Chronic means longterm; long period of time. Chronic is an important term in medicine that comes from the Greek "chronos" (time) and means lasting a long time. By the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, a chronic condition is one lasting three (3) months or more.


In psychology, "chronic" refers to conditions, behaviors, or experiences that persist over an extended period, typically lasting for months or years. Chronic psychological phenomena can include persistent mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These conditions often exhibit prolonged duration and may involve recurrent episodes or symptoms that persist despite various interventions. Chronic stress, a common psychological phenomenon, can result from ongoing exposure to stressful life events or chronic environmental stressors, leading to long-term physiological and psychological consequences. Individuals experiencing chronic psychological issues may face challenges in daily functioning, relationships, and overall well-being, requiring comprehensive assessment and treatment strategies tailored to their specific needs. Understanding the factors contributing to chronic psychological conditions is essential for effective intervention and management.

Application Areas

  • Clinical psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Community psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Trauma psychology
  • Geropsychology

Treatment and Risks

  • Treatment: Treatment approaches for chronic psychological conditions may include psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle interventions, and supportive services aimed at managing symptoms, improving coping skills, and enhancing overall quality of life.
  • Risks: Chronic psychological conditions can lead to a range of adverse outcomes, including functional impairment, reduced quality of life, increased risk of comorbid medical conditions, and heightened vulnerability to psychological crises or relapse.


  • Chronic depression characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and low self-esteem lasting for months or years.
  • Chronic pain syndromes accompanied by psychological distress and disability, such as fibromyalgia or chronic lower back pain.
  • Chronic stress resulting from ongoing workplace challenges, caregiving responsibilities, or socioeconomic stressors, leading to psychological and physical health consequences.

Similar Concepts and Synonyms

  • Persistent
  • Enduring
  • Long-lasting
  • Prolonged
  • Recurrent
  • Sustained



In psychology, "chronic" refers to conditions, behaviors, or experiences that persist over an extended period, often lasting for months or years. These may include enduring mental health disorders, ongoing stress, or persistent patterns of behavior. Treatment for chronic psychological issues typically involves a comprehensive approach addressing symptoms, coping strategies, and underlying factors contributing to the condition. However, managing chronic psychological conditions carries risks such as functional impairment and reduced quality of life, necessitating ongoing support and intervention to promote recovery and well-being.

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