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Lecture 13

Lecture 13.docx

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Steve Joordens

PSYA02 Mental Disorders How to diagnose a disorder Darwinian concept of “fitness” – people who fit in well with their environment - When we cannot fit, a mental illness “could” be the issue - Back then, the “schizophrenics” would have been the witch doctors - Joan of Arc may have been a schizophrenic, thinking that the “angels” were talking to her, and the public thought of her as a witch, and ultimately burned at the stage - Bedlum, an institution for the insane/people with mental illness, famous during the Enlightenment In its most direct form, abnormal just means anything that deviates from the norm…like me! And probably you! However, in psychological contexts at least we often imply “maladaptive” when we use the term…meaning a person is abnormal in a way that causes social problems for them or others… problems that make it hard for them to adapt to society Thus, abnormal psychology is associated with: - An inability to hold a job - Marital or family dysfunction - Problematic interactions with others A person can have these symptoms, but can function well in life Psychodynamic Perspective When psychic conflict is too strong for defence mechanisms to deal with in healthy ways, they may actually distort one’s perception of reality, or the person will function in ways reflective of an early developmental stages - Could be a symptom; find the source and eliminate it, the symptom goes away This can lead to psychological disorders that include: - Extreme anxiety, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour, depression, disturbed perceptions and thought disturbances, paralysis or blindness without physical cause Medical Perspective During the 18 and 19 centuries, people began to think about psychological disorders as reflecting biological causes - Could be chemical imbalances (too much dopamine) - Could be neuron issues - The hope is that if the given balance is right, the disorder goes - While it’s true, but the brain is very dynamic (there may be something else that is causing it) - A short term approach This perspective of “mental illness” remains dominant, as represented in our own “mental health” program Three aspects of this perspective are very powerful in our world - The notion that many disorders reflect chemical imbalances - The notion that drugs can effectively be used to counter these - The quest to find genetic links to mental diseases Cognitive-Behavioural Perspective This perspective assumes that many maladaptive behaviours are learned, and can thus be best understood by focusing on potential relevant environmental factors and a person’s perception thereof Things that are learned can be unlearned, and doing so often require a therapist to consider… - Current reinforcement contingencies - The manner in which the patient thinks about things - Assumes that mechanisms such as classical conditioning can cure the symptom
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