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Lecture 1

PSYB32H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Demonology, Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Course Code
Konstantine Zakzanis

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Abnormal Psychology PSYB32 Midterm 1
(Chapter 1-5)
Chapter 1: Introduction: Definitional & Historical
Considerations, Canadas Mental Health System
Psychopathology: the field concerned with nature and development of abnormal
behaviour, thoughts, & feelings
What is Abnormal Behaviour?
1) Statistical Infrequency: it is infrequent in the general population
Normal curve: bell-shaped curve that places the majority of people in the
middle as far as any particular characteristic is concerned
oFew people fall at either extreme – possible “abnormal behaviour”
oSomeone who does not deviate much from the average falls in the
oIncomplete definition of what is abnormal, since even if someone
falls under either extreme, it is not always deemed as abnormal
behaviour (E.g. if a profession hockey player scored 20 goals per
game compared to an average person, would fall at an extreme but
is this abnormal behaviour?)
2) Violation of Norms: threatens or makes anxious those observing it
Consider cultural norms affect how people view social norms
3) Personal Distress: behaviour is abnormal if it creates great distress & torment in
the person experiencing it (feelings of anxiety/depression/discomfort in the
Many abnormal behaviours do not cause personal distress (e.g. Dexter,
narcissists, psychopaths)
4) Disability/Dysfunction: impairment in some important area of life (work,
personal relationships, etc.)
E.g. transvestism (cross-dressing for sexual pleasure) is a disorder if it
distresses the person, but not necessarily a disability
5) Unexpectedness: anxiety is unexpected and out of proportion to the situation
E.g. someone who is well off who constantly worries about his/her
financial situation
It is not possible to offer a simple definition of abnormality that captures it in its
entirety as it is always changing in regards to norms, & every diagnosis is different
The Mental Health Professions
Clinicians: professionals authorized to provide psychological services
Clinical psychologists/neuropsychologist: Ph.D. or Psy. D. degree
Psychiatrist: M.D. degree, can prescribe psychoactive drugs. Function as physician
(physical examinations, diagnosing medical problems, etc.)

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Prescriptive authority to psychologists is opposed by psychiatrists & most
psychologists who view it as an ill-advised dilution of behaviour science
Neurologist: MD degree, prescriptions
Social Worker: Master of Social work (MSW)
History of Psychopathology
Many early philosophers & physicians believed that the troubled mind was a result of
displeasure from gods or possession by demons
Early Demonology
Demonology: the doctrine that an evil being, such as the devil may dwell within a person
& control his or her mind and body
oExorcism: casting out evil spirits
oTrepanning: making a surgical opening in the skull forcing the
evil spirit to escape
Somatogenesis: Hippocrates believed that something was wrong with the soma (physical
body), disturbs thought & action
Classified mental disorders into 3 groups (mania, melancholia, & phrentis)
oThese categories were dependent on balance of fluids in the body
(e.g. if a person was dull/sluggish, he would correspond this to the
body containing phlegm)
Believed that behaviour was affected by imbalance of bodily structures
(e.g. phlegm or blood) which foreshadowed contemporary thought
Psychogenesis: belief that disturbance has psychological origins
The Dark Ages & Demonology
Prosecution of witches: mentally ill people were considered witches
Testing for “witches: was the first test of psychopathology (e.g. teeter-totter
experiment: dunk witches into water, if she survived, she was a witch & had
magical abilities, if not, she was not a witch but drowned anyways)
Dangerously insane and incompetent were confined in a hospital (not possessed
“lunacy” trials to determine a persons sanity held in England – conducted to
protect the mentally impaired where the defendants orientation, memory,
intellect, daily life & habits were judged
Development of Asylums
Leprosarium were converted into asylums
oAsylums: refuges established for the confinement and care of the mentally
“Phthisis” was the general paresis of the insane, where 20% of
inmates died while in asylums

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mentally ill were separate from physically ill & criminals but also
segregated from the wider community
oBedlam: a term used to describe the hospital’s place of wild uproar &
People paid to see these “lunatics, idiots, insane”
Moral Treatment
Phillipe Pinel (1745-1826): pushed for humanitarian treatment of mentally ill in
oTreated to treat patients as sick human beings rather than beasts
oReplaced dungeons with light, airy rooms
oBelieved that patients under his care were normal people which should be
approached with compassion and care & people were all equal
oBelieved that moral treatment included restoring a patients sense of self-
esteem by letting her/him demonstrate self-restraint
William Tuke (1732-1822): established on a country estate, providing the
mentally ill a quiet and religious atmosphere to live, work, and rest
Dorthea Dix (1802-77) campaigned to improve conditions that the mentally ill
lived in, and to try to convince the hospitals to take these people in for treatment
but hospitals funds were going to other factors instead
Drugs were most common treatment (e.g. alcohol, cannabis, opium, & chloral
hydrate) but outcomes were not favorable
History of treatment included hydrotherapy, wrapping patients in sheets, hot
boxes, insulin therapy (makes blood sugar drop & patients slips into a coma,
which causes shock. Glucose is needed to help bring them back from coma)
Canada in 20th century - Transinstitutionalization: # of beds has declined in
various institutions because more care is provided in psychiatric units of general
hospitals rather than psychiatric hospitals
Emil Kraepelin (1856-1926)
Created a classification system to establish the biological nature of mental illness
Noticed the tendency for a certain group of symptoms (syndrome) to appear
together regularly enough to be regarded as having an underlying physical cause
& attributed to biological dysfunction
Proposed 2 major groups of mental disorders: “dementia praecox” (now known as
schizophrenia) and maniac-depressive psychosis (now known as bipolar disorder)
General Paresis & Syphilis
An empirical approach (based on experiments/observations)
General paresis: deterioration in mental and physical health
Germ theory of disease: infection of the body by minute organisms
oA casual link established between infection, destruction of areas of the
brain, and psychopathology
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