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PSY 1102 Lecture Notes - Learned Helplessness

Course Code
PSY 1102
Christine Mountney

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Chapter 14: Psychological Disorders
Psychological Disorders
People are fascinated by the exceptional, the unusual, and the abnormal. This
fascination may be caused by two reasons:
1. During various moments we feel, think, and act like an abnormal
2. Psychological disorders may bring unexplained physical symptoms,
irrational fears, and suicidal thoughts
To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal. William
James (1842-1910)
1. There are 450 million people suffering from psychological disorders
(WHO, 2004).
2. Depression and schizophrenia exist in all cultures of the world.
Defining Psychological Disorders
Mental health workers view psychological disorders as persistently harmful
thoughts, feelings, and actions.
When behavior is deviant, distressful, and dysfunctional psychiatrists and
psychologists label it as disordered (Comer, 2004).
Deviant, Distressful & Dysfunctional
1. Deviant behavior (going naked) in one culture may be considered normal, while
in others it may lead to arrest.
2. Deviant behavior must accompany distress.
3. If a behavior is dysfunctional it is clearly a disorder.
Understanding Psychological Disorders
Ancient Treatments of psychological disorders include trephination, exorcism,
being caged like animals, being beaten, burned, castrated, mutilated, or transfused
with animal‟s blood.
Trephination (boring holes in the skull to remove evil forces)
The Medical Model
Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) from France, insisted that madness was not due to
demonic possession, but an ailment of the mind.
When physicians discovered that syphilis led to mental disorders, they started
using medical models to review the physical causes of these disorders.
1. Etiology: Cause and development of the disorder.
2. Diagnosis: Identifying (symptoms) and distinguishing one disease from another.
3. Treatment: Treating a disorder in a psychiatric hospital.
4. Prognosis: Forecast about the disorder.
The Biopsychosocial Approach

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Assumes that biological, socio-cultural, and psychological factors combine and
interact to produce psychological disorders.
Classifying Psychological Disorders
The American Psychiatric Association rendered a Diagnostic and Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to describe psychological disorders.
The most recent edition, DSM-IV-TR (Text Revision, 2000), describes 400
psychological disorders compared to 60 in the 1950s.
Multiaxial Classification
Axis I: Is a Clinical Syndrome (cognitive, anxiety, mood disorders [16 Syndromes])
Axis II: Is a Personality Disorder or Mental Retardation present?
Axis III: Is a General Medical Condition (diabetes, hypertension or arthritis etc.) also
Axis IV: Are Psychological or Environmental Problems (school, or housing issues) also
Axis V: What is the Global Assessment of the person‟s functioning?
Goals of DSM
1. Describe (400) disorders.
2. Determine how prevalent the disorder is.
Disorders outlined by DSM-IV are reliable. Therefore, diagnoses by different
professionals are similar.
Others criticize DSM-IV for “putting any kind of behavior within the compass of
Labeling Psychological Disorders
1. Critics of the DSM-IV argue that labels may stigmatize individuals
2. Labels may be helpful for healthcare professionals when communicating with one
another and establishing therapy
3. “Insanity” labels raise moral and ethical questions about how society should treat
people who have disorders and have committed crimes.
Anxiety Disorders

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Panic Disorder
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Understanding Anxiety Disorders
Somatoform Disorders
Anxiety Disorders
Feelings of excessive apprehension and anxiety.
1. Generalized anxiety disorder
2. Panic disorder
3. Phobias
4. Obsessive-compulsive disorder
5. Post-traumatic stress disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
1. Persistent and uncontrollable tenseness and apprehension.
2. Autonomic arousal.
3. Inability to identify or avoid the cause of certain feelings.
Panic Disorder
Minutes-long episodes of intense dread, which may include feelings of terror,
chest pains, choking, or other frightening sensations.
Anxiety is a component of both disorders. It occurs more in the panic disorder,
making people avoid situations that cause it.
Marked by a persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that disrupts
Kinds of Phobias
Agoraphobia - Phobia of open places
Acrophobia Phobia of heights
Claustrophobia Phobia of closed spaces
Hemophobia Phobia of blood
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Persistence of unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and urges to engage in senseless
rituals (compulsions) that cause distress.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
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