What is decompensation in psychiatry?

Loss of function. Decompensation refers to a person losing functionality as a result of strain or stress, usually secondary to life pressures or to a specific disorder such as schizophrenia or depression. The ability to do day-to-day tasks deteriorates, which can be the start of a vicious cycle because it increases stress and strain.
Trouble functioning. When we evaluate a patient we determine whether or not the person's ability to function remains intact or at his/her baseline. Whenever the balance between ability to function and difficulty starts tipping in the direction of mounting difficulty we consider that a person may be decompensating. Decompensation in other words refers to compromise in one's ability to function acceptably.
"losing my mind" Consider that compensation means the ability to accommodate and adapt to our internal and external environments. When someone "decompensates", they lose this ability and capacity and may develop a mental disorder. In the case of someone who previously had a psychiatric disorder, decompensation usually means they are experiencing a relapse.
Life roles. In general, decompensation refers to worsening medical and/or mental health status. This may be accompanied by compromised functioning in one's various life roles (eg interpersonal relational, employee, student, etc). Ultimately, the goal of medical and/or mental health care is to alleviate individual distress/suffering and to promote restoration of functional (life-role) status.
Decompensation. In psychiatry refers to a decrease in a person's ability to function in daily life. This can happen for a variety of reasons such as stress or an underlying psychiatrist illness.
Decompensation. Can mean regression or worsening of illness or relapsing and becoming resistant to interventions.
Worsening. Decompensation in psychiatry means that a person has been doing worse than that person's baseline level of functioning.
Psych Hosp. Psych decompensation is when emotional or behavioral symptoms cause distress or affect personal, social, work life psychiatric hospital may be civil hospitalizations which could voluntary or involuntary based on danger to self or others or unable to care for self.
Great question. It can be just lingo, but has a deeper meaning. "de-" implies compensation to begin with. In some mental conditions the balance a person has achieved is fragile. It opposes the pressure of an emerging troubled state with a delicate "compensation" simple example: feelings of inferiority compensated for with haughtiness. A failure breaks down the compensation and the terrible feelings emerge.
Decompensation. Worsening of psychiatric illness, due to chronicity or relapse or resistance to treatment or added stressors.
Illness relapse. Decompensation means that someone got sick again after being stable.
See below. Decompensation is a term that refers to the deterioration of the mental health of an individual who, up till that point, was maintaining his or her mental illness.