PSYC 4750 Lecture Notes - General Idea, Liver Disease, Sigmund Freud

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5 Feb 2013
Mental disorders have at the heart that people have abnormal thoughts and behaviours, not entirely clear
what abnormal refers to
For e.g. abnormality can be a deviation for the average, statistically rare, however this treats all abnormal
behaviours as equally abnormal, genius incurs as much as stupidity, positive deviations and classified
the exact same way as negative deviations, not preferred
Abnormalities reflect deviations from group, developmental or cultural norms, generally accepted
expectations of how we should think, feel and act (behave), abnormalities would then be the failure to
meet those expectations, but the problem is the expectations are changing from one cultural context to
the next, and we would prefer a definition that does not depend on the characteristic thats depend on
the viewer (man or woman, young or old, all with different expectations)
Specify an ideal for mental health, a standard, and say that abnormality is the failure to achieve that idea,
on the basis of a theory, this is what good mental health looks like, so abnormality is the failure to
show that mental health (e.g. sense of personal integration, healthy person has well integrated ego,
superego and id, ability to cope with stress, see things in the world as they are, unconditional sense of
self acceptance)
Many theories of what a person is and looks like, but all of these standards together is a depiction of
functioning which none of us can achieve, meaning we are all abnormal
Abnormality is what is personally distressing about us, this definition covers a lot of ground, almost every
disorder in encyclopaedia or dictionary involves a type of distress
Problem is its ALMOST all, there are occasions where there are abnormal behaviours where there is no
distress, for e.g. narcissism, abnormal behaviour in which narcissists aren’t bothered by their
behaviour, odd but not distressing to the person
Pragmatic point of view, you will not be locked up and towed away just because you have odd thoughts,
delusions or odd thoughts, once you become bothersome to other people, then they lock you up,
extremely important quality, abnormality and mental health have an interpersonal quality
Narcissistic personality disorder, they are not bothered about it, but their attitude annoys everyone else that
makes him abnormal, similar with anti-personality disorder
Final notion critical is impairment, whatever abnormality is, it involves failure of a functioning, ability to
thrive in personal, occupational of social domains, at the end of the day, a very critical idea
To what extent do the symptoms you experience, impair your behaviour in love, friendships, etc.
You are no disordered from the dsm point of view, unless your social (14 minute)
All of these definitions tap into what we think about mental disorders, we are talking about infrequencies,
negative ideas of social standards, etc.
Lot of theories about what caused abnormality, psychodynamic model originating with Sigmund Freud,
what we see constituting for abnormal behaviour most likely is an issue of the unconscious to the
personality between id, superego or ego. (source of anxiety, or other frameworks, hidden underlying
unconscious problems)
Cognitive-behavioural model, learning theorist point of view, we expect normal behaviour to be learned,
because they learn to act that way, abnormal behaviours are discouraged or punished, what is the
reinforcement behaviour of this individual
Humanistic-existentialist model, abnormal behaviour as a failure to receive unconditional positive regard,
like from or parents, failure to become a fully complete, functioning person
The most prevailing widely used model, is the medical model, most prevalent model for describing mental
disorder (inappropriate application), explains symptoms by postulating disease, you see signs of
symptoms and the explanation for that is a disease, and the disease is different from the symptoms
e.g. you have symptoms of exhaustion, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, runny nose, and the explanation is
the flu, the cause of the symptoms
This works in all sorts of domains, all sorts of tests to indicate diseases, but this is th esame framework
used for disordred behaviour, so when you ask why is she sad, its because she has depression, the
disease entity that explains sadness
Why is that wrong? Int aht case, the symptom and disease is wrong, why is she sad? She has depression,
what is depression? Depression is sadness
Tries to explain symptom with the symptoms, circular reasoning
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