Chapter 14 psychological disorders
There are a lot on misconceptions. In the 1900 and going back., people who suffered from
psych disorders were considered to be overtaken by demons, idea that was someone with their
soul, idea of negative divine intervention. Some treatments included burning people alive etc.
The medical model:
Abnormal behavior = disease. There is an actual biological cause to psychological illnesses.
Caused from abnormalities in people’s neurochemistry.
What is abnormal behavior?
1. Deviant. Different from what is acceptable. Odd behavior, deviates from the normal,
unusual according to the norms in a society. Highly contextual, depends on culture,
situation, age group, gender. When this is evaluated, context is taken into consideration.
• Kabul person is scared someone will shoot him, he is paranoid. Same person in
Ottawa would be considered deviant.
2. Dysfunction/Maladaptive. Everyday adaptive behavior is impaired. Maladaptive with
respect to disruption in people’s everyday life. Cannot go to work, school, drive , be
• Examples: being scared of the sun, scared of people, level of impatience and
impulsiveness. Level of drinking.
3. Causing personal distress. Can have 2 obligations: they recognize they are bad, cannot
focus and know it’s affecting their lives OR they affect the lives of others, hurt others.
• Depression or psychopaths
It is not a yes or no variable, normality is a continuum because there are many factors affecting
what is and is not normal.
Prevalence, Causes and Course
Epidemiology: study of the distribution in the population. Strong knowledge in several area of
Prevalence: % in the population that has or demonstrates or diagnosed with a psychological
disorder at a specific time.
Lifetime prevalence: greater number reflecting the proportion of people that can or have been
diagnosed with a particular psychological disorder at one point in their lives.
Diagnosis: Distinguish one illness from another.
Etiology: refers to examination of the factors that cause or likely to cause an illness.
Prognosis: Forecast about the course of the illness, will you get better, worse, progression. Ex:
schizophrenic diagnosed later in life with treatment will have better chances, compared to
people diagnosed in late teens early 20s.
Psychodiagnosis: classification of disorders
Insurance companies depend on the manual and every psychologist and psychiatrist also use
the same book to standardize everything.
APA: American psychiatric association. th
DSM 5TR: diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders 5 ed.
Clinical syndromes: Anxiety disorders Feeling of apprehension, worry, fear of the unknown, anxiety. Stress is usually the response of
the organism to a short term or perceived long term stress, you can identify the cause of the
stress, but anxiety cannot verbalize the cause, focuses on fear. Women much more likely.
• Generalized anxiety disorder. Free-floating anxiety, anxious all the time, cannot say why
they are anxious, feel the symptoms, can be debilitating, can feel physiological
• Phobic disorder. People have specific focus of the fear, irrational fear, phobias.
o Coalrophobia(clowns), omphalmophobia(navel),pogomophobia(beards)
• Panic disorder and agoraphobia. Recurrent attacks of anxiety that are acute, experience
the wave of anxiety that causes physical symptoms, these attacks are paralyzing, people
who are not instructed on how to deal with them will isolate themselves because of the
fear of being in public and that is agoraphobia.
• Obsessive compulsive disorder. Debilitating condition, need to have obsessions
(uncontrollable thought intrusion, attacked by aliens, bacteria crawl on their skin) and
compulsions (uncontrollable behavioral ritual, hand washing, on and off lights, locking
and unlocking doors)
• PTSD. Emotional numbness, sleep disorders, depression, irritability, guilt, arises after an
extreme trauma and comes back in flashbacks. Malinger: try to fake symptoms to sue
bosses for money. The earlier the treatment the better.
• Biological factors: genetic predisposition (twin studies), anxiety sensitivity, GABA circuits
in the brain, low levels of gaba are more prone to anxiety disorders.
• Conditioning and learning: classical and observational conditioning, maintained through
operant conditioning. Ex: trapped in a closet as a child, afraid it’s dark and little, adult will
avoid being in elevators, and small spaces, grew into a phobia.
• Cognitive factors: judgments of per