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Psych 257 Chap 6 Psych 257 Psychopathology Barlow et Al: Abnormal Psychology 2nd CDN edition Chapter 6

Course Code
Uzma Rehman

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Somatoform and Dissociative Disorders
-somatoform disorders: pre-occupation with health/appearance and general physical disorders
-dissociative disorders: detachments in consciousness or identity; may assume new one, forget etc.
-historical link b/w two (orig. both known as hysterical neurosis, conversion hysteria)
Somatoform Disorders
-5 basic somatoform disorders: individuals pathologically concerned with functioning of body
-Clinical Description: anxiety or fear of having a serious disease; essential problem: anxiety
-preoccupation w/ bodily symptoms, misinterpret as illness/disease; go to family doctor
-reassurance by doctor only short term; illness phobia: just fear of developing a disease
-similar to panic disorder; difference: hypoch’s focus on long-term illness process, range of symptoms
-statistics: unsure of prevalence in gen. population; 50-50 sex ratio; even on phases of adulthood
-no average onset; culture specific syndromes; physicians must rule out somatic complaints first
-causes: ongoing psychopathological process; disorder of cognition/perception
-enhanced perceptual sensitivity to illness cues; runs in families, eg. tendency to overstress
-may have learned from family member, stressful life event (death, illness), constant view of ill people
-treatment: CBT: eg. exposure to health/ilnness info; can be very effective; research on SSRI as drug
-may adapt treatments for related illnesses (eg. GAD)
Somatization Disorder
-patients confront doctor with list of somatic problems without medical basis
-do not feel urgency to take action but continually feel weak and ill
-statistics: 2.8% prevalence; 3.3% women, 1.9% men rare; occurs on continuum:
-people with few symptoms may experience enough distress/impairment to necessitate diagnosis
-tend to be women, unmarried, lower socio-economic group; rates relatively uniform around world
-causes: usu history of family illness/injury in childhood but mixed results in genetic studies
-strongly linked in family and genetic studies to antisocial personality disorder (vandalism, theft etc)
-begin in early life, run chronic cource, predominate Low SES;
-not fully known link between two: maybe share neurobiologically based disinhibition syndrome
-difference possibly dependent on social/cultural factors
-treatment: difficult to treat, none exists with proven effectiveness;
-people with somatization disorder resist psychological cause, thus resist psych treatment
-encourage reducing supportive consequences of relating to significant others on physical symptoms
basis only
Conversion Disorder
-Freud: anxiety resulting from unconscious conflicts “displaced” into physical symptom
-clinical description: usu. physical malfunctioning: paralysis, blindness, difficulty speaking
-but w/o physical/organic pathology to account; eg. neurological disease affecting sensory motor system
-may include loss of touch sense, seizures, possible psychological origin
-closely related disorders: hard to tell b/w conversion and other disorders
-w/ conversion: people show same quality of indifference to symptoms (blasé); usu. starts by stress
-can function normally (avoid objects while blind) but not consciously recognize (how to tell fakers?)
-factitious disorder: voluntary control but person has no obvious reason to act so eg. munchausen
-unconscious mental processes in conversion and related disorder:
-if faking: usu. perform tests at lower than chance levels; (where blind’s perform at chance level)
-statistics: conversion disorder: rare in mental health settings, prevalence unsure; usu. women
-develop during adolescence, occur at times of stress w/ males (eg. soldiers); poor long term prognosis
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