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Lecture 15

PSYO 2470 Lecture 15: Mental Illness I
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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYO 2470
Professor
Stamp Jennifer
Semester
Winter

Description
Mental Illness I Treating mental illness - Neurology o Concerned with diagnosis and treatment of nervous system disorders o Focus on physiological processes that go awry that might lead to abnormal brain functions - Psychiatry o Concerned with diagnosis or treatment of illnesses of the mind or psyche o Physicians o Main focuses on mood disorders and psychosis o Able to prescribe drugs - Clinical psychology o Field of practice that deals with human functioning o Don’t just treat disorders of thought, emotion, or behaviour ▪ Also involved in health and well-being promotion - General practitioners o Vast majority of drug prescriptions comes from GPs Mental illness - Diagnosable disorder of thought, mood, or behaviour o Distressing and can lead to impaired functioning in everyday life ▪ Used as a general criteria for diagnosis – have distressing, dustrubing, and dysfunctional facets of behaviour o Difficult to capture in animal models as mental illness also effects thoughts ▪ Difficult to measure in animals - Disturbance, distressing, deviant, dysfunctional o For something to be considered a disorder – to be a mental illness o Distressing ▪ Causes harm o Dysfunctional ▪ Can’t function in everyday life • Causes dysfunctions in daily life o Deviant ▪ Behaviour is inappropriate ▪ Deviating from the average/normal • Lots of criticism – deviance by itself is not sufficient for criterion of mental illness o Lots of people display some sort of deviant behaviour but are not mentally ill - DSM creates a common criteria for classification of mental illnesses - Early beliefs – body considered separate from the mind o disorders of the body had a physical cause and a physical treatment o disorders of the mind not based in biology ▪ a spiritual or moral issue - Current belief o Mental illnesses have biological explanations ▪ One important aspect is environment/experiences of the individual • Know that environmental conditions are important for aspects of mental illness • Contextual differences need to be taken into account ▪ Nervous systems changing the way they work/neural circuitry – affects behaviour Early neuroscience - Brain trauma to the head, reduce changes of edema by breaking skull that allows brain to swell o Prevents pressure and further damage by the skull - Also used to drill holes in the skull as a way to “release demons” Psychosocial approaches - Attempted to look at influence of experience on behaviour and how this can lead to development of mental illness o Freud’s psychoanalysis ▪ A theory for mental disorders ▪ Assumptions • Mental life is largely unconscious • Part experiences shape future thoughts and feelings ▪ Believed personalities and behaviour are shaped by the assumptions o B.F. Skinner’s behaviourism ▪ Behaviourism • Focused only on observable behaviours and control by the environment • Didn’t focus on the unconscious • Environment and consequences shaping behaviour ▪ Focused on immediate events and their effects - If thought, emotion, and behaviour can be shaped by experience, they can be changed by experience o Idea behind psychotherapy Biological approaches - Infection shapes experience - First confirmed biological diagnosis o Bacterium T. pallidum – causes syphilis ▪ Penicillin greatly increased the survival rate of those effected • Allowed people to look back and see the effects of the bacteria on mental illness before invention pf penicillin ▪ Affected about 10-15% of all institutionalized patients • Apparent weight to syphilis being associated with mania ▪ Overtime, bacterium infiltrates brain and leads to further problems - Other causes o Vitamin deficiencies o HIV o Autoimmune responses - Known biological causes to mental illnesses Molecular medicine - Pages 754-756 in the 4 edition – to read - Using genetic info to develop treatments - Changes in biology influence mental health - Looking at inter-individual variability - o Gene discovery ▪ Can insert the gene into a mouse and determine any changes in the brain, in behaviours, test treatments • However, there are very few psych disorders that are targeting on one gene • Very few known single genetic causes for mental illnesses ▪ Challenge with the assumption that gene mutations are the only cause of a disease o Animal models ▪ Works if we know the systems/pathways the disease affects o Pluripotent stem cells ▪ Cell is able to develop into almost any kind of cell • Try and have the stem cells develop into a disordered system o However, very rarely one cause – only tells part of the story o Molecular approaches only part of the story for mental illnesses - Insufficient evidence to suggest mutations specifically cause mental illness o Assumes gene mutations causes diseases – not enough evidence - Enlargement of ventricle cortex in males with schizophrenia o Certain genes DISK1 involved in neural development – involved in ventricle development ▪ Knock out disk 1 – get enlarged ventricles • Found these genes involved in ventricular enlargement, but mice with knocked out gene don’t have schizophrenia - Absence of certain genes can explain developmental and anatomical characteristics, but doesn’t explain the whole disorder o Various and differing mutations found in people that all have the same disorder - Gives an idea of the paths, systems, and physiology disrupted by various disorders Anxiety disorders - Very common o Sometimes referred to as the common cold of mental illness - Strong evidence of life experiences playing major role in being cause of disorder o Contribution of biological factors intertwined with experience - Maladaptive/excessive ways of dealing with fear o Have adaptive responses to dealing with dangerous situations ▪ Reactions are good until they are irrational/cause inability to function - Panic disorder o Frequent panic attacks ▪ Discrete periods of sudden apprehension, fearfulness, or terror ▪ Excessive unease and apprehension - Agoraphobia o Avoidance of areas where escape can be difficult or embarrassing in the event of a panic attack
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