Introduction to Psychology – Lecture 5
October 20, 2011
Psychological Disorders, Part 1
• Two major criteria for diagnosing abnormal behaviour:
1. Deviance (the behaviour deviates from what is acceptable).
2. Maladaptive Behaviour (everyday adaptive behaviour is impaired, not able to meet
• Three major characteristics of a mental disorder:
1. Poor reality contact (beliefs and sensory perceptions others don’t have).
2. Inappropriate emotional reactions (for the person’s situation).
3. Erratic behaviour (shifts unpredictably).
• Classification Systems:
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Published by the American
- International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.
Published by the World Health Organization.
• Definition: “unpleasant emotional state for which the cause is not readily identified or is
felt to be uncontrollable”. not in the textbook.
• People who experience anxiety regularly, to the point where is impairs social functioning,
are considered to have an anxiety disorder.
- Mental apprehension
- Physical tension
- Physical symptoms (headache, sweating, palpitations, fatigue, etc.)
- Sexual dysfunction
Five Types of Anxiety Disorders
1. Generalized anxiety disorder: characterized by high levels of anxiety not tied to any
event, experience non-specific fear and worry, becoming overly concerned about everyday matters, difficult to control. Physical symptoms include restlessness,
fatigue, trembling, nausea and lack of concentration.
2. Phobic disorder: high anxiety that has a specific focus, irrational fear of an object that
is not realistically dangerous. Sufferers understand that their fears are irrational but
they cannot get over it. Physical symptoms are trembling and palpitations.
3. Panic disorder: recurrent attacks of high anxiety that occur suddenly causing terror.
Symptoms are trembling, chest pains, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal
4. Post-traumatic stress disorder: extreme anxiety resulting from an extreme situation
(combat, natural disaster, rape). In some cases, the disease does not surface until
long after the traumatic event. Symptoms are nightmares and flashbacks, problems
in social relationships, vulnerability, anger, sleep difficulties.
5. Obsessive-compulsive disorder: persistent, uncontrollable thoughts (obsessions) and
need to engage in senseless rituals (compulsions) in order to reduce anxiety, the
person knows that they are unreasonable. The person tries to cover up their
obsessions with new thoughts, which eventually become new o