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Ch14: Psychological Disorders

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Dax Urbszat

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 18 & 19 centuries,h 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) disorders. (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 behavior. 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 proposition. 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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