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PSYC*3390 Ch 1.doc

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PSYC 3390
Mary Manson

Wednesday, Sept 19, 2012 Chapter 1: Abnormal Psychology: An Overview Family Aggregation - whether a disorder runs in families - abnormal psychology is sometimes call psychopathology What Do We Mean By Abnormal Behaviour? - the definition of mental disorders is problematic but the more someone has difficulty with the following areas, the more likely they have some form of mental disorder 1. Suffering 2. Maladaptiveness - maladaptive behaviour interferes with out well-bring adn ability to enjoy our work and our relationships 3. Deviancy - statistically rare and undesirable 4. Violation of the Standards of Society 5. Social Discomfort 6. Irrationality and Unpredictability - society is also constantly evolving and becoming more or less tolerant of certain be- haviour, so what is considered abnormal or deviant in one decade may not be a decade or two later Why Do We Need to Classify Mental Disorders - one simple reason is that most sciences rely on classification - classification provides a Nomenclature (a naming system) and enable us to structure information in a more helpful manner - organizing information also allows us to study the different disorders that we classify and therefore to learn more, about not only what causes them but also how they might best be treated What Are the Disadvantages of Classification - classification provides information in a shorthand form, leading to a loss of information - there can also be a stigma (or disgrace) attached to receiving a psychiatric diagnosis - stereotyping is also a problem - automatic beliefs that people have about other people based on knowing one thing about them - stigma also can be perpetuated by the problem of labeling - a person’s self-concept may be directly affected by being given a diagnosis of schizophrenia or depression - it is important to not that a person may have an illness but is not defined by that illness Wednesday, Sept 19, 2012 Symptom - a single indicator of a problem, it can involve affect, behaviour or cognition Syndrome - a group or cluster of symptoms that all occur together ex sad or depressed mood, problems sleeping, concentration problems, weight loss The DSM-IV Definition of Mental Disorder - The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Definition of Mental Disorders: * a clinically significant behavioural or psychological syndrome or pattern * associated with distress or disability * not simply a predictive and culturally sanctioned response to a particular event * considered to reflect behavioural, psychological or biological dysfunction in the individ- ual - definition of mental disorder is widely accepted but still had problems: - what exactly is meant by the term “clinically significant” and how should this be mea- sured? - how much distress or disability should someone experience before he or she can be considered to be suffering from a mental disorder? - who determines what is “culturally sanctioned”? - what constitutes a “behavioural, psychological, or biological dysfunction”? Wakefield’s Definition of a Mental Disorder A mental disorder is a mental condition that: * causes significant distress or disability * is not merely an expectable response to a particular event * is a manifestation of a mental dysfunction - Wakefield’s approach acknowledges the role played by social values in the definition of a mental disorder - he also tries to use scientific theory in his conception of mental disorder - there are still problems though such as how are we to know when a problematic be- haviour is caused by a dysfunction? How Does Culture Affect What is Considered Abnormal? - in Christian culture the number 13 is unlucky and in Japan the number 4 is - in some cultures there is no word for mental illness Wednesday, Sept 19, 2012 - in China, people who are suffering from depression most typically focus on physical concerns (fatigue, dizziness, headache) Culture-Specific Disorders - certain forms of psychopathology seem to by highly culture-specific, meaning they are found only in certain areas of the world and appear to be highly linked to culturally bound concerns - e.g. there is an anxiety disorder that is quite prevalent in Japan where people fear that one’s body parts or body functions may offend or embarrass others Abnormal Behaviour - behaviour that deviates form the norms of the society in which it is enacted How Common Are Mental Disorders - estimates of the frequency of mental disorders in different groups of people may pro- vide valuable clues about their causes e.g. women are twice as likely to get depression than men suggesting gender is an important factor Prevalence and Incidence Epidemiology - the study of the distribution of diseases, disorders or health-related be- haviours in a given population Prevalence - the number of active cases in a population during any given period of time Point Prevalence - the estimated proportion of actual, active cases of the disorder in a given population at any instant time One-Year Prevalence - counting everyone during the whole year Lifetime Prevalence - estimate of how many peop
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