Synonyms of Dysphoria?

In modern times, the word dysphoria has a large clinical and psychiatric connotation, and most people associate dysphoria with medical conditions. However, there are plenty of words that have the same meaning as the word dysphoria without these same connotations. 

To find synonyms of dysphoria that do not imply a psychological undertone, take a look at these words from Power Thesaurus:

  • agony
  • angst
  • anguish
  • anxiety
  • blahs
  • bleakness
  • blue devils
  • blue funk
  • blues
  • broken heart
  • bummer
  • burden
  • chagrin
  • cheerlessness
  • dejection
  • depression
  • despair
  • despondence
  • despondency
  • disconsolateness
  • dismal
  • dispiritedness
  • displeasure
  • disquietude
  • dissatisfaction
  • distress
  • doldrums
  • dolefulness
  • dolor
  • downcastness
  • downer
  • downheartedness
  • dumps
  • foreboding
  • forlornness
  • funk
  • gloom
  • gloominess
  • glumness
  • grief
  • grieving
  • heartache
  • heartbreak
  • heavy-heartedness
  • hopelessness
  • horror
  • letdown
  • listlessness
  • malaise
  • melancholy
  • misery
  • misgiving
  • moodiness
  • mope
  • mopes
  • mournfulness
  • mourning
  • poignancy
  • remorse
  • restlessness
  • sadness
  • sorrow
  • sorrowfulness
  • suffering
  • torment
  • torture
  • tribulation
  • trouble
  • uneasiness
  • unhappiness
  • upset
  • vexation
  • woe

What Are Antonyms of Dysphoria?

If you feel the opposite of dysphoria, you are probably feeling great! To get a sense of which words mean the opposite of dysphoria, take a look at this list of antonyms of dysphoria from Power Thesaurus:

  • animation
  • bliss
  • blissfulness
  • brightness
  • buoyancy
  • cheer
  • cheerfulness
  • cloud nine
  • contentment
  • delectation
  • delight
  • delirium
  • ebullience
  • ecstasy
  • elation
  • enchantment
  • enjoyment
  • enlivenment
  • enthusiasm
  • euphoria
  • exaltation
  • excitement
  • exhilaration
  • extreme happiness
  • exuberance
  • exultation
  • felicity
  • gaiety
  • gladness
  • glee
  • good spirits
  • gratification
  • happiness
  • heaven
  • high spirits
  • intoxication
  • jollity
  • joviality
  • joy
  • joyfulness
  • joyousness
  • jubilance
  • jubilation
  • kicks
  • lightness
  • merriment
  • optimism
  • paradise
  • pleasure
  • radiance
  • rapture
  • raptures
  • ravishment
  • rejoicing
  • rhapsody
  • sanguinity
  • satisfaction
  • seventh heaven
  • transport
  • transports of delight
  • triumph
  • zest


The definition of dysphoria is a state of anxiety or unhappiness. For example, people who are transgender or nonbinary might experience gender dysphoria and a strong desire not to have specific bodily characteristics. In contrast, people with PMDD might experience feelings of dysphoria before their menstrual period. 


  1. Dysphoria Definition & Meaning |
  2. – What is Gender Dysphoria? | Psychiatry 
  3. Dysphoria synonyms – 608 Words and Phrases for Dysphoria | Power Thesaurus 
  4. Dysphoria antonyms – 36 Opposites of Dysphoria | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Dysphoria | Nice Translator