and set different unrealistic goals, but this thinking sets the entire cycle in motion again. Perfectionists need to understand that perfectionism is undesirable, and they must challenge the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that fuel perfectionism.

peritonitis An inflammation of the membrane in the wall of the abdomen caused by bacteria that have spread into the area. In children, this most often occurs during acute appendicitis which has ruptured the appendix. Symptoms include abdominal swelling, pain, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and chills and fever. Shock and heart failure can follow. Antibiotics— and treatment of the underlying cause—can cure the inflammation.

perseveration Persistent repetition of a behavior or activity regardless of the result, or having trouble switching from one activity to another. Extreme examples of perseveration may be seen in individuals with DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES or AUTISM, for whom repetitive hand motions, rocking, or other movements are common characteristics. More typical examples in childhood might involve singing a song from a video again and again.

In a school setting, perseveration can be used to describe the fixation on a specific element in a broader task, such as spending all of the time of an exam on a single essay question.

This type of behavior may be caused by inflexible strategies and problems in shifting from one task to another.

pertussis See whooping cough.

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