- Arc Words: Mystery Diagnosis is very fond of these. They include: "bizarre," "for some unknown reason," and "In healthy individuals, ______ (explanation of how the body is normally supposed to work)." "But in patients like [patient name] _____" (explanation of what the disease does to body). Test results are often described as "nothing short of shocking," and the loved ones of someone who has a mysterious disease may be described as watching "helplessly" as their loved one suffers. It is said of patients and caregivers that "Nothing could have prepared them" for what is revealed each time a doctor brings back test results.
- Adult Fear: The reason the show is rated TV-14. This is especially true of the parents you see on the show with babies or young children. Actually, the whole thing can be rather freaky (see below).
- Body Horror: To varying degrees depending on the episode you're watching. In some, the worst you'll get is a close-up of a blood draw. In others, you'll see close-ups of horrific rashes, bruising, or in one case, a home video of a boy whose psychological symptoms made him act in "bizarre" ways, such as exhibiting motor and verbal tics at an alarming rate.
- Dr. Jerk: Some of the doctors on the show act like this, especially the ones who are treating children (notably girls) and tell the parents the kid is just being overly dramatic, when the parent knows something is really wrong or the child is clearly in pain or distress.
- Edutainment Show: Of course, nothing is a substitute for actual medical advice, but if you're a big fan, you will learn a lot about rare diseases and symptoms.
- Eye Take: Happens a lot (see below).
- Mama Bear: Some of the moms of young children on the show who, when confronted with doctors who basically tell them to go home and quit stressing over their kids, tell the doctors to shove it and start doing their own research.
: The show type itself.Medical Horror
: Again, to varying degrees
- Once an Episode: Often multiple times an episode, usually before commercials, the camera will do a close-up of someone's eyes, usually the eyes of the person the featured disease tried to ravage.
- Papa Wolf: The counterparts to the Mama Bears, though this happens less than with moms.
- Unfortunate Implications: This show carries the *Unfortunate Implication that if you have a medical need, your doctor will not be able to find out what is wrong or will not believe you, and that the medical system is quite useless. A bit of *Truthin Television, but not always.