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Ch14: Psychological Disorders

by OC4

Course Code
Dax Urbszat

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Chapter 14 Study Notes
What is the medical model?
-The medical model proposes that it is useful to think of abnormal behavior as a disease.
!This term is used to refer to many abnormal behaviors such as mental illness, psychological
disorder, and psychopathology (pathology refers to manifestations of disease).
!The medical model gradually became the dominant way of thinking in the 18th & 19th centuries,
and its influence remains strong today.
What criteria are used to judge abnormality?
!Deviance: People are often said to have a disorder because their behavior deviates from what their
society considers acceptable. What constitutes normality varies SOMEWHAT from culture to
another, but all cultures have such norms. When people violate these standards and expectation, they
may be labeled mentally ill.
(Example) Transvestic fashion is a sexual disorder in which a man gets sexual arousal by dressing in
womens clothes. This behavior is regarded as disordered because a man who wears a dress, nylons,
bras, etc. is deviating from our cultures norms. In our culture, this behavior is acceptable for women
but deviant for men.
!Maladaptive Behavior: People are judged to have a psychological disorder because their everyday
adaptive behavior is impaired. This is the key criteria in the diagnoses of substance-use (drug)
(Example) Drugs and alcohol are not deviant, but when it interferes with a persons social or
occupational functioning, a substance-use disorder exists. In this case, it is the maladaptive quality of
the behavior that makes it disordered.
!Personal Distress: This is usually the criterion met by people who are troubled by depression or an
anxiety disorders. Depressed people, for instance, may or may not exhibit deviant or maladaptive
How easy it is to distinguish normality from abnormality?
-Everybody acts in deviant ways, everyone displays some maladaptive behavior, and everyone
experiences personal distress. People are judged to have psychological disorders only when their
behavior becomes extremely deviant, maladaptive, or distressing.
-Normality and abnormality exist on a continuum. Its a matter of degree, not an either-or
What classification system is used to diagnose psychological disorders?
-Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), describes about 100 disorders.
-DSM is very common
-This system asks for information about patients on five axes; clinical syndromes, personality
disorders or mental retardation, general medical conditions, psychosocial and environmental
problems, and global assessment of functioning scale.

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How common are mental disorders?
-Studies suggested that about one-fifth of the population exhibited clear signs of mental illness at
some point in their lives (life time prevalence).
!This is without substance-use (drugs)
-Including substance use, about one-third of the population exhibit clear signs of mental illness at
some point in their lives.
-From ages 18-54 (instead of everyone over 18), around 44% of the population will struggle with
some sort of psychological disorder at some point in their life.
-The most recent large-scale epidemiological study estimated the lifetime risk of a psychiatric
disorder to be 51%.
-1 in 10 Canadians over 15 years of age reported symptoms consistent with a mental disorder
-9.7% of males and 11.1% of females have a disorder.
-Most (68%) of people who reported symptoms of a disorder did not seek assistance.
*Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has increased astronomically over the last decade.
!One year prevalence (occurrence/commonness) of PTSD is 2.8%, with a lifetime prevalence of 7.2%.
*Diagnosis, etiology, and prognosis have been proven valuable in the treatment study of abnormality.
!Diagnosis involves distinguishing one illness from another.
!Etiology refers to the apparent causation and developmental history of an illness.
!Prognosis is a forecast about the probably course of an illness.
*The diagnosis of a psychological disorder is based on an individual’s report of great personal distress.
*The three stereotypes about psychological disorders that are largely inaccurate are that psychological
disorders are inaccurate, people with psychological disorders are often violent and dangerous, and
people with psychological disorders behave in bizarre ways and are very different from normal people.
*Personality disorders are longstanding patterns of extreme, inflexible personality traits that are deviant or
maladaptive and lead to impaired functioning or subjective distress.
*Mental retardation refers to subnormal general mental ability accompanied by deficiencies in adaptive
skills, originating before 18.
What are the five major anxiety disorders and what are their chief symptoms?
-Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Marked by a chronic, high level of anxiety that is not tied to
any specific threat. Sometimes it is called free-floating anxiety because it is nonspecific. People with
this disorder worry constantly about yesterdays mistakes, and tomorrows problems. They worry
about minor matters related to family, finances, work, and personal illness. Their anxiety is
accompanied by physical symptoms such as diarrhea, trembling (shaky), muscle tension, dizziness,
fainting, sweating, and heart palpitations (shake/shiver).
-Phobic disorder: Marked by a persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that presents no
realistic danger. This has more of a specific focus, and people are said to have a phobic disorder only
when their fears seriously interfere with their everyday behavior. Phobic reactions tend to be
accompanied by physical symptoms of anxiety, such as trembling and palpitations. Common phobic
disorders are acrophobia (fear of heights), claustrophobia (fear of small, enclosed areas),
brontophobia (fear of storms), hydrophobia (fear of water), and various animals and insect phobias.
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