PSYC 1002 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Dissociative Identity Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Fugue State
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Chapter 15: Psychological Disorder
•The medical model
-The medical model proposes that it is useful to think of abnormal behaviour as a disease.
Thomas Szasz and others argue against this model, contending that psychological problems
are “problems in living,” rather than psychological problems.
•What is abnormal behaviour?
-In determining whether a behaviour is abnormal, clinicians rely on the following criteria
- Is it deviant, or does it violate societal norms?
-Is it maladaptive, that is, does it impair a person’s everyday behaviour?
-Causing personal distress
-Does it cause them personal distress?
•A continuum of normal/abnormal
-All three criteria do not have to be met for a person to be diagnosed with a psychological
disorder; for that reason, diagnoses involve value judgements.
-Antonyms such as normal vs. abnormal imply that people can be divided into two distinct
groups, when in reality it is hard to know when to draw the line.
Prevalence, Causes, and Course
-Epidemiology is the study of the distribution of mental or physical disorders in the population.
-Prevalence refers to the percentage of a population that exhibits a disorder during a
specified time period.
-Lifetime prevalence is the percentage of people who have been diagnosed with a specific
disorder at any time in their lives. Current research suggests that about 44% of the adult
population will have some sort of psychological disorder at some point in their lives
-A diagnosis is a means of distinguishing one illness from another.
-Etiology refers to the apparent causation and developmental history of an illness, while
prognosis is a forecast about the probable course of an illness.
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Psychodiagnosis: The Classification of Disorders
•American Psychiatric Association (APA)
-Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th ed. (DSM-5) (2013)
-Multitiaxial Approach to classification
-Incudes 22 major categories of disorder
-Section 1: historical material
-Section 2: criteria for main diagnostic categories and other disorders
-Section 3: assessment measures and criteria for psychological disorders that need further
Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
The anxiety disorders are a class of disorders marked by feelings of excessive apprehension and
•Generalized anxiety disorder
-Generalized anxiety disorder is marked by a chronic, high level of anxiety that is not tied to
any specific threat: “free-floating anxiety.”
-Specific focus of fear
-Phobic disorder is marked by a persistent an irrational fear of an object or situation that
presents no realistic danger.
-i.e., Particularly common are acrophobia: fear of heights; claustrophobia: fear of small,
enclosed places; brontophobia: fear of storms; hydrophobia: fear of water; and various
animal and insect phobias.
•Panic disorder and agoraphobia
-Physical symptoms of anxiety/leading to agoraphobia
-Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent attacks of overwhelming anxiety that usually
occur suddenly and unexpectedly. These paralyzing attacks have physical symptoms. After
a number of these attacks, victims may become so concerned about exhibiting panic in
public that they may be afraid to leave home, developing agoraphobia or a fear of going out
-Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is marked by persistent, uncontrollable intrusions of
unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage in senseless rituals (compulsions).
Obsessions often centre on inflicting harm on others, personal failures, suicide, or sexual
acts. Common examples of compulsions include constant hand-washing, repetitive cleaning
of things that are already clean, and endless checking and rechecking of locks, etc.
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
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